To all you dog parents out there, I know this has been a real consideration at one time or another. People have asked me many times “I’ve thought about getting a second dog but.. I just don’t know”. Let’s not sugar coat it- getting a dog is a huge commitment. Even more so, getting a second dog is another whole obligation to add on top of that first one. But is it worth it? I figured I’d share my experience to help the dog lovers decide.
I got my first dog when I was 19. I’m now 26. I can tell you that to this day- I absolutely love my dog to pieces. College was good with him. My friends loved him, I had a flexible schedule, and got to spend time with him. After I graduated though, my 8-5 job started taking over. For me personally, it really became 7-6. Brody was going crazy, he was depressed, and I knew it. In my first apartment by myself, he became aggressive anytime we left the house. He’d have the “zoomies” and run from my bedroom to the living room in circles jumping from couch to bed. I got a dog aggression trainer, and I started taking him to daycare 2-3 times a week. The aggression trainer helped me more than it helped him. The doggy daycare did a little bit for him, but to be honest- less than I expected. He was really lonely, and I knew it. I felt horrible for putting him in that situation.
When I moved to a house, things got better. My roommate had a dog and that seemed to help. Plus, he had more room to spread out. When she moved out, I noticed a distinct difference in his personality. My boyfriend at the time (now fiancé) had begun living with me, and we decided it was time for a second dog. He knew I was a golden retriever lover, so that’s what we got- a golden retriever puppy.
The first night he slept in the kitchen in his new crate. I’ll never forget the first moment that morning. Brody immediately was so excited to get out of the bedroom. He ran straight to Jackson (our new puppy) and was jumping around, crying in excitement to play with him. At that moment, I knew that was exactly what he needed. You could pretty much say the rest is history. Brody’s had his brother for two years now, and they play really well together. They play really well together, and Brody’s personality has become a LOT more playful. It’s crazy to say my 6 year old dog plays more like a puppy now than he did before- but it’s true. We’ve actually moved back into an apartment, and I’d still say the same is true.
As for the responsibility, getting another dog is an addition. Double the shots, double the dog food, but double the love. Is it worth it? To us, 100%. We’re still going on walks, just with two dogs instead of one. We’re still buying food, but spending an extra $10 every two weeks to buy the bigger bag for both.
When should you NOT get a second dog?
If you’re struggling with having just one, or if you’ve had to give you dog to your parents for months at a time, getting a second may not be the right choice at this time. You want to make sure you’re stable and be put in a position to where you’d have to give them up for any reason.
Can you physically handle two dogs? For me, I love big dogs. As Jackson got bigger, I’ll admit that walking a 70 lb dog and a 60 lb dog became a challenge. Once we got them harnesses, it’s now a piece of cake for me. With that being said, there are other challenges that come with bigger dogs, but I’ve seen small women handle big dogs successfully before. It’s a question you’ll have to ask yourself whether you’re prepared for that.
How does your dog feel about other dogs? Do they like being an only pet? Do they ever play with other dogs? Don’t knock it til you try it, but its definitely something to consider.
While it seems like it’s been easy breezy since getting a second dog, that doesn’t mean we haven’t faced our challenges. One of the big issues we’ve had is from a jealousy standpoint. Jackson, our youngest dog, loves attention and loves to be in your face. Brody is a little older, and a little more laid back. At one point, Brody became a little more reserved, and stopped trying to interact with us because we became Jackson wanted all of our attention. Since then, we’ve made a point to always make sure he’s included. We don’t give anything to either without giving equally to the other. These little gestures have made a huge difference.
Here’s a suggestion..
Overall, we couldn’t be more happy with our little dog family than we already are. We know that they’re happy too. But it’s important to realize there are circumstances and situations when the timing just isn’t right. One baby step to make in discovering for yourself if a second dog is right is to foster a dog. Really, it’s a double win. You’re providing a loving home for a dog, making room at the shelter for another, and you’re able to assess if getting a second is right for you and your pet. Who knows- you may just prefer fostering so you don’t have the commitment, and then you’re able to entertain your dog too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this- whether you have multiple pets already or none at all. What other questions or concerns do you have in this process? I’d love to help you anyway I can!