When to get another dog

A friend has a four-year-old dog who is the source of much joy. When we talked to her this week, she said she’s thinking it may be a good time to get another dog. She’s never had two dogs before. But she wants to expand the love and happiness in her household. We think it’s a great idea.

In lots of ways, two dogs is easier than one, especially if the older dog is an adult who’s familiar with the house rules. Puppies tend to mimic the behavior of older dogs, so potty training is easier. So is teaching the rules like getting on furniture, what’s okay to chew on, etc. 

Considering another dog

But there are some concerns, as well. If the dog isn’t particularly dog-social, they may take a while to warm up to a newcomer. If they have resource-guarding tendencies, they may have issues with a young whipper-snapper coming into their space, sharing their toys and their people.

Our friend’s dog is a female, so we did suggest her second dog should be a boy. In most cases, two dogs of the same sex have more issues with each other than opposite-sex pairs. Generally speaking, girls tend to be bossier, and boys don’t dispute their reign. 

One thing you don’t have to worry about is having enough love to go around. While one dog never takes the place of a new dog, hearts expand to find an exclusive spot for everyone. There’s no limit on love.

Reasons why

If you’re thinking about a dog for companionship, fun, exercise, joy, and bringing unconditional love into your life, those are all fantastic reasons. 

On the “con” side of the list, there are financial, space, and time considerations. While adding a second dog to the household may not actually double the expenses involved, the pet budget does increase. Can you afford another dog? Food, veterinary costs (even if you have pet insurance), grooming, outfitting, even treats – the expenses can add up.

Photo of four dogs to illustrate When to get another dog

Do you have enough room in your house for another dog? Small dogs don’t take up much space, but they do need some room. Is there a good place for your two (or more) dogs to play? Our house has a circular layout and the dogs have made it a racetrack. We think it’s fun, but it may not work for other people. These four hooligans make sure we smile every single day (Simon, Tango, Booker, and Torque).

And do you have the time to devote to caring for another dog? It’s not just feeding and walking, which doesn’t really take more time for two than for one. It’s also more grooming time, training time, and the time each dog should get individually with you.

The more the merrier

We’re never going to tell someone else how many dogs is the “right” number. Only you and your family know if it’s the right move and the right time for you. But we can say that adding another dog isn’t twice as good – it’s exponentially better.  

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2 thoughts on “When to get another dog

  1. Lignans

    It’s thoughtful that you mention potential concerns too. The social dynamics between the current dog and the new one are definitely something to consider. I’ve been fortunate that my dogs have generally gotten along well, but I know introducing a new dog can sometimes take time and patience, especially if there’s any resource-guarding behavior involved.


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