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Discussion Starter #1
I've been thinking about getting a 2nd dog but am concerned about the impact it would have on my existing dog. She's never shown an ounce of DA or territorial behavior around other dogs. Her love of other dogs is just off the charts. But I have no idea what would happen if I brought another dog into our home to live (she's fine with visiting dogs).

So for all you multiple dog owners out there, here are my questions:

- How do you know if the two dogs will get along?
- How long do you have to have the 2nd dog in the house without incident to know they're going to get along?
- Can dogs that have gotten along for a while suddenly start showing aggression towards each other (outside of an age or health-related situation, e.g. older dog doesn't want to be bothered by younger dog, snaps)

I would hate to bring a dog home only to find out a few weeks or months later that it wasn't working with the other dog. Suggestions? Thanks!
 

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GOOD LUCK!!!

Having just gone through this, still going through this really, I think it's impossible to tell for sure. I think my suggestion to most would be not to bother. It's so much harder than I originally thought!! I'll take a shot at answering your questions though:

- You don't. You introduce them a few times and if there aren't incidents than you take a chance and hope it works out. Even then, you'll question whether you were right, whether you made the right decision or not and no matter what, you'll never know what will happen tomorow.
- I've only had Fergus for about 20 days and I'm not sure I'll ever be sure of this.
- Time will tell on this one I guess.

I think the only way to do this is to commit 100% and tell yourself that no matter what, you are going to make things work. This may sound pretty dumb, but if I didn't think this I would have gotten rid of Fergus after about a week - NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. Instead, I put my head down, committed myself to making it work, and as of today I'm glad I did (though I may very well have a different opinion tomorrow).
 

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Thanks for the reply. That really helps. I kind of suspected that some sort of leap of faith would be required. I just want to be honest with myself and make sure we don't take this on if we're not truly prepared to deal with whatever comes. I think you're exactly right on that one. And that's why I posted - I'm not really sure. So until I can share your attitude, we won't be doing it.
 

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One thing to consider, which in hindsight I wish I would have looked into, is being a foster. This lets you see what life is like w/ 2 dogs and if it's not for you then when the dog becomes adopted you'll know and not only will you not feel bad about giving up on a dog, you'll actually feel good about the service you provided. If it does work out, then you can either adopt the dog you're fostering or continue to foster until you find the dog that works in your home.

I'm sure if you were to reach out to a few shelters in your area and explain your intentions to them they'd be more than happy to help. Just a thought.
 

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Are you planning on bringing home an adult or a puppy?
My first two dogs were very young when introduced. The orignal dog had been socialized to the max and I knew she would be great because she had been around dogs of all ages, sexes, and sizes almost every day I had her. Then DH brought the new puppy home. They instantly became best buds. Just lucky I guess. If your dog is great with others, and you bring home a pup - chances are they will get along (In my experience)
These two are real close. They drink, eat, play, snuggle with no problems ever.

Then we brought home the third...on a wing and a prayer....real stupid when I think about it.

"Her cage card says good with other dogs!"<---Stupid Groomer should have known better, but I also knew this awesome dog would be PTS soon because no one wants a big black dog.

The original and the newbie got along just fine. The second and the third had many problems over treats, dropped kibble, bones, toys... it was a stressfull PITA. Finally we learned their triggers and we have managed it very well. No issues in the last couple months. Doesn't mean it could never happen though.

Best of luck, girl. It is a wonderful thing on the rare winter nights in Florida when its cold, and I have three warm dogs snuggled on my bed..oh yeah, and DH too. That was my experience as a multi-dog owner.... do not try this at home....
 

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Adding Allie was stressful for the first couple of months, although there were some other circumstances involved (lots of $$ in vet bills, her being very ill and very reactive to everything). Her and Lloyd got along pretty well so that wasn't a problem, but just adjusting to having a second dog took awhile. Now though I wouldn't trade her for anything. Her and Lloyd get along great, and now we might be adding another dog . . .

I LOVE having more than 1 dog, its more than twice the work, but its awesome for me.
 

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Winnec777, I'm in the same boat as you. I have been fortunate that my dog first dog has been the most perfect dog so far. She's obedient, friendly to all dogs and humans, very calm for a terrier, doesn't bark, pad and outside trained, and will happily stay at home by herself.

I would like to add a second but I'm wondering the same thing as you. I think we'll have a better chance with a puppy from a good breeder. Even with that there are some risks because my dog is definitely not the dominate type and I hope the puppy doesn't grow up and try to dominate her. What type of dog are you thinking about?
 

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I'd definitely say a leap of faith is required - although my experience has been very positive so far! Willow has lived with 2 different dogs so far (Yuki, and Bandit), and got along well with both, even though their personalities were each completely different (Yuki was an assertive "alpha" personality, Bandit is very shy and submissive).

I think a long and proper introduction is key... i.e., don't just bring the new dog into your home - take a long walk with the two of them together, and once they're comfortable, let them in the house together. Let the new dog earn his "free run of the house" a little at a time, so the first dog can get away for time alone if need be. In my experience, any problems have occured within the first 24 hours, and you'll know whether or not the situation is really going to work long-term.

To answer your questions:

1. I didn't know for sure either time, but I just took it slow and let the dogs choose how much interaction they wanted.

With Willow and Yuki, it took 3 seperate introductions before I was comfortable leaving them together - but that was due almost entirely to Yuki's food aggression. I fed them seperately and was careful with Kongs and treats, and there were no further issues.

With Bandit, I took Willow to meet him at the shelter. They bonded almost immediately, and played and groomed each other at the shelter visit room. (Willow was extremely depressed following the loss of Yuki and I think she was very ready for a new canine friend.) We had a 3 hour ride back to my house, and I crated Bandit and let Willow ride next to the crate the whole way home. There was not a single problem. When I let them into the kennel together to play, Willow got kinda over-excited and scared Bandit a bit, so I separated them and re-introduced them the next day. After Bandit gained some confidence, they became best friends.

2. In my experience, any MAJOR problems presented themselves right away (Yuki's severe food guarding, for instance). But it usually took me a week before I was able to relax knowing the dogs were OK with each other.

3. I'm sure it's possible... I think it's mostly when small things are allowed to escalate and become BIG things. I think management and common sense would (mostly) prevent things of this nature.

With your situation (Poca LOVES the company of other dogs, you've had her a long time and know her very well), I would say to GO FOR IT! I think you would really enjoy a 2nd dog and I think Poca would as well. Her breed is extremely pack-oriented and I think you'd run into few problems if you found a compatible dog.

EDIT: I know this is cheating, but I can't help myself. Just had to add a picture to help illustrate the potential rewards of a 2nd dog. :D It's a risk, but for a well-adjusted, friendly and outgoing dog, I think it's a worthwhile one!

 

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GOOD LUCK!!!

Having just gone through this, still going through this really, I think it's impossible to tell for sure. I think my suggestion to most would be not to bother. It's so much harder than I originally thought!! I'll take a shot at answering your questions though:

- You don't. You introduce them a few times and if there aren't incidents than you take a chance and hope it works out. Even then, you'll question whether you were right, whether you made the right decision or not and no matter what, you'll never know what will happen tomorow.
- I've only had Fergus for about 20 days and I'm not sure I'll ever be sure of this.
- Time will tell on this one I guess.

I think the only way to do this is to commit 100% and tell yourself that no matter what, you are going to make things work. This may sound pretty dumb, but if I didn't think this I would have gotten rid of Fergus after about a week - NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. Instead, I put my head down, committed myself to making it work, and as of today I'm glad I did (though I may very well have a different opinion tomorrow).

I have to totally agree with this. I'd never had two dogs at the same time before. But for the last 6 months, I've had Lucy & Lily.
The only thing I would add is that I wish I'd been farther along with my first dog's (Lucy) training before I got the 2nd. Lucy was 10 months old when we got Lily. I'd wish I'd waited till she was about 18 months. She regressed a little when Lily (at 3 months old) came to us.
 

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If you do decide to add a 2nd dog make sure it's something that you really want. Never get a dog for a dog. For the first several months at least keep the dogs separated most of the time so that the new dog bonds to you more than to the other dog. Expect some posturing, and testing, especially if the new dog is an adolescent (or when the pup becomes a teenager), as the two dogs figure out their pack positions relative to each other. Finally, it's generally, but not always, better to go with the opposite sex to the current dog when adding a new dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, everyone. You've given me lots to think about.

One thing to consider, which in hindsight I wish I would have looked into, is being a foster.
Thanks - that is a good idea. I know my personality wouldn't let me give up on a dog without a titanic effort, which wouldn't be fair to my current dog. But I could deal with anything for a while if I knew it was helping to find a good home for the foster dog.

Are you planning on bringing home an adult or a puppy?...Then we brought home the third...on a wing and a prayer....real stupid when I think about it. Stupid Groomer should have known better, but I also knew this awesome dog would be PTS soon because no one wants a big black dog...Best of luck, girl. It is a wonderful thing on the rare winter nights in Florida when its cold, and I have three warm dogs snuggled on my bed..oh yeah, and DH too. That was my experience as a multi-dog owner.... do not try this at home....
Thanks for sharing your story, and for taking on a big black dog! That's one of my biggest fears if Poca ever gets loose - that no one will want her, esp. since she's shy. We would get an adult dog, probably in the 2-5 years old range. It would need to be a dog that could keep up with Poca. She's usually the ring leader at daycare and would annoy a more restful dog that didn't want to play as much or as hard as she does. RE three dog nights - I fear my DH would have to sleep on the floor if we added 2 more dogs! Poca sleeps diagonally and pushes both of us to the side of the bed. Not sure what would happen if we added 2 more pooches to the mix!

Adding Allie was stressful for the first couple of months, although there were some other circumstances involved (lots of $$ in vet bills, her being very ill and very reactive to everything). Her and Lloyd got along pretty well so that wasn't a problem, but just adjusting to having a second dog took awhile. Now though I wouldn't trade her for anything. Her and Lloyd get along great, and now we might be adding another dog . . .

I LOVE having more than 1 dog, its more than twice the work, but its awesome for me.
That's how I would hope to feel. You know how Poca is still a bit of a struggle with strangers. What a hoot it would be to have a dog without her caution! Not sure I would know how to act. I'm sure I wouldn't trust it for a few months. I'm so used to reining it in and calming things down with Poca. I'm glad things have worked out with Allie and Lloyd. I know it hasn't been easy. A third, huh? You are brave, brave!

Winnec777, I'm in the same boat as you. I have been fortunate that my dog first dog has been the most perfect dog so far. She's obedient, friendly to all dogs and humans, very calm for a terrier, doesn't bark, pad and outside trained, and will happily stay at home by herself.

I would like to add a second but I'm wondering the same thing as you. I think we'll have a better chance with a puppy from a good breeder. Even with that there are some risks because my dog is definitely not the dominate type and I hope the puppy doesn't grow up and try to dominate her. What type of dog are you thinking about?
Sounds like you have a sweetheart of a dog. I can understand why you might worry about a 2nd dog. I've seen dogs push my dog around and it ticks me off since all she wants to do is play. I'm not sure what kind of dog we would get. Most likely a mixed breed from the shelter. I'm partial to shepherds & huskies. Poca seems to gravitate towards northern breeds when given a choice, too, so that's probably what we'll end up with. I was eyeing a white shepherd not too long ago....

I'd definitely say a leap of faith is required - although my experience has been very positive so far!...With your situation (Poca LOVES the company of other dogs, you've had her a long time and know her very well), I would say to GO FOR IT! I think you would really enjoy a 2nd dog and I think Poca would as well. Her breed is extremely pack-oriented and I think you'd run into few problems if you found a compatible dog.

EDIT: I know this is cheating, but I can't help myself. Just had to add a picture to help illustrate the potential rewards of a 2nd dog. :D It's a risk, but for a well-adjusted, friendly and outgoing dog, I think it's a worthwhile one!


No fair, no fair!! Bookends! You are an evil egger-onner with no thought for my sanity or my pocketbook! Not to mention my poor DH who would definitely have to sleep on the floor with two big dogs taking up the whole bed. Sigh. Is it wrong to want another dog just so I can take gorgeous pictures like that?? I love to see your dogs together. Makes me think I can make things work with Poca and a new bud.


I have to totally agree with this. I'd never had two dogs at the same time before. But for the last 6 months, I've had Lucy & Lily.
The only thing I would add is that I wish I'd been farther along with my first dog's (Lucy) training before I got the 2nd. Lucy was 10 months old when we got Lily. I'd wish I'd waited till she was about 18 months. She regressed a little when Lily (at 3 months old) came to us.
That is a very good point. I'm still working through socialization issues with Poca and need to get further along with those before bringing another dog into the mix. She's making continuous progress, though, which is why I've started having thoughts about getting another. We're not there yet but I hope to be soon...

In my experience the biggest problem with adding a new dog to your crew is the new dog, not the one you already have.
Possibly true, although with the issues I already have with Poca, it might just be a tossup.

If you do decide to add a 2nd dog make sure it's something that you really want. Never get a dog for a dog.
I agree. If I gave in every time Poca gazed longingly at another dog, I would have 3,872 dogs at my house right now! But she gets plenty of interaction at day care and on her walks. I was actually thinking it would be good for my husband. He's the one who pushed for us to get Poca in the first place and she's bonded more to me than to him since I've done most of the training and he travelled quite a bit the first 2 years we had her. He adores Poca but I think he regrets not having a stronger bond with her.
 

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The only thing I would add is that I wish I'd been farther along with my first dog's (Lucy) training before I got the 2nd. Lucy was 10 months old when we got Lily. I'd wish I'd waited till she was about 18 months. She regressed a little when Lily (at 3 months old) came to us.

That is also something I wish we could have done, but Allie needed a home right then or she would have had to have been pts. I don't think we even had Lloyd for a year when we took Allie, but I could be wrong. It took a while to get Lloyd back to where he was before Allie came, but he got there and progressed. I think part of it too was that we were working so much on Allie's problems that my training with Lloyd slacked a bit the first few months we had Allie. I also had to figure out how to do training with more than one dog, that took me a little but I figured it out:)
 

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If we do this, I'm sure I'll be back asking how you did it!

I am going to mention a different route than has been mentioned so far.

I have added dogs into my household with existing dogs many times in my life. I never really considered if it was the right dog for the other dog. But whether the addition was the right dog for me.

I kind of go by the mindset that it is my house and I say who I want to live here.

There is a caveat to that statment. You have to assertive, confident, and committed (sometimes that word can have a double meaning. As in you may begin to ask yourself if you should be committed to a mental health facility for adding the second dog. :) )
 

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If we do this, I'm sure I'll be back asking how you did it!
It involved creating lots of time that did not exist previously, lol. Maybe I cloned myself and didn't realize? Either way I got it done, lol.

The third dog may not go as smoothly, if we do indeed get him. He is a bossy shepherd, Allie is a bossy shepherd mix, Lloyd gets along with almost everyone as long as they are nice to him. I'm not to concerned though because if I tell my dogs they gotta deal with it, they will.
 

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If you put enough time and work in it.
It will mostly work out.

I had 4 dogs living together before, the only problem was the size of the dog.
The bigger dog can hurt the little dogs while playing.
 

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I've been keeping my dog at my parent's house lately for some stability as I move. They have a female SCWT and he's a big black dog. I didn't do as much research as I should have before introducing them, but luckily they get along very well. It's nice that they are able to play with each other (it will save you about an hour of getting smacked with a wet chew toy per evening) but taking them both somewhere is a lot of work! The SCWT is highly excitable, and if my dog sees a rodent of some sort it's over. It seems like going from one dog to two is a pretty substantial increase in the amount of money/time/energy, but after two, it's just water under the bridge :) Good luck!
 

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In my experience so far, everything's gone well adding new dogs. Well, relatively well. there's always some scuffling, posturing, separating dogs at first, etc. There have only been a few months in my life where we DIDN'T have more than one dog so I've not really thought about it too much.

When we added Summer, she hated all the other dogs. I assume when I add another dog this fall it'll be the same thing. She needs her space and time to get to trust another dog.

One thing I realized yesterday was that walking multiple dogs can be a handful by yourself. I've never had two alone before and that is one thing I'm concerned about.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks everyone. If I'm reading all of your replies correctly, the bottom line is start out as you mean to go on, i.e. make the decision and commit to it and things should be fine.

JohnnyBandit - I agree that it would have to be the right dog for me --that's a given. But I would want a dog that is also right for Poca. If I got a dog that bullied her, for example, it would be no fun for her or me training that other dog to cut it the heck out. So both conditions - right for me, right for her - have to be true for me to bring another dog into the house. She has dibs in my mind!

BigBlackDogGal - gotta love your name! I'm glad to hear the two dogs get along.

Baorb - Good pt on the size issue. While I'm not sure I'm ready for two dogs that can counter surf and leap over 6 ft fences with ease, I would have to get one roughly the same size as Poca. She plays pretty hard and although I've only seen her be gentle with puppies and little dogs, I think every day exposure would just increase the odds of the little one being hurt.

melgrj7 - another bossy shepherd? Lookout Allie!

Laurelin - I've enjoyed the pictures of your crew so much that it's hard to imagine those little angels getting into a scruff. Ha! They have me fooled!
 
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