Adding a Second Puppy to Your Family: Tips on Making the Best Choice for You

When is the right time to add a second puppy?

When is the right time to get a puppy for your puppy?

Getting a puppy for your puppy is a growing trend, and one that may make sense. Before you make a decision, there are a few variables to consider.

On the positive side, introducing a second puppy can provide on-demand social interaction and exercise for your older dog, which, frankly, can take some pressure off you as the dog owner. You can spend less time playing fetch with Fido and more time meeting other demands if you have two dogs expending their energy in a rousing tug-of-war.

Particularly if your dog has a lot of alone time due to work schedules, a puppy can definitely provide some of the companionship your dog is lacking and reduce the number of problem behaviors you might see because of this. Dogs left by themselves for long periods of time (or those who become anxious without their “people”) can become destructive to furniture, chew on items inadvertently left on the floor, or even damage structural elements like drywall and trim.

In some situations, an existing dog may have bonded with one particular family member, and there is a legitimate need or desire for a second companion pet. This is especially true if one dog already serves a service, therapy, or emotional support need and other family members would also benefit from a companion pet.

Other dog owners are, sadly, contemplating life without a beloved pet as their dog ages, and believe that it’s best to introduce a puppy while there is an older dog in the home. They feel it would be good for the puppy’s socialization, or they want to bond with a puppy in a positive way before experiencing the emotional loss that comes with their older pet’s passing.

And then, of course, there are just the dog lovers, who don’t think you can ever have too many bundles of fluff to love!

Whatever your reason for contemplating getting a puppy for your puppy, timing is everything. Some people get two puppies together, knowing that eventually they’ll want two to keep each other company. This can happen when you’ve found a great breeder, fallen in love with a puppy, and then…fall in love with its litter mate!

There may be no problem with bringing home two puppies, but you’ll want to be realistic about your level of commitment. When it comes to training, you’ll probably need targeted time with each puppy to make sure they’re really “getting it.” If you’re a laid-back pet owner and your only real concern is that your dog comes when called and maybe sits on command, this may not be a significant concern. If you’re committed to next-level training, two puppies at once is likely not practical.

Another potential for the two-puppy dynamic is that the puppies may bond with each other more than with you. If you expect this and are proactive in giving each one individual attention and time with you, this is probably not going to be a significant issue.

For the reasons just mentioned, some wait to get a puppy until their dog is officially an adult, at 1-2 years of age. This makes sense, as hopefully by then they will have had some basic training and you’ll have worked through many of the common puppy behaviors that can be stressors.

The American Kennel Club offers some good advice: make sure you’re not going through any life transitions that will make new puppy ownership and training difficult to manage, and make sure you can handle the added responsibility (including financial obligations) that a new a puppy will add to your household.[1] Carefully consider what type of dog will complement your existing situation (size, temperament, and gender).

All things, considered, a puppy for your puppy can be a great decision, but like anything else, it’s important to do your research before you take the leap.

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