Updated: Oct 4
We adopted our second dog a few months ago from Second Chance Sanctuary. Her name's Bella and she was about 2-2.5 years of age when she came home and behaved like a baby panda.
Bella is a miniature version of a Saint Bernard; pretty small for her breed, however, she's definitely got a happy soul and a bounce to her walks, which is very entertaining to watch. We are assuming Bella is a breeder discard, since she's amongst the least agile dogs we've had and hardly leaves our side even when she's off leash. So chances of her previous handler having lost her will be a far fetched idea. This of course has affected her growth & size.
Before we adopted Bella, it was important to us that the second dog we add to our pack, must be okay with Beauty (our first...and the names are totally coincidental) and Beauty's comfort and safety was of the top priority for us.
Second Chance Sanctuary, graciously had Bella visit our home to see how Beauty and Bella behaved in his territory. A good number of hours were spent at home and just like that...Bella stayed back and became a part of the pack.
For Bella, recognising all three of us - Soubhik, Beauty and I - as part of her new pack seemed pretty instinctive and natural. Beauty of course, took his time, however, was fairly peaceful, though not amused.
Now, while we were concerned for Beauty's comfort, we also knew that we had to set the rules straight between the two dogs and also ensure Bella understood the pecking order in the house.
We did give a bit more leeway to Beauty, considering he had to share his space & our love with another dog, however, that did not stop us from correcting him when needed, which was only a few times. This was another reason we thought we were ready for our second dog, since Beauty was well adjusted with us and felt secure with us. We also did have a few dogs of friends stay with us, alone for a few days, while their parents were away. Fostering a second dog could also be a good approach to see how you as a dog parent would be comfortable with two dogs at home.
So weeks went by before Beauty got comfortable with Bella's lack of personal space and before Bella understood Beauty's a bit of an old school dog which also meant he's considerate & quite the gentle dog. She actually listens to him and respects his space, despite their size difference.
And now, we each have our own dog for the walks, they have their own favourite humans of the house too. All in all, adding a second dog to our home wasn't too difficult mainly because both their temperaments were pretty much at the same level. And personality wise, they are poles apart and we love that about our dogs! Each one of them bring out a different side of our personalities and give us a different side of their emotions.
Summing up key points for introducing a second dog to your home:
Ensure your first dog has completely settled in to your home. They listen to you, respect your house rules and have no behavioural problems that has not been addressed by you.
You are adopting a second dog for the love of dogs and not for the first fur baby in the house.
Introduce them outside of your home first, before getting them into the house.
Give priority to your first dog for all activities over the second dog, until your new puppy understands your routine and commands.
Do all the things you did as a first time dog owner with your first dog, also for your second dog; ensuring they too learn to respect you and your house rules from you.
Allow your dogs and yourself, time to settle in with the changes around your home with a new dog.