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How To Adopt A Second Dog Without Breaking Your First Dog's Heart

How To Adopt A Second Dog Without Breaking Your First Dog's Heart

Chris Cole
30/10/2017

It's impossible to explain to your dog that you're going to bring a new dog into your home, and that they must treat them as a family member.It's also impossible to explain to them why they must share their living space, their toys, and, most of all, your attention. Use these tips to encourage your dogs warm up to one another, and help the transition go smoothly.

Set up a stress-free introduction.

Ideally, you would be able to introduce the dogs at a park, or at the rehoming centre, or the new dog's original home - somewhere that will prevent your first dog from feeling the need to be territorial.Dogs tend to feel stressed when they're introduced while on-lead because they may feel forced to be face-to-face with no way to escape. If possible, introduce the dogs in a fenced-in yard so they can have the option of getting to know one another at a distance, so they may investigate one another at their own pace.If the dogs must be on-lead for their first introduction, do so at a park and keep them walking alongside, but not too close, to one another. They should have the option of being able to sniff around and explore the environment. Do not pressure them to interact and play at the first meeting. Your goal is to let them take in one another's scents and get used to each other's presences so they know that the other is not a threat.

Set boundaries.

If your dogs are ever to be home alone, they should not be given free range of the household together until you are certain that they will be able to do so in harmony. You may also want to keep them separate for at least part of the day in the beginning to allow them to have breaks from one another.Provide each dog with a crate and train them to enjoy spending time in their own private space. You should feed long-lasting chews and treats in crates so neither dog will feel the need to display protective or aggressive behaviour over their prized treats.You may also want to feed regular meals in your dog's crates, if not in separate rooms. Feeding treats and food in crates reinforces a positive association with the crate, and eliminates the chances of feuds to develop.

Encourage supervised play.

If your dogs seem to be happily playing together, great! Many dogs chase each other, snap in each other's faces, and playfully pounce as they play. This can sometimes look like they're fighting, but you'll soon get to know their "play language." Praise your dogs when you catch them peacefully interacting.Sometimes, playtime can get too intense. Call your dogs away from one another if one seems to be doing most of the chasing, while the other is trying to get away. Also, look for pinned-flat ears, a tucked tail and raised hackles, all signs that a dog is getting stressed, not having fun.

Spend equal, quality time with each dog.

Going for walks with both dogs allows them to bond, but you should also make time to take each dog out individually. Each dog deserves your undivided attention at least some of the time. This is easier if you have family members or friends who can entertain one of your dogs while you walk the other.Dogs really do get jealous and protective of their owners. If you are sitting on the couch with one dog, your other dog is probably not going to be content to lay by himself in his bed. You'll either need to allow both dogs up on the couch, or teach them both to stay on the floor.

Keep your dogs safe from fights.

Fights do happen between doggy housemates, and they can lead to severe, even fatal injuries. Break up scuffles with a loud noise or a blanket tossed over both dogs. Be careful if you must physically intervene, as fighting dogs tend to inadvertently redirect aggression onto people. Then, seriously consider how you can prevent what triggered the fight from happening again.Not all dogs are compatible to live with one another. It can be dangerous to try to keep two dogs together if they cannot learn to get along. For their safety, you might have to rehome one of the dogs to live in a single-dog household. Take this into consideration before you adopt the second dog; how would you possibly make this difficult decision?

Don't worry about how or when your dogs bond.

Some dogs become incredibly close, and will insist upon snuggling in the same bed. Some dogs will barely acknowledge the other, but live together peacefully. It's perfectly fine if your dogs do not become best friends with one another, as long as they feel safe and loved in your home.How To Adopt A Second Dog Without Breaking Your First Dog's Heart