Kimberly Gathier has written a great post for CB readers about adding another dog to your family. I have personally had issues with adding dogs to my family, so reading this article was very helpful for me.
4 Things to Know About Adding Another Dog to Your Family
We came home with two puppies, prepared (or so we thought) for the challenges of raising littermates. It definitely was a challenge, but thanks to a lot of reading, support from dog lovers, and an amazing dog trainer, we have loads of happy memories and our littermates make us laugh every day.
We didn’t originally plan to add another dog to the family – oops, that’s a lie – I did, but my boyfriend wasn’t clued in. He came up with the idea of fostering, which was the perfect opening for me to show him that we had the time and room for a third dog and “shouldn’t we do all we can to help the homeless population?” I say with a sweet smile and batting my eyelashes. I probably looked like I was having a fit, but the result was the same.
Today, we have Blue aka Blueberry. We’re a herding dog family, meaning that our dogs are a mixture of Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog, and Australian Shepherd. A whole lot of intelligence and energy is happening in our living room. Adding a third dog was a breeze for us, but it doesn’t always go so smoothly.
If you’re looking at your dog and wondering if you should add another, then think about these 4 things before heading to the adoption fair…
1. Personalities – I was a little concerned, because we had to stop going to the dog park when Rodrigo started mounting other dogs; it was like he needed to make the rounds to let everyone know that he was in charge – not all of the dogs liked this. The dog owners weren’t fans either. But when we’re on our own turf, Rodrigo and Sydney welcome new friends and do well on play dates.
How does your dog interact with other dogs? Before bringing your dog home, consider scheduling one or two play dates to make sure that it’s a good fit. You can also ask the rescue group if they’d be open to you fostering your potential new dog for a weekend. This is a great way to see how the dog fits in with your family and how the dogs will get along.
2. Time – We are now outnumbered by our dogs and the dogs prefer to be in the room with me most of the time. This makes it hard when they all want attention at the same time. I have to watch for resource guarding (where I’m the resource) and make time for each of them. I always make our dogs wait patiently while I’m giving love to the third.
Adding a third dog also required more time training as our littermates redeveloped bad habits (jumping, barking in the house) and our new puppy needed to learn new habits. Every day presents an opportunity for training. Three happy, excited dogs can be difficult to control, but it’s not impossible with confidence, consistency, and give them praise when they do well.
We now have to schedule in walks – with three exuberant dogs, exercise is a must if we want to maintain our sanity.
3. Money – I didn’t think a third dog would cost much more money than two, but I wasn’t considering the veterinarian costs. With our third dog came pet insurance, we use Trupanion. Although the pet insurance doesn’t cover the wellness costs (vaccinations, check-ups, etc), it does cover unforeseen illnesses and accidents.
Nearly a year after bringing Blue home, we switched our dogs to a raw food diet. Raw dog food is rumored to be cheaper than kibble, that hasn’t been our experience, because we feed premade raw, but it’s worth every penny. I promise. All the raves about feeding raw are true. And feeding raw to three big dogs isn’t cheap. Where we save money is in the trips to the vet.
And then there are the toys and supplies; we’ve finally found tough toys that our dogs can’t destroy.
4. One more is never enough – this is the only down side to living in a multi dog home; there are so many dogs who need a home and when I look at our happy three dogs, I want to give another dog a chance, but I have to weigh the welfare of our dogs against the good of adopting a fourth dog. It’s important to consider what I’ve already shared, but to also ask myself if I’m willing to sacrifice a little of our dogs happiness and health by adding another dog.
That may sound mellow dramatic – come on, dogs will adapt, right? Sure. But a fourth dog means that I would have to cancel our pet insurance and we would go back to feeding kibble. I don’t want to make those changes so, for now, I chose to donate to rescue instead of adopting a fourth dog.
If you have more than one dog, I would love to hear about how you decided that it was the right choice for you?
About the Author: Kimberly Gauthier is the blogger behind Keep The Tail Wagging and Raw Food Reviews. Kimberly is also the author of the eBook, Standing Out in a Popular Blogging Niche. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her boyfriend, three dogs, and two cats and is nuts about blogging.
Have a Beautiful Day!