Living With Dogs

Getting a Second Dog – Should You Do It?

The essential questions - plus all the pros and cons - to help you decide if it's time for a new addition.

Copy: Katy & Shell

Photography: Katy & Shell

It felt like we had been talking about getting a second dog forever before it finally happened in September last year. 

We just love our ‘OG’ boy Ziggy so much and thought, wouldn’t double the love be twice as nice? And twice as fun. 

Well, of course it would! But all that extra unconditional love and pure joy doesn’t come for free. It means more responsibility, more costs and more time caring for your furry family.

And besides, what if Ziggy didn’t like his new brother or sister? His happiness is everything to us.

Should I Get A Second Dog? Pretty Fluffy

 

Now, both of us tend to suffer from decision paralysis (my excuse is that as a Libran, all decisions are to be strictly assessed, analyzed and rehashed) so you can imagine how annoying our friends found us in the lead up to Sunny joining our family (sorry everyone!)

Many questions were asked, and many feelings were had. We really wanted to make the right choice, because getting a second pup is a big decision to make. And a very difficult decision to undo once it’s done.

So if you’re feeling a similar way right now, we completely understand where you’re at. And we’re here to lend a hand! 

To help you make the right decision for you and your family, we’ve laid out in black and white everything you need to consider when it comes to getting a second dog. 

Here you’ll find a list of essential questions to ask yourself, the pros and cons of getting a second dog, and clear examples of when you should or shouldn’t be adding a second four-legged member to your pack.

Pros & Cons of Getting a Second Dog-18

 

Should I get a second dog? Must-ask questions

Dogs provide beautiful companionship, they keep you active, teach responsibility and show compassion. It’s no wonder you want more than one to share your life with! 

For us personally, getting a second dog was the right decision. Sunny is well and truly part of our family, and although he’s only 6 months old, we really can’t imagine our lives without him.

That’s not to say it’s all been smooth sailing though. Actually, it’s been far from it (think sleepless nights, multiple vet visits, separation anxiety issues, Sunny having a non-reciprocal obsession with Ziggy…the list goes on!) 

However, the joy Sunny has brought to our lives has been absolutely worth it.

But everyone’s situation is different. And as you’ve just seen, there is a huge amount to consider when getting another dog.

Most of all, it’s really important that all of your current family members – humans and pets included – will react well to a second dog joining the ranks. 

Here’s a list of essential questions you need to consider before committing to a second pup…

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT YOURSELF:

 

  • Can I afford a second dog?
  • Is my family open and ready for a second dog? 
  • Do I have time to walk, play, and enrich the lives of more than one dog?
  • Will training a new dog be practical?
  • Is my yard/home physically big enough for a second dog?

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT YOUR DOG:

 

  • Do you really like other dogs?
  • Do you have behavioural problems that need to be addressed?
  • Are you well enough to accept another dog?

So, how did you do? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to the questions above, you might need to reconsider your plans for a second dog. 

Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a second dog altogether…just that you probably should reevaluate your adoption plan and timing for now. 

Should I Get A Second Dog? Pretty Fluffy

 

Pros & Cons of Getting A Second Dog

You’ve asked yourself and your dog the hard questions…now let’s take a look at all the pros and cons of welcoming a new dog into your family.

These lists of pros and cons spell out all the things to be mindful of when thinking about getting another dog.

THE PROS:

 

  • Double the love and joy for you and your family! Dogs are wonderful for kids especially.
  • Your dog gets a new best friend to keep them entertained, making life easier for you
  • Exercise time is easier with two dogs, especially if they love tug-of-war or chasing each other
  • A second dog makes your ‘OG’ dog and your family feel more safe and secure at home
  • If your current dog is lonely, a second dog offers much-needed companionship
  • Getting a second dog can be a valuable companion if your dog suffers from separation anxiety

THE CONS:

 

  • Training two dogs can be twice as hard, as each dog is at a different level of training and this can be distracting to the other
  • Twice the dogs, twice the mess. Think double the fur, double the poop, and double the damage if you have two chewers on your hands!
  • Dogs can teach each other bad habits, so there’s a chance your perfect pooch might turn a little naughty when the new dog arrives.
  • Having two dogs can increase the risk of aggression and resource guarding, which is challenging to train and correct. 
  • Similarly, two dogs may get jealous of the other – and behave badly because of it.
  • Double the costs – it’s one of the biggest disadvantages of two dogs. Whatever you’re spending now on dog food, toys, and vet bills – then you’ll likely need to double it.

Should I Get A Second Dog? Pretty Fluffy

 

Having read the above pros and cons, do any come as a surprise? Perhaps you’re feeling more confident that a second furry family member is the way to go.

If your dog is not well socialised, prefers the company of humans to dogs, or is an older senior dog, a second dog likely isn’t a good idea. New dogs and puppies will pick up undesirable behaviours if left untrained, while elderly dogs can experience extreme stress by the addition of a playful and well-intentioned puppy. 

Our own experience was certainly mixed, with a combination of pros and cons sprinkled in! 

While we have found training difficult at times due to Ziggy becoming frustrated and impatient with us and Sunny, we do also feel that Sunny picked up a few commands quicker than what he would have otherwise done, as he watches Ziggy do everything

It’s quite adorable really. But even that comes with it’s own pros and cons…because Sunny picks up Ziggy’s good AND bad habits!

Getting A Second Dog - Everything You Need to Know

 

Reasons why you should or shouldn’t get another dog

Ok, so you’ve asked the tough questions, and reviewed the pros and cons.

Finally, let’s take a look at some clear cut reasoning that should really help you decide, once and for all, whether or not to bring home a second dog.

WHEN TO GET A SECOND DOG:

 

  • You want to save another animal from a shelter or unhappy home.
  • Your dog loves other animals and seems lonely on its own.
  • Your home is big enough to provide adequate space for another dog.
  • You have enough money to cover the added costs of caring for an additional pet.
  • You love dogs and want to share your life and home with more than one.

WHEN NOT TO GET A SECOND DOG: 

 

  • You would struggle to cover vet costs or food.
  • Your current dog has behavioral issues, and you do not have the time to train it properly.
  • There are family members in the household who do not want another pet.
  • You do not have permission from the property owner to keep another dog.

Should I Get A Second Dog? Questions, Tips and Procs & Cons -Pretty Fluffy

 

So…should I get a second dog then?

While we’re not in a position to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do – if you love dogs, are ready for the responsibility, and think your current pup needs a new bestie – the answer is probably yes.

It’s important to take the time to research the right dog for your lifestyle, and also to allow everyone in the family – new dog included – to get used to the changes at their own pace. 

These days it’s also very easy to find great dog training and dog behaviour resources online to help your family through the transition period of getting a second dog. Great Dogs by Brian is a wonderful place to start with interesting and helpful videos, free webinars, and virtual dog training. 

We can tell you from experience there certainly are challenges with having two dogs – it definitely isn’t a walk in the park all the time! But when well considered and properly planned, very few people feel that getting a second dog was a mistake. The benefits of growing your family far outweigh the concerns. 

Because when it all works out, you get twice the love and a big, happy family.

Just be prepared to lose an extra sock or two, and lose a little more space in the bed! 

Which reminds us, time to order that Super King size bed…

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Copy: Katy & Shell

Photography: Katy & Shell

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