How Do You Decide Whether or Not to Get a Second Dog?

For the past few weeks I have been seriously thinking about this question. Zeke is at a point where he is super-reliable and well behaved 99% of the time. It took a long time to get here & now that we are here I feel a little restless. I also feel that now that we are at a good place and everyone knows their role and we live together peacefully that maybe I shouldn’t mess with it.

Then I think, we did a good job with Zeke. We could do a good job with another dog. Soooo many dogs are in shelters and aren’t saved or keep getting passed around by owners who aren’t ready for the type of dog they adopt. On today’s 3 mile run with Zeke (in snow flurries!), I saw two different lady owners walking their mastiff or pit mixes. Both dogs were acting up because there were other dogs in close proximity. Both dogs had regular collars and the owners were obviously not using positive reinforcement, because both dogs were smacked into a sit position. I think to myself of all they could be doing differently to help their dogs. One lady was trying to control her big dog and a little dog- she could walk them separately. They could use harnesses or halti-s to help gain control. They could be using high value treats to distract their dogs! So many things that I have learned these past 3 years that I would be able to use to help a dog if I choose to adopt.

I have yet to leave Zeke in the care of someone other than Doug overnight. We have decided we want our vacations to include him. We camp, hike, visit the beach, go to dog parks, I run, we have the new scooter…we are super active with Zeke. Would it really be that different to add another dog that would benefit living in an active household? We do so much that I feel we are denying an active dog that may not be a good fit in other, less active homes. 

But, there is our apartment to consider. We live in a studio. It is already a tight fit for the 3 of us. Zeke can be left out free in the apartment, a new dog may not be that trustworthy. A new dog may not be housebroken. We have been lucky that Zeke has been extremely healthy- another pup may not be. Which leads me to- new dogs are expensive! They may have issues we have not experienced with Zeke. I have to consider Zeke- he loves playing with other dogs but is never upset to leave them behind. When we found the 2 strays last year, he seemed almost happy when they were gone and he had his sleeping spots to himself (although they played for hours on end). 

I’ve talked to Doug about fostering, but I’m not sure we are home enough for that. While I am used to loving and letting animals go (as it is a part of my job & I have made peace with it), Doug is not ready for that at this time. I followed a vizsla mix named Chase on NYC’s Animal Care and Control adoption page for 3 weeks. He just got adopted-I am happy for him yet sad as he sounded like a good fit. So, decisions, decisions.

Those of you with multiple dog households- how did you decide to add another dog?

Those of you with a single dog- how did you come to the decision to stick with one? or are you considering at some point of getting another dog?


~ by manicivy on March 2, 2014.

20 Responses to “How Do You Decide Whether or Not to Get a Second Dog?”

  1. I was actually stupid enough to think two dogs would be less work than one. 🙂

    Although my eldest was always getting a good run around each day (and playtime at home), by taking her to the beach, forest or fields, I felt she needed company and might be less demanding if she had a playmate (our two cats hated her).

    As we had two cats we decided to let her have a litter (she had four, the other three went to homes where the families had all had JRs in the past. It was heartbreaking letting them go, but wonderful to know that they completed three families again) in the hope the cats would hate the new dog less if getting to know the dog from the beginning. This failed miserably – both cats hated the puppies from day one. 🙂

    Although walkies time is the same, I have not found it easier with two dogs, oh they’ll have loads of playtime together, and with our newest feline family member (sadly one of our kitties died, a few months later we got our little feline girl), but there’s now double the demand of everything else. Luckily a catflap was the solution for the back garden – both dogs fit through it, so no hassle there. But if one goes out the front garden… 2 minutes later the second one wants to go out there, meaning the first one comes in, and then realising the second one went out, wants to go out again, and so it continues.

    Double the hassle with bathtime! Double the hassle trying to get them into the car… etc.

    Would I want it any other way – absolutely not! Now I get to run around in the fields with two happy girls, roll around on the floor with two doggies instead of one… and I got two canine babies to snuggle up with. 🙂

    I say – go for it! 🙂

    • Haha! I thought for sure you were trying to dissuade me from it until those last sentences! Thank you for sharing your experience!

      • It is so worth it. Worth it a million times over. 😀

        Yes, it is more work, but the love and fun you get is worth it a million time over (although try to tell me that when the two of them are fighthing over a pair of my knickers they’ve dragged into the garden for the whole world to see).

  2. I’ve had the same thoughts as you for the last 6 months. Beta has mellowed a lot (as much as a dalmatian ever will lol) and the thought of adding another has been talked about… Especially since beta is very social and loves being around other dogs. We found a dalmatian mix at a shelter and visited her last weekend and of course fell in love but we had already booked a trip to Italy with friends and couldn’t cancel. We said if she is still there when we get back ( tomorrow!!!) we will go get her…so fingers crossed 🙂

  3. We only have Donna as you know and I have thought of a second dog but for the wrong reasons 😛

    A second dog would be Donna’s dog, Donna’s playmate because it seems to be so lonely to be the lone dog with no other dog to play with regularly. But that is not a good reason since it’s not because we really want and can afford a second dog.

    In fact, we don’t want a second dog for reasons like you said, a second dog is expensive and a second dog may not be as easy to manage as Donna, a second dog would mean a lot more effort and we may not be able to spend as much time with a second dog, or even the first dog as we do now if we have a child. And so while it would likely help the big picture if we were to take in a second dog, it just doesn’t make sense for our family at the moment.

