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Timing

Getting two dogs at once is a popular idea, but seldom a good one. It takes a dog more time than you would think to become fully integrated into the family. If you bring in another dog before that time, some things can be lost, including best bonding between the dogs and human beings. A safe interval from this point of view is to wait at least two years between bringing a new dog into your family.


You’ll also want to think about what it’s like to deal with two dogs who are old and terminally ill at the same time. This can easily happen if your dogs are close to the same age, and it’s a financial, energy, health, and emotional burden on the humans.

If you want to participate in a certain activity with a dog—a dog sport, regular walks or jogs, search and rescue, therapy dog visits, or something else that requires the dog to be physically sound—having dogs who are old at the same time forces you to either stop the activity until one of them goes to a heavenly reward, or add more dogs than you had in mind. That can take away from both the bonding and training to the new dog and the loving care you want to lavish on the precious old one as the end approaches.

Spacing the dog’s ages as much as you can has advantages both for you and for them. Five years is a nice age difference for a two- or three-dog home.

People often get a second dog to keep the first one company. You can provide that company yourself. Besides spending time with your dog, you can arrange play-dates with compatible other dogs who also don’t have housemate dogs. A good place to meet prospective playmates and their owners is a training class. Before getting a second dog, you need to observe your dog with other dogs, and you need to train together to the point of off-leash control. You need to know if this dog even WANTS a housemate. Some dogs emphatically do not.

Before adding a second dog, work through or figure out how to reliably manage any behavior problems your first dog has. This includes separation anxiety, inappropriate barking, aggression at windows or fences, killing cats, housetraining accidents, and other such problems. All of these behaviors easily spread from dog to dog when they live together. Two dogs doing any of these things can be more than twice as difficult to live with as one doing it.

If you want to pursue an activity with your first dog, get well down the road into that training and participation before adding a second dog. Otherwise, it’s highly likely your first dog’s training will suffer and the dog will never get to live up to his or her potential. The second one won’t do as well as possible either. What you learn with your first dog will profoundly benefit your work with the next one. All of you will be much better off if you wait until the right time to bring in another dog.

Managing Two Dogs

Several things change in how you manage your first dog when a new dog joins the family. You might get away with not taking these precautions, but it’s far wiser not to take the risk.

1. Separate your dogs for feeding. If your first dog is used to having food out all the time, that needs to change now—preferably before adding the new dog. Feed at least two meals a day. Three or four smaller meals are fine. You can make training opportunities of these times, and frequent meals can help your dogs get along better—if they are separated and never feel they have to compete over food.

2. When you give treats to one dog in front of the other one, give the other dog treats, too, but do it in such a way that they don’t compete over the food. This approach helps each dog support the other’s learning rather than resenting the attention paid to the other dog. Once in awhile, though, it can aid learning to give treats to one dog and withhold them from another. For example, let’s say your dogs are outdoors and you call them back into the house. Fuzzy comes, but Fuzzette doesn’t. If you close the door and let Fuzzette look longingly through the glass to see Fuzzy getting treats while she doesn’t get any, she will begin to get the idea that it pays to come in when called.

3. When a dog does something well, let the other dog see that. When a dog tends to misbehave in a particular situation or be scared of it, try to separate the dogs for that situation until the one who handles it well is stable enough to influence the other one to do better. Sometimes that never comes, but taking some care about this tends to pay off at least part of the time.

4. Don’t leave chews or highly desirable toys out for dogs to “share.” That’s asking for a fight, and no chew item is worth the risk. Give your dogs these things when they are separated. This means that your dog who used to be an only dog will give up being able to have free access to these items. Keep that in mind in your decision about whether or not to add a dog.

5. Use a crate for a dog who needs that support, and give the other dog whatever freedom that dog can handle. If you give each dog proper individual attention, this difference will not be a problem. Never put two dogs in the same crate, no matter how well they get along.

