What a great question we pose often to ourselves. I have a dog, should I get a second dog?
While one dog is enough for some of us, many still ponder if they should get a second dog. Not only for even more companionship to the owner, but as more occupied for the existing dog as well.
As an owner of two dogs, I am here to go over some things to think about before getting a second dog, as well as some of the benefits of owning a second dog.
The Pros of Getting a Second Dog
Let’s first look at the positives of owning a second dog:
- Your First dog will always have someone there for them: This is a huge selling point. Oftentimes, owners get busy. Whether it’s working all the time, having a fast paced lifestyle, or just not paying nearly enough attention to their dog, the puppy will quickly get sad.
- Having the love of two dogs rules: What a feeling it is. If you think your first dog gives you so much attention, imagine doubling that! Having two dogs always by your side really feels great for companionship.
- Energy will be burned: The best pro in my mind is the second dog will wear out your first dog. Not everybody has time to take their dog for a dog walk, so having that second dog there to wear each other out can be a huge selling point.
The Cons of Owning a Second Dog
While it seems like it would be nothing but the joy of owning a second dog, there has to be some cons we must consider. Let’s look at a few things that two dog owners sometimes struggle with:
- More Cost: Now that you own a second dog, the bills are going to go up. Not only will the food double(if they end up eating the same food even), but the medical bills and other dog necessities prices will double.
- More work: Owning two dogs can be exhausting for some owners. Now you will have two dogs running around the house, and using your yard. This will include twice the cleanup as well.
- Planning outside the home is difficult: Now you might want to go on a vacation, or for a weekend trip. Having two dogs is oftentimes tougher to get a babysitter. If overnight stays at a daycare are your thing, the payments will be double now. Also, not everyone wants to babysit two dogs if you have a go to babysitter for your current puppy.
- Just doing because you were begged: This trick, especially from children, can lead to a disaster. Maybe they stated they would help with the dog, by training it, picking up after it, etc. Too many times the dog comes into the family, and they realize it was a mistake, and thus, neglect is present with a second dog. Make sure you avoid this situation!
Dogs may not welcome a second dog into the home
How to Introduce Two Dogs
The best way to make sure the two dogs meet each other is to casually bring them together. If you are like our family, we have a fenced in back yard, and were able to have the Dog rep from our local rescue bring the new dog across the street into our driveway slowly, casually looking at our first dog.
Once this worked, the second dog was able to see the dog as not a threat, and calmly came on a leash into the back yard. Keeping them on a leash will be key. They will want to possibly sniff each other and jump around a little bit, making sure they get a grasp on what is in front of them.
After a few moments of getting used to each other, you should be able to undo the leashes, but still keep your hands close to each dog’s collar area. If they show quickly that they are able to play and have fun, then let them be. Running around and casual horseplay is a good sign that they will get along!
Dogs wrestling shows a good sign they enjoy each other
A few steps to think about first
Here are a few things to consider before making the next leap to a second dog.
Willing to Commit to Training
No matter the age of the second dog, you will need to retrain that dog to accommodate within your household. The second dog will often look to the first dog for guidance in the first weeks. Being able to stay committed right away in order to get the second dog up to speed will be crucial, and if this may be too much for you, buying a second dog might not work.
On top of this, getting puppy training going asap will be crucial. Many pet stores and some pet training schools will offer very affordable options. Bringing the second dog is important, but they may want your first dog to come to training as well to really coordinate the two together.
Crates and Reinforcement
To crate or not to crate if the common question dog owners grapple with. Crating a puppy periodically at the correct time will be crucial when first bringing a new dog into the house.
Whether the dog is two months old, or two years old, having a crate for sleeping and when you leave the house for long periods of time will be needed in the first weeks or months. The dog will take time to get used to the house, and during those crucial few weeks, will need to understand the rules of the house.
The crate should not be used for punishment, as it will only make things worse. We also would leave the crate open during the day with a blanket and toy in it in case the second dog wanted to go relax and be comforted.
Making sure they understand not only the rules of the house, but are trained to understand that you are the human will be vital in house training the dog.
Getting your dogs trained together is vital
Financially, Be Ready
If you don’t have a budget monthly yet, now would be a good time to create one. Things you have to consider would include double the dog bills, double the food, and two times the amount of overall costs for your second dog. Financially, you have to also account for unexpected dog costs, such as random vet trips, or possible injuries and illnesses to your dog.
Most vets recommend to usually keep up on Flea guards and Heartworm pills, which can run you hundreds of dollars every 3-6 months. Be prepared if bringing in a second dog into your home to possibly be dealing with these types of medications.
You have the space for Two Dogs
Many times, owners do not realize the limited space they have in their home until it is too late. Take a look around your home with your current dog, and try and picture two dogs running around your home.
At our home, we now have a six year old and two dogs, and while there seems to be enough space, oftentimes, we still bump into the dogs or each other. If you think this could be a problem, you may want to reconsider the second dog option.
Another big factor in the space consideration is if your current dog sleeps in bed with you. Having a second dog in bed will most definitely limit your space, as well as maybe even force you into an uncomfortable position, affecting your daily sleep. Considering training your second dog to sleep on a dog bed may be crucial.
Do you have enough room for two dogs?
The Dedication and energy factor
With a second dog comes much more needs for exercise and dedication. Both of the dogs will now need equal attention, and will need extra dedication as well. If you tend to have a super busy schedule, this would be a huge determining factor in getting a second dog. If the dedication is not there, the second dog could cause many more issues for you and the rest of the household.
Depending on the age of the new dog,and the breed, energy will be a huge factor in the new puppy being in the home. Constant exercise may be required, and should be considered before bringing in a second dog.
Everybody On Board
This is key. Yes, this means the first dog too. If you have kids, make sure you sit down as a family and discuss all the details of bringing a second dog into the family. The commitment must be there from everyone.
If your first dog has anxiety, or seems to be content with just them being there, you may have to really rethink the second dog. Bringing another canine into that type of situation may just cause your first dog depression, anxiety, or other problems.
Make Sure everyone is on board
Get some opinions
If all else fails, start talking to some friends, family or co-workers that may have two dogs. They can give you some advice, and will most likely give you a breakdown of daily expectations while working and having two dogs at the same time.
Hopefully, this article gave you much more to think about before considering a second dog. Please feel free to comment below on any other suggestions or questions you may have about owning two dogs!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.