I've put in some serious work between my Instagram, Facebook, and my old blog trying to help people make solid decisions when contemplating getting a second dog.
Most of the time I'm talking them out of it.
Read the other article that addresses THAT question HERE.
I'm writing this for those who are bringing that second dog home and nothing is going to change their mind.
With the decision already made the next course of action is to make sure that process goes as well as can be hoped for. At this point as a teacher, I have to recognize when and where to focus my educational efforts.
First Things First
If a smooth homecoming and integration for the new dog is what you want, then focusing immediately on your FIRST dog is what you need to do ASAP.
The relationship you have with the first dog is going to play a huge role in how that dog deals with the massive disruption to daily life that the addition of a second dog brings. Those who find themselves referring to their dog as "spoiled" or "moody" are going to have a tough time and need to pay even more attention to this first step.
Relationships are where most dog owners go wrong anyway.
Spoiling your dog does just that, spoils them. That's not something to desire or aspire to.
You can't treat your dog one day like they can do no wrong, have no rules, and you exist to serve them, then the next day expect them to do what you want when you want and be totally accepting of another dog.
You may WISH that was how dogs work, but guess what.....its not.
When you give your dog everything it wants, when it wants, and never enforce any rules let alone create any, you are essentially giving your dog the keys to the house. Now when you want to bring in a new dog, guess what, all you can do is cross your fingers and hope your old dog accepts the new dog. You have given the power of such decisions and actions to the dog a long time ago, now you're at the dog's mercy.
That's not a safe nor desirable place to be for you or the dog.
Your new dog will be treated in a way that the incumbent sees fit. For many people, this will not go well as they are completely in denial of a dog's true nature. Dog's are very tribal and many are not fond of strangers, let alone strangers in their homes. When they feel like they are in charge, because the humans in the dog's life have been weak and permissive, this can lead to a rough start for the new dog.
The old dog might not even accept the new dog at all. What can you do?
Remember, you were never the one making decisions in the first place. You were "spoiling" your dog so strangers on social media would think you are a loving dog owner.
If you do not have complete control over your current dog's behavior, you need to step it up...
Until you can control the dog's behavior by itself, you will have no chance of being the teacher and the leader that dog needs to help him navigate the process of a new dog coming into the house.
Not having control over your current dog simply means instead of having one dog you can't control, you're now going to have two.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
However, you're here, reading this, and now with your open-minded perspective of doing what's best for the dogs above all else, perhaps that disaster can be avoided.
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU"RE MISSING
It's YOUR house, not the dog's. That goes for the incumbent AND the newcomer.
While I started this article talking about how important it is to have the other dog in check, don't think that relieves you from the responsibility of doing the same for the new one. With both dogs having a routine and structure they follow, one set by you, there will be a sense of calm that perhaps you might not be used to.
When people tell me they have hyper and crazy dogs I find out most of the time they don't. Once I grab the leash, and introduce myself to the dog, suddenly they aren't hyper anymore. Why is that?
I can assure you it isn't magic.
I simply don't have any flexibility when it comes to establishing my values and rules on those I am responsible for. The moment I have a dog's leash in my hand, that animal is my responsibility, like it or not. I am the one who must ensure the safety and well being of that animal even if its just for 5 minutes. Yes, I take that seriously even when its not my dog!
If only more dog owners saw the gift of time with a dog as a responsibility worth rising to the occasion to fulfill.
With your dogs understanding the rules of the house and respecting both those rules and you, a whole new world can open up for the entire family, dogs included!
How many things can you honestly plan to include your dogs on?
Do your dogs ever act in a way that you wished nobody was watching?
Do you take your dogs out and HOPE they don't see another dog or a squirrel, or in some cases, a person?
If you do, then we really need to get you the help your dogs need you to get, as instead of one dog living like that, you're about to have two!
LIfe with your dog doesn't have to be like that at all. That's why I created the Canine Blueprint and why people all over the world are enrolling and learning how to finally enjoy aspects of life with a dog they didn't know possible.
If you want to be the best you can be for your dogs, so THEY can be their best, then perhaps we need to talk more about your situation.
There should be no 'hope" in this process. What I mean is that there are absolutely things you can do to ensure this goes well. If you don't like them, or don't want to do them, then you must rely on crossing your fingers and "hoping" it goes well.
That's like not brushing your teeth and "hoping" you don't get cavities.