    It is very tempting but it would be unfair to both dogs if I am not confident that we can provide the same level of care for both dogs, especially if changes occur in the family – new child, death, accident, changes in employment, etc etc. Yes, I know I overthink things 😛

    Sometimes, I still daydream of a second dog… 😛 oh well…

    • excellent point- Doug and I are thinking of children in the next few years so that is something to consider as well. Zeke is baby-tested and approved, but another dog and his/her crate would probably go in the planned crib area (; So that COULD be a problem. There are just so many dogs and I keep looking at shelter websites. *sigh*

  4. We are just a one dog home, and I could not imagine it being any different. I think for financial and time reasons that is all that I could handle! Plus I have experienced taking care of 2 dogs, I including my own, at one time, and if just takes a lot longer to do everything (like feeding separately), which I don’t think most people ever think about when getting a second dog, alright you clearly have a firm grasp on that. Although I have found that you can always find the time and money to make something happen if you really want it.

    • Very true about finding the time/money. Zeke was my first dog so I would have to defer to Doug since he has experience with multiple dog households. It would be an adjustment thats for sure & I suppose finding this wonderful balance we have now wouldn’t be a guarantee with a 2nd dog. Things to think about…

  5. Ugh we are in this conversation too. I see other GSPs that cuddle and are best friends but then I think Sam would be jealous of a second dog. Sam comes so many places with me on errands and I think that would end if we got a second. I think our final though on it is that next year we will buy a house, settle in, and then adopt a senior dog. That way there will still be things, like long distance running, that Sam and I can do alone and make her special thing.

    Good luck with your decision!

    • That is such a beautiful idea! I thought maybe getting a smaller or less active dog that could go camping and to the park, but not necessarily make a good running partner would be a good fit also. Its tough to decide. Your plan sounds spot on. Thanks! and good luck to you too.

  6. I have thought about this for a while…everyone tells me Reggie is at the “perfect” age to bring another dog into the home. My hesitations: 1) he has significant (re: $$) health problems and I don’t think I can afford the risk of another; 2) he is an “only child” of divorced parents and I it would take a special bond and a lot work to ensure that that dog relationship works well because Reggie travels between his parents’ houses and the new dog would just stay at my house. Being by myself, I think this might be too big of a hurdle right now. I think you guys are in a perfect spot for a sibling for Zeke and no doubt the new dog and all relationships would thrive. Good luck!!

    • Thank you!! It is nice that we can at least take our time and find the right dog. We have a little longer to think about it as the shelter we wanted to visit is closed on Mondays, which is the only day Doug and I are both off. We’ll see what happens (;

  7. I like how honest you are about all of this! It’s difficult to not let your heart rule your head.
    First things first, from what I’ve seen on your blog you and your partner are fab dog owners! How did Zeke come into your lives?
    I can’t give too much of a personal opinion, my mum took on a second dog whilst I was at uni, (and only told me once she actually had him!) so I had no say in that one! And now I live with Sam, but he’s technically my partners parents dog, as we all live together, so it wouldn’t be my decision to take on a second dog here either. As for when we get our own place, I picture us in two scenarios, 1. Having one dog with an incredibly close bond, that travels here there and everywhere with us. Or 2. Having multiple dogs that each have their own personality and bring something different to our lives. Its a hard one! But you’re clearly thinking it through, and that makes you a great owner before you even take a dog on 🙂

    • I’m so grateful for your feedback We heard about Zeke through friends of friends. They didn’t have time for him and he was being kept inside 24/7. They were looking to give him away or they would have droppped him at a shelter.
      I wonder about that too-if we get a 2nd dog will Zeke’s bond change over to that dog and be less with me? I picture the 2nd dog as being more Doug, my partner’s, dog. So that when we are camping Zeke and I can go running and Doug & a (lazier, haha) dog can hang around the campsite cooking dinner. (;

      • I think everyone has that thought, about building a new bond with a new dog. I’m sure even ‘human parents’ think the same thing before having more children! Haha 🙂 Either way have fun exploring your options 🙂 Looking for a new pet is always an exciting time!

  8. Reblogged this on and commented:
    It is a very difficult decision to make and although I have the room I’m not sure I can take on the responsibility for another dog in my life. By the sound of things it might get a bit busy in your home. Great blog

    • Thank you so much. Still not sure what we will do, maybe in the meantime I can volunteer to walk some shelter dogs and help out in that way instead. I enjoy your blog as well!

  9. Goooooood question! I think (for me) knowing I wanted/or that it was time for a 2nd dog was a different phase than finding the 2nd dog. The wanting/knowing part took a while and i teetered back and forth and went through a similar list that you posted above. But I kept coming back to the question and for me, that answered it. I wanted/was ready for two. Finding the second dog, the one that validates the decision, took a long time. In fact, Jake (the 2nd) was everything I was not looking for in a dog and he turned out to be exactly what we needed. Oh universe, you got us! But if I hadn’t met a ton of dogs, we wouldn’t have found him, so the journey was worth it. It was also during that time I found rescue groups I respected and ones that I questioned a bit. I learned a lot about myself and Melvin (resident dog) during that time.

  10. […] How do you decide whether or not to get a second dog? […]

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