Is Two Too Many?
Pamela Dennison © 2021
This article is mostly questions I would like you to ask yourself BEFORE adding in another dog. It may just save you some anguish, trips to the vet to sew up the loser and the angst of having to return the new dog.
You already have a dog and want to purchase or adopt a new one. Good for you! Please read these questions and answer them honestly and unselfishly.
Have you asked your existing dog if he/she would want a playmate?
Did you just decide on your own, without taking into consideration that your present dog might not want, need or even be good with another dog, thus wreaking havoc in your household?
When you went to purchase or adopt your new dog, did you look at the possible differences between the two dogs that might cause a problem?
The size difference?
Age difference? Often an older dog is not going to take kindly to an exuberant youngster, unless they have been well socialized and used to playing with all breeds, sizes and temperaments of other dogs.
Does your present dog have any issues that might make bringing in a new dog a real problem? (such as resource guarding)
Has the potential new dog;
Been temperament tested with by the rescue group or breeder?
Have they been tested to see what their energy levels are compared to your own dog? Higher, lower, same?
What is their personality as compared to your own dog – couch potato, medium energy, bull in a china shop that knows no boundaries?
When you go to look at the second dog, I highly recommend (and do this myself), you go and meet the new dog first, without your existing dog. See if you really like the dog, and if the dog likes you. Spend at least an hour with the dog – petting, feeding, hangIng out.
Go home WITHOUT THE DOG! Think it over for at least 24 hours. Go back WITH YOUR EXISTING DOG (and all family members) this time and take a walk with both dogs – either on leash at a distance or off leash in a safe area. Hopefully either you, the breeder or rescue group are well versed in body language, so you can see if this might be a good match.
I never, ever, ever adopt a new dog without first doing the above steps, because I’m not a big fan of having dog fights in my tiny home. I’m kind of into harmony. After Emma passed away it took me two years to find just the right dog to fit into my household with my two shelties. I wanted another Border collie and of course, I had a list of the qualities and traits I was looking for. I met some dogs, but they weren’t right for me or my little ones. Too intense and my gang was afraid of that kind of behavior.
So, you met the dog once, then twice (with your dog) and even if it’s a good match, GO HOME WITHOUT THE NEW DOG. Wait 24 hours. Then if it still feels right all around, by all means go back and get the dog. If you have *any* reservations or think, “well, they’ll learn to like each other,” then you’re fooling yourself and it will end in a disaster.
Don’t succumb to the high pressure rescue groups that tell you there are people waiting for this dog and if you don’t take it now, it will go to someone else. Great! Let it go. This is a living, breathing, feeling, thinking being, not some used car.
You’ll also want to really think about who else is in your household. Kids, especially young ones, might not too well with large bull in a china shop kind of dog. Same with elderly people. Do you have cats? Chickens, livestock? Does the potential new dog have a strong prey drive? That kind of dog may not be the right dog for you.
No harm, no foul
There are times when you think the second dog will fit in fine and oops, it doesn’t. Please don’t feel the need to keep the dog at all costs. IT’S OKAY to bring the dog back. REALLY. I give you permission. Be unselfish enough to realize that another home might be best for this particular dog and give them that chance for a better life.