After months (or years) of patience, training, and love, your first dog has become content, relaxed, and truly a member of your family. Or maybe they’re still a hot mess and a bundle of nerves and excitement. But you have that nagging itch— should I adopt another dog?
This is a question my wife and I have asked ourselves twice. We adopted 3 large dogs (Denver the husky mix, Benji the big mutt, and Chloe the pit bull) in 4 years. Here are some pros and cons to consider before making the leap.
You’re Saving A Life
This is the Biggie. Never go grocery shopping hungry and never go to a shelter just to “look.” Even the nicest, no kill shelter with furniture that mimics home life is a depressing environment for dogs. They have been bred for generations to crave human companionship.
If you have the means and maturity to handle the responsibility of adopting another dog, you’re giving them another chance at life. You shouldn’t make that commitment lightly. Going from 1 to 2 was a relatively easy choice for us but going from 2 to 3 was borderline insanity.
We met Chloe when we were volunteering at our local shelter. She had been languishing in the city pound while her owner awaited cruelty charges and when he was convicted, she moved to the shelter. She had not lived in a home for over 2 years. She was the sweetest little brown eyed angel and saying goodbye to her every time we volunteered was heartbreaking. We decided to foster her and the rest is history.
We do not take our dogs to dog parks (see why we avoid dog parks in this article). Dogs do not need to be “socialized.” They are plenty happy to play fetch with their human or chew on their toys. However, it is nice for our large dogs to play together in a way that they can’t play with their humans.
Denver wrestles with both Benji and Chloe. They all like to chase each other in crazy zoomies all over our yard. Since we have trained them to respond to verbal commands and e-collar/shock collar, we can contain the level of excitement to a level we are comfortable with.
Your Heart is Full
It is truly a fulfilling feeling loving and caring for all our dogs.
You’re Giving Up Parts of Your Life
One dog is a lot of responsibility. Adding another dog isn’t doubling it— it could be tripling it. Your new dog is going to need time to adapt to your home and your current dog will need to adjust as well. You’re going to have to deal with separation anxiety, possible illness (2 of our 3 had kennel cough that showed up after they got home), and learning to handle having 2 dogs.
How are you going to handle leashing up 2 dogs and going on walks multiple times a day? What if the weather is bad? Do you have a yard? Who will dog sit when you go on vacations?
Just because you put 2 dogs in the same house, it doesn’t automatically make them a pack. Introducing another dogs can cause your first dog to exhibit behaviors you had not previously seen. Denver has major resource guarding but we didn’t know that until Benji tried to eat out of his bowl and Denver started curling his lip and letting out a low growl. It’s going to take time for them to get acclimated with one another. Keep dogs separate for feeding, treats, and toys. Read their body language, if either one is showing signs of discomfort, remove them from the situation.
Your House is Full
We were living in a condo with three dogs. Obviously there was no outdoor space. We had to move, especially when we found out the baby was coming.
Dogs LOVE outdoor space. If you have more than one that might be a decision you need to make.
Having three dogs is worth it. We love them so much. I highly recommend you consider adding another dog to your household, but definitely make sure you’re ready!