Getting a dog or becoming a multi-dog household is more complicated than this sounds. In deciding the right number of dogs for you, here are a few things to consider.
Just as a puppy requires training and socialization, older dogs, dogs with special needs, and those with behavioral issues need your care and attention. It’s important to resolve issues like aggression before getting another dog.
Next, consider whether you have the time, space, and money for another dog. You’ll need to budget for the added cost of food, grooming, veterinary care, and pet insurance.
“People tell me they have allergies and are hoping to find the best dog that doesn’t make them allergic,” says Fisher. “I can’t think of any.” Although some dogs are less likely to induce allergy symptoms, there is no breed that is 100% hypoallergenic.
Aside from allergies, the rest of your household needs to feel comfortable with getting a dog. “I’ve had people get dogs when their children are scared,” says Fisher. “Kids will act inappropriately and then the dog feels threatened.”
When your dog arrives, will you be starting a new job or moving residences? If your dog has traveled a long distance or lived in a different environment (e.g. farm, rescue shelter, another country), they’ll need time to adjust.
Moreover, dogs have different grooming, training, and exercise needs. For a double-coated dog, “be prepared to comb or desensitize the dog to being handled,” says Fisher. “With multiple dogs, you can start training them separately and then see how they are together.”
“People have a certain look about the dogs they want and haven’t really considered the breed along with the personality,” explains Fisher. Getting a dog from the same breeder doesn’t guarantee the new dog will share your enthusiasm for activities like dog sports.
Breeders often steer people away from getting more than one puppy at a time. This advice also applies to older dogs since it’s hard to bond with them individually.
When you’re introducing the dogs, watch for signs of aggression such as stiff posture or growling. “Understand when it’s not going well, see how you can interrupt it, and teach them appropriate play,” advises Fisher.