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"The Getting a Second Dog" Debate! Any Advice Would be Great!

January 4th, 2009, 06:51 PM
Hi Everyone!

Iím still pretty new to the forums, but I have learnt so much in my time participating and reading here that I wanted to see if anyone could offer me advice, opinions or share their experience going from a one to a multi dog household!

Just a bit of background, I have a 3 year old Foxhound mix named Nitro. He is a rescue from the Kingston area. I adopted him in August 2007. He is a fantastic dog, very loving, well behaved (always things to work on but overall heís well rounded!) and I am looking to potentially ad a second dog to our home. Nitro goes to Day camp about once a week to socialize with other dogs, he loves to play and is pretty active in the play rooms! At home we walk 2-3 times a day for 1+ hour, we play fetch (on a long line since he cant go off leash :sad: his recall isnít good at all) and heís pretty calm at home, quite content with laying around but is always up for playing.

We do have some issues - the biggest roadblock is his anxiety. When I adopted him we went through 4 months of hell with SA. We have it under control so here is our "routine". I live with my brother who works different shifts (6am-1pm or 1pm-9pm) and I work 9-4 in the winter - 8 to 5 in the summer months. During the day, when either of us leave Nitro goes in the basement which is his doggy heaven, he has his radio, his crate which he sleeps in that doesnít have a door on, his water and toys. When we leave he gets his food, a bully stick and a Kong stuffed with whatever the menu du jour is. He hasnít barked when we have left him since December 07 (YAY!). He does get very anxious if i leave him (ie: at flyball if I go to get the jumps and he cant see me he barks or I run to the car and he can see me in the window. Otherwise he's possessive, he loves his mommy and does get anxious when new people come around. We have regular outings with friends (Beaglemum and Spencer and Sydney among them!) and he is great with other dogs and his Flyball team mates.

So my question is... (long winded Iím sorry! I just want to make sure i explain enough information!) I have come across a Hound/Pointer cross in rescue who is desperate for a home. She sounds amazing! Just under 2.. same size as Nitro, gets along with dogs (not cats but we donít have any) is very social and very loving. Apparently very obedient - needs ongoing training of course, but overall sounds lovely. I have yet to email the rescue because I am hesitant on how Nitro will handle another dog with his anxiety. I worry about when I have to leave and putting them in the basement? (we are in a townhouse so I have to keep the barking to a very minimum level I have fantastic neighbours but I donít want to be "that" person with the crazy dogs LOL) I donít know Nitro will react around food, leaving them alone to eat their brekkie when we leave.. :shrug: Does anyone have any suggestions? I want to make sure this is a viable option to adopt a second dog before I bug a rescue and it doesnít work out :sad:

Sorry its so long winded.. if anyone wants to PM me I can send the link of the possible Nitro sister :) Just to get more of an idea what I am dealing with!! I really want whatís best for Nitro!!

Thanks Everyone!( I attached a couple of picture of Nitro too!!)

January 4th, 2009, 07:04 PM
How about crating the newest edition until you are comfortable leaving them both out alone. I would think that nitro having a companion while left home alone would help him more so then make it bad again. If hes well socialized I dont think it would be a problem. Bring Nitro to where the other dog is located (shelter/foster) And see if they get along. If they hit it off, I dont think there owuld be a problem:shrug:

Does this rescue do trial adoptions? Foster programs maybe?

January 4th, 2009, 07:10 PM
Thanks BM! She is up for Foster/Adoption so I could take her on a trial basis to see how things go, at least then I will know for sure one way or the other. I know Nitro sleeps when he is the basement, I would wonder if I crate the other pup if he would antagonzie her or bark at her because he wants to play.. I cant crate him with a door on his crate- not an option due to his previous history which created the SA- he is quite OK going in his crate, but if there is a door on it hes a mess, hence why he is in the basement and its alot cooler and quieter down there for him, its like his own little playground lol)

SO many unknowns. I would just hate to waste the rescues time if it doesnt work out, I know she has been there for a while. I would want them to meet before for sure on neutral ground, to see what the reaction will be, Nitro is well socialized and uber friendly, but I would want to make sure, he has had some dogs he didnt want to be friends with! I am sure the rescue would be able to give me advice but there are alot of people here who are sooo knowledgeable and people who do rescue, has anyone ever had a situation like this?

