Getting a new dog for all the right reasons
8 Jul 2011
I promised an article on how to add a new dog to your multi-pet household. But, I have decided to write about why do you want to add a new dog.
Make sure you are getting a new dog because you and your family want it. Not such a good idea to get another dog because your dog is a problem and you think a new dog might help. If you don't really want the dog for your own reasons, you could end up with twice the work, and a new dog might or might not help your problem dog.
I have multiple pets because I want each one, and I do love the interaction between my pets. It is nice for dogs to live with a friend, especially if you work as most of us do nowadays.
I have always found I never have much nipping and mouthing of people when I get a new pup, they tend to nip and mouth my older dogs, who quickly, and appropriately, straighten them out. I also don't have much chewing or boredom behaviors, because with 5 cats, and three dogs, there is a lot to do in my house, and lot's of other animals to interact with.
I also find recall command (Come), is easier to teach, as my older dogs are trained, and the pup will follow them. They do learn good things like that from your other dogs.
However, if you have a dog with some problems, let's use the example of an excessive barker, there is a good chance your pup will pick up that bad behavior from your other dog. So if you truly want another dog for the right reasons, make sure you deal with any unwanted behavior with your other dog or dogs before you add a new dog or puppy.
Something I have never personally done is get two puppies who are litter mates, or two unrelated puppies, at the same time. I find that when I work with people who have done this, they are astonished at the amount of work it creates, feels more like having four puppies I have been told. Also, they tend to bond more closely with each other, and you can be left out of the equation, which makes them harder to train. Imagine house training times two, two not listening to you together, two jumping all over your guests. My clients have gotten through it, but most say they would no do it again.
Another thing I see lot's of people do is to get a new dog when they see their older dog starting to have health issues, and they are anticipating that dog's demise, and don't want to be without a dog. This can be very hard for an elderly dog to have a younger dog or puppy constantly harassing them to play, and they just are not up for it. If you can't bear the thought of being dog-less, better to get the new dog before your dog is old, arthritic, and cranky.
All in all, I love each and every one of my pets, enjoy them all tremendously, and wanted each one for myself, not as company for my other pets. I think this is really the best way to go, it's worked out great for me.