The 411 on Owning Multiple Dogs
There are few things more rewarding in life than owning and having a great relationship with your dog, except maybe owning and having a great relationship with multiple dogs…
More and more you’ll see people that have taken multiple dogs into their home and there’s very good reason for it. Owning multiple dogs allows your pet to have another companion they can share their time and affection for. Better yet, it give you an excuse to have multiple dogs to love in your home.
The trouble is that owning one dog is a large responsibility, and owning multiple dogs can be many time more difficult still. In order to responsibly own multiple dogs, dog owners should take the time to consider a few things just as they did before taking on their first pet.
Here to help you determine if you’re ready to take on the responsibility associate with multiple pets is a quick guide and a few things to consider before taking the dive.
Think About It
Bringing a new dog into the house may be easier than buying your very first dog because you know how to train a puppy, but that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t major considerations to be made. For one, you can expect the financial responsibility of owning a dog to double.
The costs associated with going to the vet, food, and even walking your dog if you have a walker will go up considerably. You need to be sure you’re in a position to meet these increased financial needs, because once you taken on the responsibility of multiple dogs there’s not much that can be done.
There are also going to be increased burdens on your time. Dogs are not all about buying the right things. Far from it, your dog needs your time more than just about anything else. You need to be sure you have time to bond with two dogs, and that may take up a significantly large portion of your time.
Lastly, be sure that your current scenario is going to be a healthy one to bring a dog into. If you’re extremely busy, struggling with illness, or else expect major changes in the coming years, you may want to hold off on getting another dog until things are a little more settled.
Probably the most nerve wracking part of having multiple dogs is doing the actual introduction. There’s a lot of pressure on your two dogs getting along, so it’s only natural that you’d want their first meeting to go as smoothly as possible.
There are a few things you can do to be sure that this first meeting does go well. The first thing that you can do is bring the dog over for a visit before you bring them home permanently. If at all possible, arranging a meeting before the second dog moves in can allow both dogs to establish a familiarity that can serve as a foundation for later relationships.
Once you bring your dog home there are a few things you can do yourself to help make sure it goes well. First, be excited about the meeting. Your dog looks to you in uncertain situations, and you’re exuding a sense of positivity it can frame the meeting in a positive light, and that positivity can go a long way.
While your dogs get to know each other you can expect a natural hierarchy to emerge from their relationship. Don’t feel like this is inherently a bad thing because it is a natural part of socialization in dogs. Instead, do what you can to make sure the hierarchy forms and behaves as it should. Mainly, you want to be sure that you’re at the top or else you risk behavioral problems arising that will be incredibly difficult to correct.
You also want to be sure that all dogs have proper access to food, your attention, and other necessities. Don’t let one dog be bullied by another!
Depending on how the first few weeks go, you may find that it’s necessary to keep your dogs separate to avoid any conflicts that you won’t be available to monitor. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you should always keep in mind that the end goal is having your dogs interact together alone without your supervision.
Oftentimes this is possible from the outset, but if it’s not take this in steps. Let your dogs be alone for short periods and gradually increase the time they spend together unsupervised until it is no longer an issue. It’s a great way to get your dogs socialized.
When mediating these interactions it is essential that you understand basic dog behavior, and what their actions mean. Avoid obvious sources of conflict by being aware of your dog’s environment. If one pooch is very attached to one object, then introducing it to both dogs is asking for conflict.
Furthermore, let dogs interact as dogs should be barking and growling. Dogs need to communicate to understand where they stand, and limiting the way they interact can lead to dangerous miscommunications and unnecessary conflict. Let dogs be dogs.
Access to Essentials
Many times conflict will emerge when dogs are put in a position where they feel a need to compete for resources. One major instance in which this would occur is during feeding. Avoid conflict by keeping food bowls separate. Don’t put your dogs in a position where they can limit another’s access to food. There are many reasons a dog may not eat, but don’t let this be one of them
Sleep is also important. Give both dogs their own space where they can rest comfortably. Again it all comes down to giving both dogs equal treatment! Find the right bed for each dog here.
If you feel you can take on two or more dogs into your household, then don’t hesitate. There are plenty of dogs out there in need of a loving home, and having multiple dogs can be hugely rewarding.
Just take all the necessary steps to be sure that you, and all your dogs are living in the happiest and healthiest environment possible. Most of all, enjoy each other’s company and enjoy the kinship that comes with owning dogs!DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.