Thursday, October 29, 2009

Owning Multiple Dogs

I believe it is better for a dog to have a companion dog than to be an only dog. Dogs are pack oriented, social animals, and it is more natural for them to have a companion. You will find it is enjoyable to handle and own multiple dogs if you do it right. I also believe your dog will be happier and more well adjusted.

The trick is selecting the proper combination of dogs. A few tips:

a. Always do opposite sex. Same sex is more likely to fight than opposite sex.
b. Don't get puppies from the same litter
c. Get dogs of the same approximate size and energy level
d. Don't get the dogs at the same time. Start with one. Socialize and train it. Once that dog is working well, then introduce the second dog. Socialize and train it, and make sure it has separate time with you every day for the first few months, otherwise the new dog is more likely to bond to the other dog than to you.
e. Don't get a second dog if the first one is not house trained. Adding a second dog will just make the situation worse. Once you get the second dog, don't assume it will "learn" from the first dog... it won't. You will have to do just as much, or more, work on the second dog to ensure it is fully house trained.
f. Hire a professional dog trainer throughout the process. Train the dogs to the point where you can get each dog to obey individually around the other dog, in public, with distractions.
g. Expect that multiple dogs will cause more commotion in your home.
h. Don't introduce a new dog into the home if your current dog isn't good with other dogs, untrained, poorly mannered, or if the new dog combination is a mismatch. Hire a professional to help you sort the issues out before you get the second dog.

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