Should We Become a Multi-Dog Family?

posted in: .: Pet Dogs, .. By Mia 6

Many animal lovers would love to add another dog to the household, but they’re nervous about how their resident dog(s) will react.

One reader, Leslie asked the following question on PetLvr’s article titled “How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Other Dogs”: “We have a dog who’s been with us for 9 months and we want to, hopefully, add another dog to our family. But we’re kind of scared because he’s so used to being the center of attention (and of course, dogs are territorial) so it’s kind of nerve-wracking.”

Leslie’s question is a very common one. While dogs are territorial, they are also pack animals. As such, a vast majority of dogs do very well in a multi-dog home. It’s quite rare to encounter a dog who is truly aggressive with all other canines.

I always encourage pet owners to look at it this way: being with another human is fulfilling in a way that’s very different from your interactions with all other species. Really, social animals — dogs and humans alike — tend to be happier with at least one close same-species companion. The same goes for your dog: while his relationship with humans is special, there’s something very unique about a close relationship with another dog.

That said, not every pair of dogs is compatible. Just as you don’t like each and every human you meet, dogs don’t like each and every other dog that they meet. Therefore, it’s important to find a new dog who is apt to complement your existing pet’s personality, energy level and temperament. If your dog is typically dominant in his interactions with other dogs, don’t get another dominant dog; seek a submissive dog. If you have a very subdued, quiet dog, don’t get a crazy puppy who’s apt to bounce off the walls and annoy him.

Bringing your resident dog to meet another dog who you’re considering adopting is always recommended. Generally speaking, compatibility is very apparent in a brief meeting. If the dogs get along well during this meeting, then they’re apt to do well together. If it’s an oil-and-water situation from the very first sniff, then it’s best to adopt a different pet.

Of course, when a new dog is added to the pack, there will be tensions. In tomorrow’s article, we’ll explore what to expect in terms of behavior when you get a second dog.

Photo Source: Bev Lloyd-Roberts on

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Mia Carter is a professional journalist and animal lover. Her furry family members include 6 dogs and 12 cats. She is also a feral cat colony caretaker. Carter specializes in pet training and special needs pet care. All of her animals have special needs such as paralysis, blindness, deafness and FIV, just to name a few. She also serves as a pet foster parent and she actively rehabilitates and rescues local strays and feral kittens.

6 Responses

  1. Kimberly, The Fur Mom
    | Reply

    We have a multi dog household. We adopted litter mates 2 years ago Memorial Day weekend and they’re the best dogs. When we’ve fostered, we slowly introduced the dogs to each other outside so that everyone had room and they did great. We bring them inside and allow them to continue to get to know each other.

    Another thing that we do is make sure that our dogs get lots of love, because when a new dog comes into the house, they get a little concerned about our attention so we monitor play time and give our dogs tons of praise for good behavior. It usually only takes 30 minutes until they’re all hanging out comfortably.


  2. Henry
    | Reply

    We’ve considered getting another dog to accompany our pitbull-mix but we really didn’t seriously take into consideration what type of dog we’re bringing in. My partner wanted a rottweiler, which if seems not smart after reading this because they’ll definitely clash.

  3. Vince
    | Reply

    I agree with you. Luckily, I was able to bring my dog into the pet shop as I choose a companion for him. He hit off with one right away and I realized that I should bring that pup home. I never regretted that decision.

  4. Cindy Reid
    | Reply

    Ivory our female dog is about a year with my brother came bringing Max a male dog. We thought that she will not like Max but we’re happy that she love Max. Came our two kittens.. she played with them too. Thanks for posting.

    • Monica Curtis
      | Reply

      I really dogs and I consider them as part of my family. In fact my dog make me happy all the time and we play all day.

  5. HeathSky
    | Reply

    the advantages of living with multiple dogs along with how things change as you add canine companions. Two or more dogs who are compatible can provide exercise for each other. This works best when they are of similar size and activity level, and both are free of physical problems that could cause pain or irritability.
    Two or more dogs can provide each other with dog-to-dog social interaction. This daily contact with their own species tends to keep their ability to communicate with other dogs in good shape.

    Vet Campbelltown

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