January 4th, 2009, 07:17 PM
What about keeping her in a bed room, or crate her upstairs so he cant antagonize her. I think If you really want another dog, you can work it out somehow! Im sure the rescue would LOVE to help! They want a good home for the dog, and im sure some homes need a little advice/help.

Good luck!

January 4th, 2009, 07:19 PM
Great advice from Babymomma . I think as long as the new dog does not have serious SA she might be good company for Nitro while your away. I vote you email the rescue to at least inquire more about her issues, they would know better for your situation.

Good luck :thumbs up

January 4th, 2009, 07:23 PM
Thanks BM! She is up for Foster/Adoption

If the rescue really need a foster family for her , you wouldn't be wasting their time , I would explain to them your situation and see if they let you foster her. If it works out , you adopt her , if it doesn't , you keep fostering her until they find her a new family.

With a dog that has anxiety , it's hard to tell. Either Nitro feels there's too much changes in his life , or , welcomes the newbie with open paws and his anxiety settles. Or he could still love the newbie but keeps his anxiety issues.

January 4th, 2009, 07:24 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention, Nitro is absolutely Gorgous!!!!

January 4th, 2009, 07:25 PM
Thank you both!! I plan on emailing them tomorrow. I know if I can overcome the anxiety concern I could provide a fantastic home for another dog. Nitro is so mopey when he leaves a play session or Daycamp, or when we babysit another dog, but does that mean he will do well with a "permenant resident" Dogs!! If only they could talk!! Then we could have a dicussion and then make a decision! I guess the worry of not knowing how day to day like would be with a second day is my biggest concern. I have no problem dedicating the time to make it work (heck.. I have been training Nitro for Flyball since July and he's still a looney tune there having focus issues when it comes to all the wonderful tennis balls and his escapades trying to steal them all!!!)

January 4th, 2009, 07:30 PM
You sound like a great Mom to Nitro (he's so handsome) :fingerscr it works out.

January 4th, 2009, 07:42 PM
Thanks Mommakat.. I try!!! The most important thing is that he is happy! If that means hes an only dog I am 100% ok with that too! I wish I had the answers to his anxiety, but I feel we have learnt to manage it very very well, hopefully one day he will be secure enough that his anxiety will go away completely... but for now routine with him seems to be the key to success!

January 4th, 2009, 07:56 PM
If only everyone was as dedicated to their dog's and future dog's happiness, good luck with the new foster.

January 4th, 2009, 08:41 PM
Thanks T.pettet! Hopefully things work out - one way or the other. I am going to email the rescue tomorrow, to introduce myself and get some background info on the possible match for us. Hopefully somone with a multi-dog house or involved with rescue can give me some advice or pointers! The more information I have to make a decision the better!

January 4th, 2009, 09:36 PM
Nitro is very handsome :lovestruck:.

Sounds to me like you can provide a wonderful home to another dog. I would go for it, likely it is only going to help the SA :thumbs up. I agree with the others that crating the new dog until you are entirely comfortable leaving them alone together. It is a good option for everyones safety especially if you are leaving them with tasty goodies.

Good luck :goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes:.

January 4th, 2009, 09:48 PM
I agree with everyone else. The only thing I may do differently is to try a few visits first. Not just one. If possible an hour or so three or four times before you bring in the new one. Make the visits close together. Like 3 or 4 days in a row if possible. They will be more apt to remember each other. This way you could see how/if the two pups can get along together. Not much sense in bringing in a new pup and having behavioural issues between them. Meeting on neutral ground is always a good idea beforehand. No one feels threatened by a "newbie" coming into their space.

Thanks for caring so much for the welfare of your cutie pie and the new one.

January 5th, 2009, 08:45 AM
Thanks Everyone for all the advice! I am still on the fence when it comes to deciding... You would think it would be an easy decision but I really want to make sure its the right one for Nitro (and the new dog we would bring in!). 14+ Thats a really good suggestion, Nitro is friendly when he meets dogs the first time, unless he doesnt like them which you can tell right away. But maybe having a few play sessions would help get an idea of how they would get along on a long term basis! If Nitro didnt have anxiety issues this would be an easy easy decision, but I have to look at all possibilities of what could go wrong and what could go right before I decide.

