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Does My Rescue Dog Need A Friend?

Rescue dog siblings

Is My Rescue Dog Lonely?

We all have this thought at one point or another. You just adopted a rescue dog, things are going well, a routine has been made. Then you begin to wonder, are they lonely? As you watch your dog sleep on their bed you question if they would be happier with a brother or sister to expand your four-legged family. While there are many benefits and fun times to consider when contemplating introducing a new dog to your rescue dog, there are things to be aware of and questions you should ask yourself before committing to double the mouths, double the fur, and double the vet bills.

Where Is Your Dog Emotionally?

One of the first questions you must ask is where is your rescue dog emotionally? Are they fairly obedient? Have they completed dog training? Before you introduce another mind into your mix, it is best to know that your current furchild is in a comfortable routine with you, and is responsive when you need them to be. When you add another dog/animal you are adding a new distraction, and a new temptation. Dogs speak dog much better than they speak human. Hearing and acting on the temptation given by a sibling is going to be much more elevated than the standard distractions your dog has already potentially mastered. Getting even basic obedience down and handled with your first dog is crucial before considering a new one.

Is Your Rescue Dog Social? Or Selective?

Contrary to popular belief, dogs are NOT pack animals - at least not in the way we think of a pack animal. When you look at wolves, they tend to keep to a pack in the same sense of it being a family unit. What was once considered an “alpha” is really just a parental unit with their pups, forming a strong family that doesn’t always welcome outsiders. Dogs are much the same way, bred to be with humans, humans are the natural pack that a dog searches for when given the option (and barring any trauma). The vast majority of dogs, especially within certain breeds, are not what is commonly considered as “dog friendly.” Instead the colloquial term is “dog selective.” A dog can functionally have one or two canine friends and be perfectly happy, even less in some cases. Dogs not bred to work in a group (i.e. border collies, livestock guardians, hounds) are usually much happier as lone dogs, monopolizing the love and attention of the owners that they were bred to serve and bond with.

How Old Is Your Rescue Dog?

Another factor to consider is your rescue dog’s age. Is your dog still young and spry with a breed known for its longevity? Or have they reached full “adulthood” at five or six years old? Dogs, like people, tend to do better with like-aged individuals, with the exception of certain outliers to the norm. Getting a younger dog or a puppy for your older or senior dog can spell trouble. While a lot of us like to imagine and see videos of a wise, older dog teaching and bonding with a puppy - the reality is they lose steam fast. It is fun, and funny watching the two try and keep up with each other, but the stress threshold and the tolerance peak of an older dog is much lower when compared to a puppy who is still learning boundaries and appropriate behaviors. A similarly aged dog would ideally understand when their new sibling says “I don’t like when you play like this” or “I don’t approve of this behavior with me” and respond accordingly. It is important to consider what your dog at their age is willing to tolerate to help you decide whether to find a puppy or maybe a calm, older dog just to keep them company.

So, should you get another dog?

If you read any of these and were confident in your responses, you may be ready to introduce a new member to your family unit! Introducing and acclimating your new dog will be a fun adventure for you and your first pup. K9 Role Models is happy to help with the process of introducing and giving your dogs neutral space to learn and bond together as you work to make sure everyone is comfortable in the home and the transition from “only furchild” to “sibling” goes as smoothly as possible. Adopting a dog is very rewarding, if you have the means to rescue more, its a blessing!

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