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November 18, 2021

How to Successfully Add Another Dog to Your Family

  • Adoption
  • Dog
  • Tips
Two Border Collie dogs on the beach with tongues out

For many dog lovers, one dog may never be enough. So, after months of consideration and planning, you've decided to get a new dog. Before you bring another dog to your home, you need to consider your dog's personality. This includes their playmate preferences, socialization level, and energy.

There are no specific rules on good dog matches. All dogs, even those of the same breed, act as individuals. It's not necessarily true that female dogs match with male dogs, or two puppies can do great together. So, after months of consideration and planning, you've decided to get a new dog.

Make Sure Your Dog Is Ready for a Playmate

Before adding another dog, you need to work on the behavioral issues of your current dog first.

Identify any underlying problems and address them, including:

  • Excessive barking
  • Separation anxiety
  • Leash reactivity to humans or dogs

Your new dog may emulate your current dog's behavior. If your current dog gets food off the table, your new dog will quickly adopt this behavior.

You need to train your dog to be the role model you want for the other dog to learn their good behavior. Keep in mind that your new dog may need more attention than your current dog.

It's vital to foster a positive relationship between your family and the two dogs. You'll spend a lot of time ensuring that no skirmishes break out over food or toys during the first months. Careful management and supervision are essential when introducing a second dog.

Choose the Right Dog

One of the most important tips for pet owners is choosing a second dog compatible with the current dog. Most dogs like dogs with the same energy level.

If your dog is older, then bringing in a young puppy or a high-energy breed could be annoying to your existing dog. Instead, you need to identify a dog that matches the energy of your current dog.

Consider age when making your selection. If you have a one-year-old puppy that's fearful, you need to look for a confident dog. It will help your current one to be more assertive.
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Gender is also an important consideration. Find out if your dog likes playing with females or males. If you know their preference, you should adopt that gender.

Generally, it's easier for a male dog to bond well with a female. But with proper leadership, males can coexist with males and females with females.

Also, consider size differences when choosing a new dog. If you have a Chihuahua, then a large dog might not be an appropriate choice. The large dog can cause serious damage to a small dog or puppy during play.

The Introduction

After you have identified a new dog, you need to do the introduction. Organize a playdate outside (a neutral area) such as the park. Each of the dogs should have a handler.

Two Border Collie dogs sitting on beach beside GO! SOLUTIONS Tetra Pak

Make sure they have leashes and take your time to study their body language. If they are happy to see one another, let go slowly of the calmer dog first as it approaches the other one.

Or, you can take both dogs for a walk. Both handlers should walk side by side but leave enough space for the dogs to interact. Wait until the excitement comes down before letting the dogs get close to one another.

Be patient because this process may take upward of 10 minutes or more. If you notice that one dog growls or shows teeth, firmly say no to regain the attention of the misbehaving dog. Separate them and repeat the process.

After both dogs get comfortable with each other, you can take them into your house. Monitor their interactions during the first 24 hours.

Give them the best pet food and set time aside to watch every interaction they have. It's your responsibility to stop any unwanted behavior before it becomes a fight.

Managing the New Dog in Your Home

Identify the best dog food recipes, pet toys, beds, food bowls before bringing the new dog into your home. Buy all these items for your new dog to avoid tiffs over possessions. But you can also share your resident dog toys with the new dog and get new toys of his own in a few weeks.

Walk the new dog on a leash around your home and show him where he will eat and sleep. Ensure your other pets are in a separate area. You can close off rooms and use baby gates to establish boundaries, as all the pets get used to the new situation.

Make sure you keep the eating and sleeping area separate. It helps to ensure that the resident dog does not feel that their territory is being threatened. Confine them in different spaces anytime you are away.

With time, the dogs will become good playmates. But supervise them for a few months, because over-excitement can lead to injury of one of both dogs.
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Take Your Dogs for Daily Walks

Daily walks are vital to strengthen and build the bond between your dogs. They are pack animals, and one will be the alpha and the rest subordinates. Walking your dogs will help create a traveling experience.

Make sure you walk at the front as your dogs follow behind you or by your side. You need to train them to do this. Make sure they have a head holder that gives you control over where to turn.

When your dog goes past your knees, pull the leash towards you and use the word ''back''. They will take this as a correction.

Your dog will treat you as the alpha through your daily walks and look towards you for guidance. After a month of careful supervision, they will feel safe around each other.

Choose a New Dog That Will Be a Great Addition to Your Family

Use the above information to add another new dog to your family successfully. The choice you make is dependent on your dog's personality and your preference. With plenty of options, you can be sure to find one that will fit in well in your home.


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Go! Solutions Team

A Team of Dedicated Pet Parents + Nutrition Experts

We all want our cats and dogs to lead happy, healthy lives. We’re here to help you, with easy-to-understand information about your pet's daily care and feeding.