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March 5, 2013

When Is The Best Time To Get A Second Pet?

Before anyone gets any ideas, I am NOT considering a second pet – well, not yet at least! Besides, Eko barely leaves enough room for me on the couch as it is.   If I got second dog I would have to sit on the floor
Before anyone gets any ideas, I am NOT considering a second pet – well, not yet at least!

pet adventure, rhodesian ridgeback, dog blog

Besides, Eko barely leaves enough room for me on the couch as it is.   If I got second dog I would have to sit on the floor all day

Eventually I would like to get a second dog.  I grew up with two dogs and it was great that they had each other when we weren’t home or when they needed someone to commiserate with about not getting enough treats.  Eko was also lucky enough to grow up with a friend to teach him the ropes.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, pet adventure

Scout, my mom’s dog, showing Eko how to relax after a good romp

Thanks to Scout, Eko quickly learned things – like how to sit politely for a treat, or what door to go to when he wanted to go outside – that otherwise would have taken longer to teach.  A well-behaved adult dog is definitely your best friend in training a young pup.  Eko also channeled his energy into playtime with Scout rather than into  my shoes. Most of the time.

Eko’s presence also reinvigorated Scout.  She became very playful, lost a few pounds from trying to keep up with the pup and overall was the happiest I had seen her in years.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, pet adventure

However, Scout was not happy when Eko grew bigger than her and she could no longer easily steal treats from him!

I know Eko would love to have a little sister as a partner in crime and hopefully someday not too far off I will be ready to bring another pup home.  Until that time there’s no harm in day dreaming, so I want to ask for thoughts/advice from those of you who have (or had) more than one pet at the same time.  Any recommendations about spacing between pets, dealing with issues of jealousy, or about issues I haven’t considered would be much appreciated.  Thanks!

Comments for When Is The Best Time To Get A Second Pet?

  1. I have never had 2 dogs and now i have a cat and a dog. My cat and dog are virtually the same age. I adopted my cat in July of 2007 and our dog came the same year, in October. They are the best of friends.
    In your case, I have to be honest…I am wondering if because Eko gets an inordinate amount of attention from you if maybe there would be some jealousy?
    Those that DO have two dogs are probably better qualified to answer that than I am. That is just my opinion.

  2. I LOVE the top photo of Eko! I feel all relaxed just looking at it…but, eventually I have to go out and shovel! I have almost always had two cats. I know your blog is about dogs, so I will keep it short. One of my cats passed away very suddenly a couple years ago. The remaining cat was OK for awhile, but then seemed to be quite bored. There’s always a bit of drama involved with introducing a new cat to the old one. They get along great now and sometimes wrestle together. They’re both rescued from the animal shelter and I will never just have one cat again : )

  3. emma says:

    Mom wants a little sis for me but she thinks 3 dogs would be too much so I have to wait. We think 2-3 years apart is a good age spread as the older dog is mature but still has some puppy and can both teach and play with the new addition. Once a dog is older the puppy can really become a nuisance sort of like locking up a gramma with a 3 year old permanently. It works but it can be hard on the older dog. Since I am already six my sister will be a lot younger than me but I really like puppies and that makes a difference too, my older sis doesn’t care for puppies at all anymore.

  4. Steven/Buddy says:

    I miss having two dogs!
    Before when I adopted Brandy she was about two, I waited about a year the went and got Charlie (was 9 weeks old). Brandy took Charlie in as her own puppy and loved him. It was nice to see Brandy teach Charlie things and she trained him more then I did. When Brandy passed away at home Charlie was by her side. They were best of friends!
    Now since Charlie passed away and I adopted Buddy, I will wait about a year to adopt another dog. I want to make sure Buddy is trained better and feels right at home before I bring a friend in for him to bond with.
    I think having two dogs are great and better for each other, for they always have someone to play with and nap with.
    My bed was always full with two dogs, leaving me about a foot of space and I miss that. LOL

  5. Catchatcaren has a good point about the special relationship you have with Eko 😉 We can certainly say that two puppies at the same time is not the best approach – they’re great company for each other but training them at the same time is a headache. Whenever you do decide the time is right, Eko will be a great companion and no doubt a superb educator!