6. Don’t give a dog bed privileges until the dog is ready. One guideline to keep in mind is around a year of age, when temperament is fairly evident. Don’t take bed privileges away from one dog because the other one can’t handle those privileges. Dogs can deal with that difference. And it is absolutely fine to never allow your dogs on your bed if that is your preference. It is what most professionals recommend, even though most of us don’t listen!

7. Each dog needs frequent individual attention from you—daily at home, and regularly away from the house without the other dog. This is important to their emotional health as well as your relationship with each of them.

Pros and Cons of Adding a Second Dog

Adding a second dog may more than double your dog expenses and work. When one dog develops something contagious, the other may catch it, too. They can hurt each other in play or fights. Separating them for medical or behavioral situations can be quite a job. If you have to walk them to potty them due to not having your own yard, they may need separate walks.

Travel is much easier with one dog than with two. There are many places you could take one dog, but can’t take two. Boarding is more expensive for two than for one. Taking a dog along on a trip tends to benefit the dog’s future behavior. Leaving a dog home when you go on a trip can cause behavior problems, including separation anxiety, crate stress, noise fears, and housetraining breakdowns. If you travel a lot and take your dog along, giving up the ability to do that would be a sad disadvantage.

In some situations, adding a second dog will aid confidence, if one of them is confident and has enough influence over the other dog to bring up that one’s confidence level. On the other hand, a nervous dog can seriously damage the confidence of a housemate dog.

Anxieties commonly spread from one dog to the other. Aggressive behavior and predatory behavior toward other animal species tend to be picked up by the other dog in the family, too.

Observing the dogs’ body language with each other is interesting. It can help you understand your dogs better, and it can help you with their training. You could do this through play dates with other people’s dogs instead, though.

One major reason to add a second dog is if losing your only dog would be too damaging to you. It is possible to lose both at the same time, but more usual to lose one first. Having another beloved dog in the home at this time can make a critical difference to emotionally vulnerable people.

Big Decision

Adding any dog is potentially a life-changing decision for the human and any dogs already in the home. Be sure to take your time. Don’t do it on impulse because a desirable dog has become available.

Carefully chosen and spaced dogs can enable you to do things that are enjoyable and healthy for you. It does make for a lot of work, though, often at extremely inconvenient times. The expenses can be quite daunting, too. Life in a good home with the right other dog can be nice for both dogs. But your dog can be happy as an only dog, and some dogs will not be happy sharing you.

Consider all the angles and gather all the information before deciding whether or not to add a second dog. It is a big change in daily life between having one dog and having two. With the resources of time, energy, finances and physical facilities; two dogs in the family can be a rewarding lifestyle. It does mean the dogs having to share you and lots of other resources, it does reduce the extreme closeness you can have with just one dog, and it may not fit with other things you want from life.
 

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Adding the second and third dogs are the biggest hurdles. After that..It doesn't seem to be such a huge thing.
 
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Adding the second and third dogs are the biggest hurdles. After that..It doesn't seem to be such a huge thing.
i wouldnt know lol. but i can deffinently see where your coming from.
 

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thats one thing I think sucks about having 2 dogs only 2 months apart in age is im afraid they'll die at the same time, but I'm willing to live with that...i cant imagine living without maggie and elmo....
 

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Great post. I had a second dog and had to get rid of it becuz i didnt take my time. lol Never do anything on impulse. Ive lived and learned that.
 

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I have had my female for about 2 and a half yrs. I just got a second dog, but went the smart way. I took her to meet him before I decided to bring him into her territory. Once they got home it was all play and fun. And we have another loving and loyal family member. :woof:
 

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great post. i was thinking about adding another dog into our family after we got our pup back in august. Although i have not given up on the idea if we do this it will be definately when our current dog is at least 15-24 months old. the bonding thing is very important to me and i think that the only way this comes is with time and respect on both our ends. who knows once my dog is full grown i may not even want to go through the whole puppy phase again..lol
 

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I actually got another pup just this past monday. He was supposed to be a gift for my friend but ended up falling in love with him and kept him for myself. I already have another eight month old girl. I think that everything is going to be fine as long as i stay consistent with their training. as a matter of fact, i feel that they are actually starting to train me. i think that having two dogs at the same time can only result in how you want it to. it all depended on the amount of effort and consistency you are willing to give out. I wanted this to work out, and so it will.

