Adding a new dog to the family pack

 

So you already have a dog at home and you’re looking into extending the family either for companionship, for a child or an adult or companionship for your other dog.  But, whatever the case may be, it’s not as simple as it my seem.

Before we adopted Journey, we had another dog, Sammy. He and our other dog Kwen were really close. After he passed away, Kwen got so depressed. She wasn’t as playful or happy as she used to be and she barely ate anything. And to make things worse,  I started a new career in Real Estate so I wasn’t at home as often as I used to be. It pained us to see her sad, and so we decided to get Journey. 

The following are important things you should know to ensure that there’s a smooth transition

1. Compatibility

This is the most important aspect to making the addition to the family a successful one. The new dog should not only get along with the human members but also your first dog. Both dogs should get the opportunity to meet each other in a neutral environment before taking the new one home.

We took Kwen in to meet Journey at the pound and they did not hit it off right away. Journey was very scared, shy and ran every time Kwen approached her. However, despite her reactions, neither dogs showed any signs of aggression, and that was a good enough indication for us to conclude and agreed on that with time, both would be inseparable.

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You want to make sure that at least one dog isn’t aggressive and is friendly. Knowing their temperament is very imperative, and the theory of “opposites attract and like repels” stands when selecting a dog. An assertive and dominant dog doesn’t pair well with another of the same character. Choose a dog whose personality complements your other dog’s.

2. Sharing Spaces, Toys and Time

It is okay to have both dogs out whether in the livingroom or out in the backyard, as long as you’re there to monitor them and to prevent them from getting into any fights. However, when you plan on leaving them home alone and at bedtime, I highly recommend that they are separated by a barrier to avoid confrontations.

Take note of the following:

  • Free-feeding should be avoided. Instead, dogs should be fed away from each other (a far enough distance or even separate rooms) in distinguishable dishes/plates.
  • Put away the first dog’s blanket(s) and toys and purchase new ones (enough toys to go around) for both. This will help to maintain peace between both dogs.
  • This is where it can get pretty nasty; ‘me time’ with human family member(s). To avoid jealously and depression, whatever you do to one, you do to the other. So if you pet one, you HAVE TO pet the other. Having someone else in the household to help out goes a long way.

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3. Training

Training your dogs become more important with having more than one to deal with, and you don’t want to be the owner that seems to be the one on the leash when walking your dogs. A well-trained dog has a more warm and friendly demeanor and listens to your commands, a necessity especially when out in public places.

Our dogs Kwen and Sammy are house trained and we also taught them a few hand signals, which were very useful when we were at the dog park and they weren’t close enough to hear us. Also, Sammy lost his hearing as he got older and those hand signals helped us to communicate with him.

You will find the perfect match for your first dog if the introduction is successful, you train them well and you’re patient. All of the afrementioned do not happen overnight, it’s a learning process for both human family member(s) and dogs. If we hadn’t taken the time to get to know our new pup and learnt about getting another dog, we would have missed out on great addition to our family. We can’t imagine what our lives would be like without them.

A dog is more than just a man’s best friend, but also a companion and family.

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