How many dogs are too many? There is a right answer!
Should you add a puppy to your family?
The flowchart is a loose guideline to help you determine your readiness for a second puppy.
If you are unsure, even a little bit, please speak to a behaviourist to assess the temperament of your dog. They can also recommend the type of dog you could add to your family (and perhaps an older dog is more suited to your lifestyle!). Another great way to decide, is to foster a puppy for a minimum of 3 weeks
Once you think you and your dog are ready for a second puppy, consider the following recommendations:
1) Choose a different sex
2) Ensure there is at least a 3-4 year age gap!
3) Double check that the puppy is also comfortable around dogs (i.e. meet the pup!)
4) Goes without saying, but I hope you have researched your breed well before deciding to bring them home!
Dogs live in a hierarchy. Imagine a ladder – each rung will have a dog. If the dogs are two similar (similar sex, or too close in age), they may start competing with each other for a specific rung on the ladder. If they are different, they are more likely to settle in (on different rungs) quicker, and minimize any dog to dog tensions.
Certainly, there are several success stories of multidog homes with littermates, or similar types of dogs. I am glad it has worked out for them!
Once you bring your puppy is home, here are some guidelines:
1) Ensure multiple of the same resource e.g 6-7 yak chews, 6-7 sock toys, 6-7 balls (6-7 beds if you will). Do not have 10 different toys- this will surely lead to fights! If there are multiple of the same toys i.e. an abundance of resources, there is a much less chance of fighting.
2) Training starts on Day 1 – Train with each dog separately. A recall, a simple No and a Wait/Stay, can make your lives much more peaceful.
3) Resist the urge to intervene – Dogs do not share. One dog will get the bed, one dog will get the toy, one dog will get to go out of the house first etc (Remember the ladder? This hierarchy, which can change with time, determines a lot of things. I cannot emphasize how important it is to speak to a behaviourist to get this right.
4) Stop dog-to-dog play – Sorry to disappoint you! Encourage chilling with each other, going on walks together etc. But dog to dog play (jumping, mouthing) encourages they jump and mouth on you AND teaches them that dogs are more fun i.e. don’t listen to the humans AND more often that not, leads to some forms of dog to dog aggression in a year or two. This is when you should certainly intervene. However, if you have calm and well-socialized adult dog (see question 5), this should not be a problem – your adult dog will not allow for much play, and will instead, prefer to seek the companionship of the humans from day 1.
5) Time outs – Give each dog a few hours of time apart from each other e.g different rooms, crates etc!