We recently welcomed little Nacho into our lives but before we made our decision to get a second dog we thought long and hard about the impact that having 2 dogs would have on our lives. More importantly, we considered how it would affect Archie.
Archie is now 11 and has always been fantastic with other dogs (even puppies) thanks to our commitment early on to make him well socialised. He is also used to having other dogs at home as we look after dogs while their humans are away. However, he has never had a young pup to contend with.
We wanted Nacho to be able to learn from Archie and for him to hopefully pick up some of his characteristics (yes even some of the naughty ones) but we did realise that Nacho would have his own character and would never be identical to Archie.
If you decide to get a second (or third, fourth...) dog then just throwing them together and hoping for the best could result in a very unhappy household so here are some things to consider before you decide and to help your transition into a multiple dog household.
I Need Some Space!
This photo is cute and went down a storm on Instagram but Nacho was sleepy and quiet when we put him in Archie's bed, the only time he will let this happen at the moment!
Your older dog will have established his space in your home; his bed, the sofa, maybe even your bed, and will not take kindly to that space being invaded by the young pretender.
Avoid conflict and even potential depression to your older dog by giving them their own space in the first few months. We are using a crate for Nacho and he already knows that when he's in there it means it's nap time. Some dogs will adopt the crate as their space for life and you can make them more homely (and nicer in your home) with a Crate Set from DogCo.
Let your older dog decide when he's happy to share his space but don't try and force it.
A frenzy is exactly what you DON'T want when it comes to mealtimes as this is one of the most likely times fights can break out.
Keep mealtimes calm by feeding your dogs separately until you can be sure they can eat happily together. If one or both of your dogs is a fast eater, get them a feeder like Lickimat® to help slow them down as they will probably try and finish before the pup.
The same goes for treats. You will be using treats for training the pup but they can also be used to reward the older dog for being tolerant. If there are 2 humans in your house, split this time between you, if you are on your own then give the older dog a long lasting treat or puzzle like K9 Connectables (see Archie's Offers for discount code) to keep him occupied whilst you are training the pup.
Image courtesy of @little_lu_pug
Play with me!
Pups are super playful and toys are great for keeping them occupied and developing their natural instincts like chasing and pouncing. If your older dog is still enjoying toys then he may become protective of his, so ensure that they each have their own and separate them at playtime if necessary to avoid conflict.
If, like Archie, your older dog isn't too playful now, give him some space to relax while pup plays. While Nacho has his crazy playtime, we let Archie on the sofa so he can just watch from a safe spot!
Time for Walkies
Walking together is an excellent time for your dogs to bond and is one of the times when having another dog really helps because the pup will not want to wander far from their idol!
We suggest you get your pup out on walkies even before they are allowed to walk on the ground by using a carry bag or sling or maybe a stroller for larger dogs. The earlier they get out in the world the better as it allows them to get used to the sights and sounds of your local area. It also means that your older dog doesn't miss out on his usual walking routine.
Once your pup is fully vaccinated and allowed out walking you will still have potential difficulties in terms of how long and how far each dogs needs to walk each day. We are still using the sling for Nacho on walks as he doesn't need to walk as long as Archie. In a couple of years, when Archie will be 13, we will find it is potentially the other way round.
This is one of the key things to think about if you are considering getting a very different dog as your second one. If you currently live alone with an elderly Pug and are thinking of getting a Labrador, think carefully about how you will manage their very exercise different requirements!
If you plan carefully and put some house rules in place, there is no reason why you can't have all your four legged friends living together in peaceful harmony and having fun together whilst you enjoy multiple love and affection. Just like our friends the Cavdashians!