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Get a second dog – yes or no?

Most dog lovers can’t get enough of dogs and therefore often want a second dog. Due to the many different characteristics of dogs and dog breeds, there are sometimes very unusual constellations when keeping multiple dogs, for example a mastiff lives together with a Maltese. Often there are also very similar combinations, especially if the owners have lost their hearts to a certain breed.

As with the acquisition of the first dog, however, careful consideration should be given to whether a second dog is even suitable for other four-legged friends and which dog could actually enrich the pack. It is important that not only the needs and preferences of the people are taken into account – those of the first dog should always be included in these considerations.

Before the second dog comes

Before deciding to buy a second dog, very rational questions must be clarified in order to check whether one is at all suitable for keeping two dogs.

1. Caregiver of the second dog

An important question is who should be the primary caregiver of the new dog. Is there a distribution of tasks or is one person in the household fully responsible for both dogs?

If the latter is the case, it should be remembered that this person also has to spend twice as much time in many respects: In the first few months in particular, training and walks should take place separately so that the new dog learns to orient itself towards its human , and not – which would of course be more obvious from a dog’s point of view – to his own kind.

Children under 16 should not be considered the main character for a variety of reasons. On the one hand, there is often a lack of real sense of responsibility, on the other hand, both the interests and the life situation of a child or young person can change fundamentally in the course of the following years.

2. Financial and spatial situation with a second dog

Another important question is the financial and spatial situation. Because having a second dog doubles the costs of keeping a dog: double the tax, double the veterinary costs, double the food. Can you bear these costs in the long term?

Two dogs also need more space, e.g. through:

  • two different berths so that each dog has its own place of retreat.
  • safe accommodation of two dogs in the car

And then there is the question of who can take two dogs on vacation or in an emergency (e.g. hospital stay) or what options there are to take two or more dogs with you on vacation. The more dogs that are purchased, the more potential for clarification of all these questions.

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Two dogs mean more time and expense. © Iulia-stock.adobe.com

The right time for a second dog

The most important basic rule is: The relationship between the dogs already living in the pack and their humans must be completely clarified, there should be no more problems. Of course, the definition of “problem” is always a matter of opinion. But at the latest when the new dog moves in, the problems with the first dog that were previously swept under the carpet with a wink usually multiply.

Therefore: If the first dog is still testing its limits, reacts aggressively to other dogs or people in everyday life, pulls on the leash or does not come back when you call him, then you should first train the existing dog (preferably with the help of a professional) tackle.

Of course, dogs are not machines and cannot always “function”. Nevertheless, with all problems you should always keep the effects of a second dog in mind. So please never think that another dog could solve existing problems. He’s more likely to make it worse. A second dog, for example, usually does not make it easier for the first dog to stay alone. After all, humans are the dog’s most important caregiver and should always remain this person.

There are also dogs that actually live happier without another conspecific. You know your dog. Weigh up whether it is suitable for living with a second dog and whether it will be comfortable with it.

Only when the first dog is well behaved and there are no more problems should you get involved with a second dog. © Iulia-stock.adobe.com

Which dog is suitable as a second dog?

If all questions have been clarified and all problems have been resolved, the important question now is which dog is actually suitable for enriching the pack. Again and again there are cases in which a pack member has to be separated because the selection was not thought out carefully enough beforehand.

1. Gender of the second dog

When the decision for a second dog has been finally made, it must first be considered what gender the new dog should be.

In general, the recommendation to have same-sex partners applies, regardless of whether the dogs are neutered or not. The simple reason for this is that in a male-female constellation, pairs naturally arise. This can have the consequence that a male – whether he is armed for the task or not – takes responsibility for his bitch, and the bitch expects the same from her male dog.

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Nevertheless, of course, you have to look at each dog individually. There are bitches who see themselves very highly in their status and therefore hardly accept female rivals, it can be the other way around with two males. Again, an opposite-sex partner would make more sense here. Of course, this topic must always be assessed very individually, as there are many different dogs and requirements for them.

If you add a male puppy to an adult male, you have to expect that there may be battles for ranking when the puppy reaches puberty. Would you be up to it?

The best thing to do is to consult a professional about the desired composition. Good dog trainers also offer to look at the desired constellation before the meeting and to give an assessment.

There are always cases in which sibling pairs are accepted. A breeder who offers this is more likely to be dubious. Dogs of the same age, who also have a family connection, will always orientate themselves more towards each other. In addition, there is the big disadvantage that two dogs have to be trained from scratch at the same time and not just one. That costs a lot of time and energy.

Often times, two same-sex dogs are a better choice, but not always! © Bianca-stock.adobe.com

2. Age of the second dog

The age of the second dog also plays an important role. In general, the age difference between the first and second dog should not be too great.

It can be very stressful and stressful for an older dog to help raise a puppy. Often people think that the old dog is having some sort of “second spring” with a new puppy. In truth, the dog senior is only stressed and busy trying to put the little rascal in his place. In the best case scenario, a puppy is more likely to come to an adult dog, which should be at least 2.5 years but not a senior.

If an already adult dog moves in, this usually causes the fewest problems. However, if the first dog is younger, the older dog may demand respect from the younger one. That could in turn lead to discrepancies because so far the first dog was number one. The following applies here: Once the human-dog relationship has been clarified, the human should be the one who regulates a lot in the pack and ensures harmony and a relaxed relationship between the individual dogs.

Buying a puppy as a second dog for a senior dog can be very stressful for the old dog. © ksuksa-stock.adobe.com

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3. Breed of the second dog

Finally, the breed and type-specific differences between dogs should also be taken into account. Even if it seems illogical at first: It makes more sense for dogs and humans to adopt two different breeds or dogs with different ambitions and dispositions. Because with two dogs with similar interests there can be more conflicts (e.g. dispute over food / a certain toy etc.). Or the dogs form a kind of community of interests, become prime hunting partners or go shoulder to shoulder through the park to stir up other dogs.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense to choose different types. Often these even represent a mutual enrichment, for example when the more active dog motivates the other and the lazy of the two sometimes lets calm come to life. Even self-confident and fearful dogs can complement each other.

Important: Even if two different dogs are recommended, they should be physically compatible in terms of weight and strength if you want to be on the safe side. If a rather large dog lives together with a rather small dog, injuries can occur (unintentionally). Although dogs can generally assess the different conditions, there are always minor to serious accidents.

Conclusion: advantages and disadvantages of the second dog

The decision about the right second dog does not have to be made in passing. There are many aspects that need to be considered, and getting a second dog has both advantages and disadvantages.

The disadvantages that need to be carefully considered are the higher cost and the time required. If you don’t have the financial or spatial means for a second dog, you shouldn’t get one either. As a dog owner, you also have to find a balance between your dogs so that the dogs see you as a caregiver, but also become a team with each other and there is no jealousy.

But if you have considered these disadvantages and can deal with them, you will be able to enjoy the many advantages of a second dog:

The clear advantage is: If you consider all the important points when choosing the second dog, you can win a real partner for yourself, but above all for the first dog: The dogs can live with each other in a small pack, help each other and communicate with each other like them Do not do that with people or with strange dogs. And you have another loyal companion at your side and were able to give a dog (maybe from the animal shelter?) A new home.