Many times I have clients that tell me their dog is lonely and they want to get him a companion. I usually ask them why they think their dog is lonely – is he behaving poorly, being destructive, excessively barking for seemingly no reason, or overly demanding attention?
The mistake that most people make is to put their human emotions and feelings in the place of their dog’s. In fact, as a Canine Behavioral Therapist, I would say if you answer NO to any of the questions above, that your dog is just fine. The problem was that my client perceived that her being away during the day was making her dog lonely. Chances are, he was probably happy to get a break and have a nice quiet house to nap.
The decision to get a second, or even third dog, should not be based on human emotions, but whether or not you would like multiple dogs and can handle more than one dog in your household. Since you are the boss, the caregiver, the teacher, the protector; it will be your responsibility to take care of each animal separately and as a group. If you don’t think you have time to provide the quality of life for more than one dog, do not get another. If you have the time and want another dog, then you should consider looking for one.
Here are some things to consider when looking for a second dog:
- Make sure that both dogs are spayed or neutered. This makes sure that no unnecessary aggression arises out of heightened excitement or adrenaline.
- Try to pick a dog that is roughly the same size as your current dog. This makes play time easier because one can’t hurt the other because of the difference in size.
- If possible, have the second dog a little younger than your current dog. When the newly introduced dog is slightly younger than the current, it stimulates the activity between the two. Bonding will normally take place much faster.
- If possible, have several play dates way from your home with your dog and the perspective dog to make sure that they are compatible. Some dogs “just don’t like another dog”. There is no way to determine this until you actually have them meet.
- Make sure that everyone in the family agrees to the idea of a second dog and that they all take part in choosing the second dog.
Deciding whether there should be more than one dog in your family is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take time to plan so the addition to the household goes smoothly.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
© Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved