Contributed by Angie Lewis, President of Alaska Animal Advocates
As with everything in life, there are benefits to having more than one dog in your family, but there can certainly be negative aspects as well. Adding another dog to your household requires careful thought and all family members should be on board. Think of the current make up of your family, animal and human. Will this work out for everyone?
First, let’s look at the bright side. Two dogs, who get along well, can become best of friends for life. Also, when the dogs are young, having another dog helps enhance emotional development. Having more than one dog can alleviate boredom and resulting bad behaviors. In addition, separation anxiety is often alleviated with another companion. Or, adding a puppy to a home with an older dog allows for the puppy to learn some good behavior. Dogs typically get more exercise when they have another canine friend to play with.
As good as all that sounds, there can negative aspects to having more than one dog. Not all dogs get along, so you could be inviting problems into your household. Bear in mind that you will have to deal with twice the fur, veterinary costs, and behavior concerns.
When deciding if you should get another dog, think about your financial situation, the amount of time you have available, and the space in your home. Typically, dogs of opposite gender tend to get along better than dogs of the same sex. Sometimes, critters of the same gender vie for dominance. Often though, these battles are short lived and can be easily resolved. No different than human siblings. There is some thought that littermates do not do well in the same household. Sometimes these dogs bond more with their sibling, rather than with their human. Also, some people think that dogs from the same litter fight like, well, brothers and sisters. This can be resolved by making sure that you spend an equal amount of quality time with each dog, using separate crates, and enrolling the dogs in a good training experience.
There are various strategies for successfully introducing dogs to one another with minimal conflict. More about that in the next edition!