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Twice as Nice or Double Trouble?
Two Dogs in the Family


One of the most common questions I'm asked is about getting a second dog. Owners, especially those who work all day, believe a second dog will be company for the existing dog and be a lot of fun for the family.

It can work out that way. Dogs are socialable and many love playing with other dogs.

For general guidelines, it's usually not a good idea to have two females. A female and male or two males usually work better. Also, most dogs get along best with their same breed although some dogs; i.e., Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, like just about any dog breed.

If you do have two males, it's a good idea to have at least one of them neutered to minimize the dominance problems that often appear during adolescence. If they're having a problem sorting out which is top dog, neutering the less dominant one will resolve that quickly!

It's also not a good idea to get two puppies. Not only is that an amazingly greater amount of work for you, it's likely the puppies, especially if from the same litter, will bound better with each other than you.

Before you get that second dog, do answer these seven questions.

1. Is your existing dog sociable and good with other dogs? If not, he may become a recluse or act aggressively with the new dog.

2. Are you hoping to cure a behavior problem of your existing dog's? More likely the new dog will adopt the same neuroses.

3. Are you trying to minimize the time you spend with your dog? Dogs need human company and most dogs benefit from a daily walk with their owner. You'll need to spend individual quality time with each dog to get to know him as an individual.

4. Have you budgeted for two dogs? They may not be double trouble but they will be double bills. More food, grooming and vet bills can mount up rapidly.

5. Do you want to travel or take lengthy vacations? Many places that will take one dog may be reluctant to have two dogs. If you leave the dogs at a kennel, you now have double kennel fees.

6. Are you prepared to train two dogs? Each will need to be trained separately. This also gives them time apart so they get used to being alone. You don't want them to become distressed by suddenly being split up, as far instance if one of them has to be at an animal hospital.

7. Are you emotionally ready to accept the two dogs bonding more closely to each other than to you? That's not uncommon.

Many people have two, and sometimes more, dogs so it can be done but you should think carefully before you make that commitment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Louise Louis is a certified canine specialist, dog owner and all-round dog person.
Copyright 2004 by Canyon New Media, LLC.
All rights reserved.
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