Monday, December 15, 2008

Steps for Second-dog Success

(ARA) - A second dog may be hard to resist for many pet parents, especially if having their first dog was a positive experience. However, many families underestimate the responsibility of caring for two dogs and the impact adding a new pet can have on a first dog.

Without proper planning and consideration, adding a second pet can result in a difficult household transition, and can lead to unforeseen conflicts between your two canine companions. Before you consider a second pet addition, take the time to ask the following questions:

* Is your dog bored? A second companion may not be the right solution as boredom in dogs is often related to lack of attention and exercise. If you don't have the time to provide adequate training and attention for your first dog, chances are you won't have the time for another.

* Has your dog been socialized with others? Consider how well your dog reacts to other dogs. If your dog shows aggression or extreme shyness in a social situation, a second dog might not be the best idea.

* Are you looking to rejuvenate your older dog? Adopting a younger dog or puppy can increase the activity levels in an older dog that is becoming more sedentary with age, as long as the older dog is not aggressive or territorial.

"When I brought home my second puppy, I was ill-prepared for the changes it would create for my older dog, who was surprisingly tentative around the new one," says Eric Kardesh, pet parent of Edy, a 2-year-old Vizla and Greenley, a 4-year-old miniature pinscher. "Looking back, I wish I would have done my research on ways to prepare Greenley, my first dog, for the new puppy to come, and socialized her around other dogs beforehand."

To make the transition of adding a second dog a positive experience, pet parents should consider the following tips to ensure a smooth homecoming for all family members.

* Research the breed you are thinking of adopting and be sure you can accommodate the size and activity level.

* Be sure your first dog has been socialized with other pets before considering another pet. If you know your current pet does not get along with other dogs, think twice about getting another, which could create an unsafe situation for everyone.

* Make sure you are adding a pet for the right reasons. Remember, adding a new pet to the one you have will double your responsibilities and costs for everything from food and toys to vet visits and grooming.

* Take into account the daily activities that take you away from home. A busy schedule will make it seem difficult to provide the adequate amount of care and attention a new puppy needs. Pet owners who have grown accustomed to an older dog with fewer demands can easily overlook the new responsibility of a puppy.

* Pheromone products that have a calming effect such as Comfort Zone with D.A.P (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) can help ease a dog's transition to a new home and help your current dog deal with the new addition to the family.

* Consider purchasing two separate crates for your dogs. These can be valuable socialization and training tools that allow your current pet and new puppy to become more familiar with one another safely, while remaining in two separate environments.

Pet parents looking for additional tips and advice can visit www.petcomfortzone.com/newpuppy.

Courtesy of ARA content

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