  6. Grace Chwalisz says:

    Hi,we have two dogs a 20 month old Ridgeback Clio and almost 2 years old Bullmastiff Maximus.Two years ago we lost suddenly our Bullmastiff Samson and at home stayed a 15 years old Airedale Scotch (now he is gone,the funniest pet ever). When we brought Clio home Scotch accepted her but was too old to play withe her,but when she was crying he always came to help. After 5 weeks we adopted Max. It was a crazy idea,but they sleep on the couch or before our fireplace together. They are the friends when they want to show me it’s a time for a lunch or I forgot the treats,or when they are chasing the squirrels. You’ve to pet both at the same time.Clio is more jealousy one when I pet Max,not so with my husband. Outside they can play rough,sometimes I think they will eat each other,but not they are whole. It so nice to watch them running together. I think it’s better to have two dogs same age or close in age. I did have before two dogs with an age difference of 6 years and they never played well,and the two where the difference was 10 and that was so so.That of course depend on dog’s character too.
    When you decide to bring home a new dog you have to take Eco with you and he will tell you what he will accept.

  7. As you know I have Boomer and Dottie and they are great together. He’s two years older than her and pretty laid back while she’s a bit more high strung. It was great to have that age difference because by the time she came along he was well enough trained that he could help her learn the ropes. They do have moments where they get jealous of one another so we always try to do everything equally, if one gets a treat so does the other, if one gets pet so does the other and so on.

    I’m sure Eko would love to have a pal to hang around with, but he seems pretty content with just the two of you also!

  8. tig23 says:

    Eko is so sweet! I love the picture with his tongue sticking out.

    I currently have two dogs: Penny (a cocker spaniel that just turned 1) and Sadie (a beagle that just turned 5) I got both of them when they were puppies, so I’ve had Sadie a lot longer. Having two dogs is a blast. You’ll realize how much you’ve missed having a puppy when you get one (although you have a lot of headaches to deal with like potty training and puppy chew marks on everything!) avoid jealousy by giving them both love at the same time whenever possible (if you pet one, pet the other, etc.). Also, to avoid aggressive food behaviors, feed them separately (not in different rooms or anything, maybe on different sides of the room).

    Some other things that I would suggest: Don’t rush into it! Whenever the time does happen, you need to make sure Eko is comfortable too. Give him more love than the puppy at first (that may sound harsh, but he was there first! 😉 ) or pet Eko before petting the puppy, etc. I would also suggest getting a dog the same size as the one that you already have to avoid issues over size (bigger dogs are more powerful and can easily overpower smaller ones), however, puppies are easier to adjust to Eko and his behaviors so you would just have to research or use general knowledge over the dog that you’re thinking about adopting. Obviously every situation is different, and every dog is different too! You’re best qualified to read Eko, so different things may work for him than have worked for my two! 🙂

    Hope this helps!

  9. Judy says:

    I have always had 2-3 dogs as I think that dogs are pack animals and feel better when they have other dogs around them. It works well if you are a good pack leader and don’t allow one to bully the other. If that behavior is stopped right away, they will adjust and be a balanced pack.

  10. onebluedog says:

    If you ask my mom, the best time to get another pup was yesterday. My dad would say in 3 years, or 4 years, or maybe in never years?

    One thing you might think about is fostering some pups to see how having two would work out. This way you can help out some pups in need and maybe even find the perfect match for Eko in the process 🙂

  11. I say now and later! lol Not sure why we thought we needed four. But they keep me young and we have an acre of property so we have the room. But when I saw Pixie on the internet and realized that she was at a high kill shelter we could not get there quick enough. Now I am not allowed to look at Adopt-a-pet. Since I have found all of my dogs there in the last ten years I have to agree!