BTW, i did like the points that you made. I will definitely take your info to help me out with these two. the first day they didnt get along. But i've taken days off of work to monitor their play and so far, so good. I believe it will only get better from here, especially with the amount of love these two are getting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I actually got another pup just this past monday. He was supposed to be a gift for my friend but ended up falling in love with him and kept him for myself. I already have another eight month old girl. I think that everything is going to be fine as long as i stay consistent with their training. as a matter of fact, i feel that they are actually starting to train me. i think that having two dogs at the same time can only result in how you want it to. it all depended on the amount of effort and consistency you are willing to give out. I wanted this to work out, and so it will.

BTW, i did like the points that you made. I will definitely take your info to help me out with these two. the first day they didnt get along. But i've taken days off of work to monitor their play and so far, so good. I believe it will only get better from here, especially with the amount of love these two are getting!
no matter how good they get a long, pups or into adult hood. it is never a safe idea to leave them together unsupervised. as soon a light switch goes on, one of them will die no doubt. so always make sure your around when theyre together.
congrats on the new pup!
 

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2 adults same sex intact dogs in an enclosure unsupervised is a recipe for an accident.
 

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Thinking of adding a male pit to my home with an existing male pit

I want to rescue an intact male pit from a neglectful home. The thing is, we were already looking to adopt a female companion for my pit Rex, we were looking for a female companion, not breed specific. But now there is this neglected male pit at an aquaintences house. I dont feel like I can leave him there in his condition. I plan on having him nuetered asap. Can anyone tell me if this is a good idea or not. Rex is great with all dogs of either sex. And he really took to this other dog. I just need some advise on raising to pits of the same sex and similar ages. Rex is 2 1/2 and the other, Bronx, is about a year to a year 1/2.
 

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Usually male and male, female and female don't get along. It would be better for you to get that female for Rex. JMO
 

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TY for your reply. I want to at least foster him till I can find him a suitable home. He is so emaciated that I am extremely worried. He is the same height and skull size as Rex who is 67 lbs, but I would be very surprised if Bronx weighs more than 40 lbs. He has no muscle mass and i can see his ribs and hip bones. I was at the house where he is kept yesterday and he had no food, I gave him some Christmas leftovers to tide him over, my boyfriend took him for a walk. And he is stuck in a house with no heat. He lives in the livingroom with an unsafe space heater that is on 24/7. I'm scared he will either starve to death or end up trapped in the house during a fire. I'm gonna go there today with a bag of dog food for him, and hopefully convince his owner to turn him over to me. Even if things can't work out at my house, he is safer with me until I find him a loving home with a warm bed, clean water, and lots of food and toys.
 

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great post ... i was actually thinking about getting a playmate for my boy Papa but after reading the post i would rather wait plus his going thru training right now
 

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great post ... i was actually thinking about getting a playmate for my boy Papa but after reading the post i would rather wait plus his going thru training right now
its good to wait till your dog is at a training level in which your happy with, and has mannors. it makes it easier, they will help train your new pup.
 

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2 dogs...

Thank you for posting this! I was actually coming on to ask about this exact topic.

We have a 3 year old male pit mix. He is our only dog and is spoiled beyond belief lol.

I work at a vet, and may have the chance to foster a puggle puppy, about 3 months old, also male.

Does anyone have any tips for making it all go smoothly. I'm not even sure if I will be taking the puppy, but I want to do some research.

My pit isn't aggressive toward our cats or humans. He hasn't had much experience with other dogs though.

Thanks!!! :woof:
 
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