Basic Training

Adding a Second Dog to Your Family

Have you been thinking about a second dog into your existing family? With thorough planning and careful consideration of certain factors, homes with multiple dogs can provide additional company and playtime not only for each other but for you as well! To make sure that the transition is a smooth one, you may want to try to find the a dog that closely matches your current dog’s age, activity level, and temperament, though it’s possible for a pair of complete opposites to become the best of friends, too!

Tips and Reminders

· During introductions. When adding a second dog to your home, take time with inroductions. Never just place a new dog in a yard or car with your resident dog and expect that everything will be perfect. Try introducing your dogs in a neutral environment, like a dog park, so you can keep your first pooch from feeling threatened and becoming territorial. While you make their first introduction, try keeping both of them on a leash. This way, you’ll have the control should one of them behave aggressively.

· During the first few weeks. Keep both dogs separated in side-by-side kennels or by a secure gate for the first couple of weeks. This will allow them to slowly get familiar with each other. Also, don’t forget to maintain a positive attitude when dealing either or both of your pooches. Speak calmly so that the new experience stays pleasant for both of them. You can offer treats to reward pleasant behavior. Remember that timing, as well as connection to the desirable behaviors, is essential in making your pooches understand and remember what exactly are good actions.

· The top dog. Dogs generally agree on their social ranking through a particular set of canine behaviors. These include vocalizations and body postures that normally don’t lead to injury. Let your dogs to determine between themselves which of them is the top dog. If your dogs get into some sort of conflict, avoid stepping in too early since this can result in some unresolved conflict which may affect their next encounter. Once the fight is over, it’s important to give attention to the winning pooch. This will aid in reinforcing the canine hierarchy which has just been established by the dogs themselves. Once the social ranking is determined, the competition between your pooches should stop.

· Other guidelines. If you must interrupt a dog fight, use a water bottle to squirt the dueling pooches, or produce a loud, sudden noise to distract them. Never split them up by grabbing their collars or touching them in any way since this could be dangerous for you. Also, always remember that you need to provide your first dog the same extent of love and affection that he got from you in the past. Never give him reasons to become jealous. As much as possible, avoid disrupting his routines. In addition, provide each of your pets their own water and food dishes with enough space between them. If you are still not confident with their new relationship, try feeding your dogs separately.

Early in the experience of adding a second dog to the family, you may feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Just hang in there! More often than not, with time, dogs learn to not only tolerate each other, but eventually to become the best of friends.




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