Should You Get A Second Dog?

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How to Choose a Second Dog

Three Parts:

Have you decided to get a second dog, but don't know how to pick one? After you've made your decision, it's time to think about what kind of dog would be the best addition to your home. There are many aspects to consider, from your own schedule to dog personalities. The more aspects you consider the more likely you will be to choose a second dog that is a fulfilling and playful addition to your home.


Considering Your Lifestyle

  1. Consider your living environment.Considering the amount of space and local resources your home and neighborhood have to offer will help you determine how much work keeping two dogs will be. You will need to provide the same care, restrictions, and resources that you provided your current dog when they first came home with you.
    • If others feel overwhelmed by the thought of getting another dog, or your current dog is unfriendly or aggressive with other dogs, it might not be time to get a second dog.
  2. Make time to train your current dog.Making sure your current dog is well trained will help establish behavior for your second dog. Socializing your dog regularly, as well as house training and leash training your dog, will help them adjust to another dog living in their home. Take the time to address aggressive behavior to minimize any negative reactions your current dog might have to your second dog.
    • Be sure to adopt a second dog only when you feel comfortable with the training of your current dog.
  3. Check with your landlord.If you live in an apartment or rent your home you may need to check with your landlord regarding their pet policy before adopting a second dog. Many landlords have pet limits and specific breeds they will allow their tenants to own.
  4. Be willing to make adjustments to your schedule.Although you most likely had to adjust your schedule when adopting your first dog, adopting a second will increase your workload more than you might expect. Be willing to schedule extra training times, dog sitters when you are unavailable, and frequent exercise.
    • Consider enrolling your dogs in a day care service where they can be social, play, and get exercise.

Choosing the Dog That Is Right For You

  1. Select a dog that is sociable.Choosing a dog that is sociable will increase your chances of having a peaceful cohabitation. Ask your shelter or adoption agency if the dog you are considering adopting has displayed any aggressive behavior toward other dogs and what the circumstances were. Some dogs have traumatic histories that will take time to overcome.
    • Consult your adoption agency or shelter to see if they offer behavioral classes or mediated meetings between dogs to start socializing your dog before you take them home.
  2. Consider your second dog’s age and gender.Aggression most commonly occurs between two female dog who live together. Consider pairing a female dog with a male, or a male dog with either a male or female. Age differences can also correspond to energy levels. If you have an older dog, a puppy might be too much for them. On the other hand, two puppies might be too much for you. Consider complimenting an old dog with another dog that is old enough to display moderate energy and behavior.
    • There are exceptions to every rule. The only way to be sure of a match is to introduce your dogs and let them decide. Always supervise these meetings to prevent fights.
  3. Consider the size of your dog.Choosing a dog of comparable size is highly advisable, but not always necessary. Larger dogs, even in play, can seriously harm smaller dogs. Selecting dog’s of comparable size will often reduce the chance for harm. Some larger dogs can also be more energetic, which often implies differences in treatment and daily routines. However, it is not impossible to have two dogs of very different sizes in the same household, but it will require committed management and supervision.
    • Be sure to consider both age and temperament in relationship to dog size. For example, older dogs of various sizes may be paired well together as they both have similar energy levels.
  4. Select a breed that is multi-pet friendly.There are many dog breeds that are known for being friendlier and more easily managed in multi-pet households. Considering choosing one of these breeds to adopt to reduce the risk of complications and increase the chances of your dog being welcomed into your household.
    • A few examples of pet friendly breeds are: Beagles, Australian Shepherds, Corgis, Springer Spaniels, and Labrador Retrievers.
    • Consult your local pet shelter or adoption agency to see if they have any pet friendly breeds available for adoption.

Introducing Your Second Dog

  1. Schedule regular play dates before adoption.Ask friends or other dog owners if you can schedule regular play dates with your current dog and with the dog you are about to adopt. Exposing your new dog to many social and friendly dogs will help them get used to interacting in playful and kind ways. Try to meet in a dog park or another neutral location to minimize territorial reactions.
    • Try scheduling weekly or bi-monthly playdates to slowly introduce your new dog to their new family and friends.
  2. Make a good impression prior to adoption.Choose a neutral location so that neither of your dogs have territorial reactions. A neutral location will also allow your dogs to greet each other as they would in a park or other social context. Making a good first impression is key to building a friendly foundation that can lead to cohabitation. When introducing dogs to one another keep them on their leashes at a distance and let them observe each other’s body language. Let them slowly come closer together until they meet on their own.
    • Do not force your dogs to meet. If either one is displaying aggressive behavior or body language it’s best to separate your dogs and try another day.
    • Many shelters and rescues have staff who are specialized in facilitating dog introductions. Consult your local shelter for recommendations and services.
  3. Hire a board-certified veterinary behaviorist if problems arise.If the dogs are aggressive towards each other or if other behavioral problems emerge after adoption, you should try to fix the issue before getting rid of one of the dogs. Look for a veterinary behaviorist, who can teach you how to train the dogs to live in peace with one another.
    • You can find a local veterinary behaviorist by searching the or the member directory of the
  4. Consult your adoption agency or animal shelter about their return policies.Occasionally differences cannot be overcome and dogs might remain incompatible with one another. Consult your adoption agency or animal shelter about their return policies so you are not stuck with two dogs who are aggressive toward one another.
    • This should be a last resort and not something to depend on. Make sure you are as certain as possible you have found a working match before finalizing your adoption.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    I want a second dog but I don't think my family wants one. I'm saving up money, but what else should I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Keep saving up. Tell your family that it's good for a dog to have another dog for companionship, and that taking care of two dogs is not that much more difficult than taking care of one.
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Date: 11.12.2018, 14:22 / Views: 74283