I hope someone who has done this can offer some advice, as I am still a bit on the fence. I know alot of people with multi-dog house holds, but they all got their second/thirds as puppies, not a mature dog coming into a house with another! Hopefully someone could share their experience and difficulties/things that worked. I have been reading a bunch of articles, so I have a general idea of what to expect. Oh boy do I wish animals could talk!! LOL

January 5th, 2009, 09:34 AM
I would have the dogs meet on neutral territory in a fenced-in area and let them get to know each other with the leashes held as loosely as possible and as little visible apprehension from you or the rescue org. person. Dogs will pick-up any stress/tension from people and that can lead to aggression between them, although I can only see that Nitro would enjoy someone to play with. Give them time to play and then go for a walkie with both. You could offer the foster dog an open crate to go into when you get home as her own personal place and make sure to feed them in separate areas of the kitchen. If things get too boisterous when they're playing you can give them time outs by putting the foster in her crate with the door closed or going for a walk which is a really great way to bond with the 3 of you.

January 5th, 2009, 10:17 AM
Malanie, we got most of our dogs as older dogs--only Ember and Cole were less than 6 months of age, and Lil Belle and Grace were 2 when they arrived. We also added 3 at one time (Lil Belle, Macie, Ridge in fall '04).

Adding one at a time was never a problem. They actually took their cues from the dogs that were already here. (The threesome was a little more contentious and I will never again bring in that many at one time. Can you say 'chaotic'? :rolleyes: But I would never balk at one addition at a time.)

Most of the intros went really smoothly. All the dogs got to meet before we decided on the can really tell a great deal from their body language when they meet a strange dog.

So play dates would be extremely helpful for you in making your decision--even a decision to foster. The longer you can make the visits, the better--to see if they get tired of each other's shenanigans. And fostering with an option to adopt would be ideal!

As for the SA, this might be just the ticket for Nitro because it gives him some company. However, you have to be careful of bringing in another dog with SA--they could well feed off each other's anxiety. Again, the play dates will allow you to test how they react when humans are out of sight.

The age is good--all our 2-3 yr-olds seemed to adapt very quickly to new companions. They seemed mature enough to take it all in stride but young enough to really enjoy having someone to play with. Be prepared for boisterous play. :D

You've got some awesome advice for how to handle the arrangements...but let me say that usually even the best laid plans need tweaking, so expect to run across a few minor glitches and necessary adjustments. In particular, be cautious during feeding time. It's okay to feed them together if neither seems to be upset by that, but make sure they are always supervised until you are 100% sure that they aren't going to make a move on each other's bowls. :dog: Relationships can be strained over a bowl of dog food. :o

Good luck, Melanie! We will, of course, need immediate pics of your new foster/adoptee as soon as you get her...and more pics of Nitro wouldn't be turned away, either... *nudge, nudge, wink, wink, hint, hint*

January 5th, 2009, 10:39 AM
Thanks Hazel!! Thats really great to hear! I cant wrap my head around 2 dogs yet! And you introduced 3!! Hats off to you and your ability to handle chaos! I do appreciate all the advice I've gotten. It would be a great oppertunity if the rescue would consider a trial or foster with intent to adopt. Im sure once I explain how things are at home and sort of how a day in our life is, they would be able to tell me right away if this dog will fit in with us. Apparently she is already kennel trained (her description indicated that as well as some basic obedience (sit,down, stay, come and settle) and as long as she is a dog who is stable with being left alone, maybe her ignoring Nitro when he has his moments will help him realize there isnt anything to worry so much about!

January 5th, 2009, 10:42 AM
Thanks Hazel!! Thats really great to hear! I cant wrap my head around 2 dogs yet! And you introduced 3!! Hats off to you and your ability to handle chaos! I do appreciate all the advice I've gotten. It would be a great oppertunity if the rescue would consider a trial or foster with intent to adopt. Im sure once I explain how things are at home and sort of how a day in our life is, they would be able to tell me right away if this dog will fit in with us. Apparently she is already kennel trained (her description indicated that as well as some basic obedience (sit,down, stay, come and settle) and as long as she is a dog who is stable with being left alone, maybe her ignoring Nitro when he has his moments will help him realize there isnt anything to worry so much about!

Any good sound rescue would agree I am certain to let you foster first. It is in their best interest as well as yours. If they say no then move onto a rescue that will. Also, there are some excellent rescues I know of in Ontario that will give you that opportunity. First try the rescue you speak of and if no - you can PM me and I will give you some rescues around there that will accomodate you.

Best of luck to you on this quest.