“Should I Get A Second Dog?”

Things to think about if you’ve ever wondered if you should get another dog, or how many dogs is too many.


Currently tempted by a photo of an irresistibly cute face in an “adoptable dogs” post online? There are several factors that play into the correct answer for the question of, “Should I get another dog?” Here are the boxes to check if you’re thinking of adding another) dog to yours:

  • Current Dogs: Is your present canine family peaceful? Do they all get along well, and would they welcome another dog into the group? If the answers are yes, check this box.
  • Human Family Members: Will all the human members of your family welcome another dog? If yes, check!
  • Time: Adding another dog means finding time for individual attention and training for yet one more canine. If your family members are willing to do this, check!
  • Space: Is there room for another crate in the bedroom? Another dog bed in the living room? Another food bowl in the kitchen? Another dog in the car? If yes, check!
  • Finances: Estimates on the annual cost of caring for a dog average somewhere between $1500 and $10,000. Do you have room in your budget for another dog? If yes, check!
  • Laws: Many communities have laws regulating the maximum number of dogs allowed at a residence. If adopting another dog means you’re still within the legal limit, check!

If you’ve checked all the boxes above, then the answer for you just might be “one more than we have now.” But beware! Some people discover after they get another dog that the right answer to “how many is too many?” was “one more than we have now.” Make sure you’re ready for the added group dynamics, and commitments of time and money – and adopt carefully! See “Selecting Your Next Dog or Puppy.”

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Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. She spent the first 20 years of her professional life working at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, for most of that time as a humane officer and director of operations. She continually studied the art and science of dog training and behavior during that time, and in 1996, left MHS to start her own training and behavior business, Peaceable Paws. Pat has earned a number of titles from various training organizations, including Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She also founded Peaceable Paws Academies for teaching and credentialing dog training and behavior professionals, who can earn "Pat Miller Certified Trainer" certifications. She and her husband Paul and an ever-changing number of dogs, horses, and other animal companions live on their 80-acre farm in Fairplay, Maryland.