How to Introduce a Second Dog
Getting a Second Dog: Your Current Dog’s Role
Getting a second dog. You’ve made the decision, you’re getting a second dog, but you’re not sure how to do it. You’ve already got a dog, and a senior dog at that. How do you introduce your new dog to the house without upsetting your senior dog? How to you ensure your senior dog and your new dog will get along? Keep the following five tips in mind to help you, your senior dog, and your new second dog, make a smooth transition.
1. Why Are You Getting A Second Dog?
Consider why you are adding a dog to your family. Is it because a roommate is getting a dog? Perhaps a friend is moving and you are taking his dog? Maybe one of your dogs just passed? Maybe you think that adding a younger dog to the house will help your senior dog be more active? Perhaps your senior dog is lonely? Maybe you are lonely?
Whatever the case, it is important to remember the initial motivations in adding a second dog. You need to remember that your senior dog comes first, so to say. If you want another dog because your senior dog can no longer run with you, that doesn’t mean that your senior dog is no longer important or special. It is common for senior dogs to get pushed aside, forgotten, and abandoned just because they are no longer young. Getting a second dog to replace a senior dog that is currently alive and living with you is unacceptable.
Maybe though, you think your senior dog would benefit from the company of another dog. In many cases senior dogs are rejuvenated by the presence of a younger more active dog. Such a reason is a great reason to get another second dog.
Whatever your motivations, it is important to remember that you adopted your senior dog at some point, and you did not adopt him with the clause that once he became old you would no longer take care of him. Your senior dog cannot be pushed aside just because he is old. You wouldn’t want your children doing that to you, don’t do it to your dog.
2. Size of Second Dog
Once you determine your motivations for getting another dog, consider what you want your new dog to be able to do. If you want a dog that will encourage your senior dachshund to get up and move, getting a Bernese mountain dog might not be the best way to do that. Size is an important factor. Big dogs can intimidate small dogs, and big dogs can be too rough with small dogs. Not only that, but when young dog’s play they can crash into senior dogs, and injure them. The size of your new dog isn’t necessarily a make or break factor, but it is important to keep in mind, especially if you want the younger do to play with your senior dog
More important than size, your second dog’s demeanor should be carefully considered. Your senior dog should, and rightfully so, be the alpha dog in your dog pack. Getting a new young second dog who is head strong and wants to be alpha won’t go over well. The young dog could challenge your senior dog, and could then injure him. Your senior dog might also back down, but become depressed, feeling like you were replacing him. Neither outcome is good, so choosing a dog who doesn’t mind being second in command is a good idea.
Choosing a gentle dog is a good idea as well. As dog’s age they become prone to a medley of health issues, including arthritis and brittle bones. Choosing a young dog who has no idea of her strength could be a huge problem. As mentioned, when dogs play, they often have no idea of their strength. It is very common for older dogs to get knocked down or hurt when attempting to play with older dogs. Choosing a dog who understands how to be gentle can keep your senior dog healthier for longer.
4. The Introduction of Second Dog
After you have made your choice, introducing the dogs is an important step. Keeping both dogs on a leash, and allowing them to sniff each other while still in your control is a safe way to introduce them. It may also help to actually have hands on each of the dogs. The introduction can be stressful for both dogs, and having the physical comfort of your touch can help them feel safe. If you are unable to do this by yourself consider having a friend or family member hold your new dog. You holding your senior dog will help your senior dog understand that you are not abandoning him for the second dog.
5. Let Your Senior Dog Know He is Top Dog
Actions go a long way and even choosing to sit with your senior dog rather than your new dog can help your senior dog understand that you are not replacing him. This isn’t to say that you should not give your new dog treats or pet her, but things like feeding your senior dog first, or letting her out to use the bathroom first help reinforce that he is alpha dog.