  12. Zena says:

    When Zac went we were not looking to get another dog. I did not want to replace him. But Zena is useless as an only. Zac was two years when we brought Zena in and he was so sweet and loving to her from the start. Zena is six and accepted Raffles with the same sweetness – although to be honest he is too big for her to really play with properly, for her sake we should have got a dog more equal in size. I love seeing them both just ‘be’ together and I have had no issues with jealousy with any of them. They even allow my parents tiny dog to join us without any problems.

  13. Jorie says:

    I also grew up with two dogs — and I definitely agree it’s the way to go. Unfortunately, for unmarried apartment dwellers, it’s a bit much. I am trying to work up the nerve to getting ONE of my own, let alone two! My parents, on the other hand, have always gotten their second dog within a year of getting the first. It helps the two to grow up together, I think, and they get along relatively well because they’re introduced to each other as youngin’s. I fantasize about two dog ownership someday!

  14. I often recommend to potential adopters that, before adopting a second dog, they make sure their current dog(s) have basic training down to a science. Not only will they end up being a useful tool in teaching a new dog or puppy the rules of the house, but they’re also far less likely to revert back to negative behavior themselves. Also, evaluate your lifestyle. Can you afford a second dog? Does your home have enough space to accommodate another dog? Do you have enough time to devote to training the new arrival? Is your current dog tolerant of other animals in their territory? Once they decide they’re ready, I highly recommend meeting with a trusted trainer who can evaluate their current dog(s) and make recommendations on the personality traits to look for in the newcomer. For example, if your current dog has the tendency to be dominant you’ll likely do best bringing a submissive dog into the home. If your current dog is fearful, bringing a calm, outgoing, and well balanced dog into the home will help to bring a positive balance to the house. A trainer will also give invaluable tips on introducing the new dog to the family.

  15. writetowag says:

    Eko and Scout playing tug o war with that treat is priceless!!!! Awesome pic…We wish to foster or bring another furry buddy into our fold as well, but Trev just wouldn’t tolerate it. We tried years ago by adopting another Cairn, but Trev wouldn’t eat or come out from under the table. It was downright pitiful…The amazing blessing though, someone also had their eye on that same Cairn angel, she was placed in a brand new loving home the next day. Everyone won!!!! So we fostered for 4 days…Better than none!!!! We send best wishes to you whenever you feel the time is right…Eko will be a great big brother!!!!

  16. It’s true, two pets do keep each other company. I did at one time have two dogs, they seemed to get into a lot more mischief than when we had one. But I’m glad we have two cats, they exercise each other running around and sleep together. So that’s good. I didn’t know anything about training dogs at the time, I think I’d do better now and really, you’re a rock star for dog owners so no problemo.

  17. I would love love love a brother or sister (so would daddy) but mummy says I have to wait till I’m fully grown, and even then she’s not sure she could cope with another dog, though I think she means she couldn’t love another dog as much as me, right?

  18. dailyspro says:

    Our parents always had two dogs growing up. My mom’s rule of thumb was that she always waited for the first dog to grow out of that annoying teenage phase, where they forget all basic training for a few months. Once the dog was around 2.5-3, we’d start looking. This way, the first dog is properly trained, but still able to play like a puppy. The first dog can lead as a fantastic role model.

    Jealously is one of those things that might happen. However, I can’t see you ever ignoring Eko completely. Because he’s properly socialized, I think he’d be fine.

  19. Sometimes I would like to have a brother or sister, but honestly: I’m a only dog and I’m not good in sharing ;o) My staff had two dogs before me – but they say, one is enought… and I? I agree… but I wish I had a pal for playing and walking ;o)

  20. Dawn says:

    What a tough question. I had only Sephi for 6 years before I decided to get a second dog. Sephi did not care for Maya much. They got along well enough, though. After Sephi passed away and it was just Maya, I really wanted another dog. I only waited two months before I got Pierson. In both cases, I dont regret getting the second dog. Whether you wait a couple months or a few years, Im sure you will make a good choice that is right for you.

