It's inevitable: if you own multiple dogs, at some point, one of your dogs will lose his or her friend.
Every dog grieves differently. Some dogs no longer find pleasure in daily activities, like eating or going for walks, while other dogs develop separation anxiety.
This is when the idea of getting another dog creeps up.
It starts with a simple internet search "just to look at photos." Then you start talking about the idea to your group of friends. A serious search eventually starts, and then SO many questions come to mind!
Here are some tips for finding your dog a new friend:
1. Get the opposite sex
While your dog's previous friend may have been the same gender, it is usually safer to get the opposite sex. Dogs of opposite genders just generally get along better.
2. Stay in the same group of dogs
If you have a Cattle Dog, he or she may not enjoy a Retriever. Those two breeds are drastically different in play style and space bubble preferences.
3. Age is important
Should you get a puppy or an older dog? Well, that depends on your personal preference and your other dog's age.
Puppies are adorable and can be a lot of fun, but they definitely require a lot of work! An adult dog may need less potty training, but both puppies and adults will require obedience training. A puppy's temperament can change as they mature, while an adult dog's personality is relatively stable.
4. Consider any size differences
Your dog's prior history with dogs of different sizes is important to consider. A large dog with strong prey drive may not be safe with a smaller dog.
Bringing home your dog's new friend
Once you decide on the perfect dog for your family, it's time to properly prepare and set up the introduction between your new dog and your current dog. Most rescues and shelters have their own procedures in place for this first interaction.
Before bringing your new family member home, have an exercise pen, baby gate, or crate set up to ensure each dog has his or her own space. You'll also want to pick up all of the toys, bones, and bowls in the house.
Once you get home, go for a walk with both dogs. Then, let the new dog explore the house and yard while your other dog waits outside.
Your current dog may guard his or her space. Keep the dogs separate for a short period of time so both dogs can decompress from the walk and introduction. When they both seem relaxed, introduce them again in the yard.
You should also have a plan in place for mealtimes. Separate the dogs before you prepare the food and feed them separately, then pick up the bowls after they are finished. It's a good idea to have a few different bowl of water in the area so there is no competition.
Introduce toys and bones into the environment slowly. The best way to do this is to place each dog on a separate tie-down or on opposite sides of a baby gate. This will allow you to properly watch for any signs of guarding body language, like hard staring.
Consider training for the new dog
You want to teach them self-control so they don't get pushy and take over the house.
Now that you have two dogs again, training from home and at your own pace may be easier. Our online classroom allows you to train multiple dogs for the price of one!
If you have any questions, please contact us or comment below!