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Plan Ahead Before Bringing Home a Second - or Third - Dog

Living with multiple dogs brings a whole new set of challenges. Adding a second (or third, or fourth) dog means more fun, more love, more joy and more wonderful doggy companionship. But it also means much more from you: more time, more money, more energy, and more working through problems.

Pay attention to the type of dog that your dog "likes". While many puppies and young dogs play with just about anyone who will engage, mature dogs often have a few select "friends." Notice the personalities of your dog's friends. For example, pay attention if your dog generally does well playing with quiet females, but avoids rowdy adolescents.

When choosing a new dog, if possible, have the dogs meet each in a neutral location before making a decision. Pay attention to how they respond to each other. If your instincts tell you it isn't a good match - no matter how much you adore the potential new dog - keep looking.

If the introductions go well and you bring your new dog home, you can continue to help the dogs get along by providing strong leadership. If you are clearly in charge from the start, then your dogs won't have to compete for leadership. By simply controlling resources (such as food, access to the outdoors, toys, and attention from people), you can establish yourself as the leader. Insist that the dogs are polite - with you and with each other - in order to gain access to those resources.

For more details and advice on ways to add a new dog to a multi-dog household, purchase Whole Dog Journal's ebook Adding A New Dog to a Multi-Dog Household - Plan Ahead.

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