  21. Sheree says:

    My husband and I have two dogs and we love it! They’re sisters from the same litter and they grew up together. It’s so cute how their different personalities come out and they complement each other very well. They’re now 7 years old and since we foster rescue dogs once in awhile, we have found that it helps to get the fosters trained much faster, until we can find them a forever home. I couldn’t imagine ever splitting my two babies up, they so everything together including going to the vet even if only one needs to go 🙂

  22. Victoria Coleman says:

    We got our second dog when our first dog was 9 months old and already potty trained – he was a bit jealous at first but seemed to get over it for the most part – We now have a 2 year old and a one and a half year old (muffin we got when she was 2 1/2 months old) – they are the best of friends and play all the time, mostly because Muffin (the youngest) constantly wants to play. Rigby is a good big brother and if she starts doing something (like eatiing a shoe, rug ect) Rigby tells on her (if he is doing it she doesn’t tell on him though). The only thing Rigby won’t share is the bed – he sleeps on it and she sleeps in her crate – if she wants to annoy or play with him she hops on the bed. Having two dogs is great.

  23. Robin says:

    I have always had more then one pet. My big boy pouted for a week then decided to come down stairs even with pup (Max 114#) he decided to give in play lay down with puppy

  24. We can’t really help you out since all of our dogs have always found us. We have had as many as 4 in the house along with cats and they all seemed to have no problem finding their place in the family as each one found us in one way or another. Our largest dog was a boxer and the smallest a chihuahua. Wishing you all the best in getting the perfect dog for you and Eko. Hugs and nose kisses

  25. Chopper's mom says:

    Two is better than one. We adopted Chopper when our Springer Jake was 13 and Chopper was 4. Jake had terrible arthritis but would forget all about it when a friend was arround.So why not a 24hr friend.
    I think choosing the second dog requires being honest about the first. Jake could be grumbly and possesive. Chopper was not phased by this, he just left him be. We also respected dog age order. Jake got everything first because he was the oldest fed, treats, leash, into the car. We had no problems between them. We made sure they each had their own beds, dishes, kennels, toys etc. that helps avoid conflict too.
    We have always adopted adult dogs to avoid the destructive puppy stage. Jake came to us at 6 when one of our Springers Brandy died. Brandy and Beau were litter mates so when Brandy died a 2nd was a must.
    I think a rescue that lets you foster is a great way to test out a second dog without commitment. Win-win!

  26. Hey, Will and Eko! I’ve been pursuing the same second dog idea for a few months now and sorting through everything is so tough that I haven’t had time to laugh at your weekly antics 🙂 I’m glad you still find the time to post!

    From what I’ve discovered (and what you already know), opposite sex new pups are the best for household harmony. Then introduce outside the home is important and once inside the home, set up baby/dog gates for a week so the two dogs are separated but can smell one another (with inside play time) and then going outside (neutral) to play. Feeding times/spaces should be separate, as well as toys. And Eko should get lots of attention.

    I’ve been looking at rescue dogs and the second time around, I know some things I didn’t when adopting Optimus Prime. In Dallas, shelters neuter/spay puppies as soon as possible, and if this is done too early, it can negatively affect the dog. Optimus was neutered at 3 months and as a result has growth plate issues that cause him pain. Now I know this, I will only choose a puppy neutered/spayed at 8 months (at the earliest).

    Some shelters don’t offer a week or two week trial period, so I cross those off my list.

    I recently checked the American Kennel Club breeder’s classified and found some great choices there.

    What you said about never being 100% about a second dog is really true. I haven’t pulled the trigger just yet. But Optimus has been to several shelters and met lots of puppies and dogs. It’s interesting to watch his reactions. I’m leaving it to him to make the final choice.

    Good luck and keep us posted 🙂

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