The second dog - double happiness or a lot of work?

Bulldogge und Mops

Almost every dog owner will ask themself at least once in a lifetime: Should I get a second dog? The are many reason for this desire. The deep affection for dogs and good experiences with the first four-legged friend are usually the main reason to get another dog. But the decision is very difficult for most dogowners - there is so much to think about: What if I am not up to this challenge? What if my dog is not up to this challenge?  

The awareness to take on another big responsibility is the first and most important step on the way to the second dog. William Walker wants to support you with this decision. That's why we created the "second dog list". Various influencing factors will be summarized, explained and enriched with solutions. 

  1. Is there enough space in my apartment/house for a second dog to ...:
    1. have a sufficiently large sleeping place? Dogs need their very own nest to cuddle and stretch out so they can become relaxed and balanced companions - because rivalry and envy lead to stress and tension among conspecifics.
    2. have a feeding place with enough distance? To defence the food is a basic instinct of every four-legged friend - even if its expression varies individually. If there is not enough space between the eating dogs it can lead to food being gobbled up and this is not only stressful but also bad for the health of the four-legged friend. Doors, corners, niches or even furniture can be used to create a feeling of distance and privacy. 
    3. have enough space to move? Every dog owner experiences days when they're busy and the daily walk with the dog is too short. And that may be allowed sometimes. Dogs can also spend a day on the couch as long as that is not the rule. After all, most four-legged friends prefer to stay warm and dry when it's raining outside. For situations like this, there is a variety of indoor activities for our dogs. Both dogs must have enough space to move freely and not step on each other's paws.
    4. have a place to calm down? It is important that both dogs have the opportunity to get out of each other's way. For a good socialization of dogs it is necessary that the animals get to know each others reactions. Especially young dogs are not always able to interpret the boundaries of their playmates correctly or even become cheeky and high-spirited. In order to avoid a fight, dogs must have the chance to find protection and calm through spatial separation.
  2. Is my environment suitable for a second dog?
    1. It is important to clarify in advance whether the landlord/owner of your rented apartment/house will allow you to keep a second dog. Nowadays most tenants do not even ask their landlord for permission, which is a high risk. One dog may be concealed, but with two dogs it becomes much more difficult. Because: not everybody likes dogs and has an understanding for noises or paw prints in the staircase. In the worst case scenario, there is the threat of dismissal and action for eviction. But don't worry, there are also many dog lovers among landlords. If the experience with the first dog was good for all parties, nothing will stand in the way of the second dog's happiness.
    2. Are there good walking conditions in your environment? Just because two dogs live in the same household doesn't mean that their bladder and digestion are in sync. Especially if you have chosen a puppy as a second dog, the time until it is potty trained on the 5th floor with some distance to the next green space can become a real disaster. A small green exit, a garden or green surroundings solve this problem completely. But no garden should not be an exclusion criterion - if there is a will, there is a way.

  3. Am I suitable for a second dog?
    1. A second dog takes time. Especially at the beginning, in the acclimatisation and socialisation phase, the four-legged friend needs special attention. With a puppy you have to assume an additional full-time job. While small weaknesses, such as the lack of a garden, can be compensated for by additional effort, there is no alternative for time. Much of this and the desire to spend it with dogs are super basic requirements for keeping two or more four-legged friends. Dog education is everything for a good cooperation. The human being is even more challenged than his four-legged friend. With two dogs the distraction possibilities increase and the dogs animate each other. To maintain the obedience of two dogs does not only cost patience and is a lot of work, but it also requires assertiveness. 
    2. The cost of keeping a dog doubles with a second dog. Not only do you have to provide food twice, but the veterinary costs also increase. A second dog is also subject to dog tax, and you should take out additional dog liability insurance. You must always bear in mind the risk that not all dogs have the same state of health. Emergencies should also be financially affordable. Supporting there are dog health insurances.
  4. Is my dog ready for a another dog?
    1. Your dog should follow the basic commands. Otherwise additional time should be invested in its education before a second dog can do the same. However, if your four-legged friend is well-trained, he can even be a real help to train the new roommate as a role model. 
    2. Your dog should get along well with other dogs. In general, the better and more relaxed your dog is in social interaction with other dogs, the more likely he is to succeed in getting along with a new roommate. To ensure that defending your territory does not stand in the way of the development of a great friendship, the first meeting should take place on neutral ground. Initial rivalries, envy or disagreements between the four-legged friends usually subside with time and the animals get used to each other.
    3. Find a dog that matches your dog. The connection between two dogs can be enhanced by specific gender and breed combinations. Thus, in the combination of a bitch with a male there will be less rivalry and dominance behaviour in most cases. However, one should take some precautions, otherwise two dogs can quickly turn into a litter of puppies. If one tries to keep two unneutered males under one roof, one must assume that there will be a power struggle at least once. Dogs from the same breed often have similar characteristics and behaviour patterns - they usually get along particularly well. However, sympathies and antipathies can occur everywhere and sometimes the most unconventional combinations make the most beautiful couples. Nevertheless it is always worth taking a look at the FCI breed standards. If the choice of a second dog falls on a four-legged friend from the shelter, knowledge of the breed or the different parts of the breed can help to understand the dog better and to prepare for living together with him.
    4. Your dog should have reached adulthood. If he is still a puppy himself or even a rebellious pubescent animal, you should wait a while before buying a second dog. Your dog needs your full attention at this stage of his life. If your quadruped is already a senior, a second dog, especially a puppy, can give him a second spring. However, old dogs can also often feel disturbed in their rest. In general: Is your dog still healthy and fit despite its advanced age and enjoys playing with other dogs? Then nothing stands in the way of a new addition to the family due to age. 
    5. Double happiness or a lot of work? The answer to this question is probably: both! Because only with a lot of work, time and heart you can get double happiness. 

By Louisa Knoll

1 comment

Spannend!! Danke für diesen tollen Text.

Meltem Keklikci May 25, 2020

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