Friday, September 25, 2009

Dog Buying Tips: One or More Dogs?

     Having two or more dogs in the house is not just nice for us, but also for the dogs themselves.  Dogs get a lot of pleasure from their own company.  Remember that they are pack animals.
     If you want two young dogs, it’s best not to buy them both at the same time.  Bringing up a dog and establishing the bond between dog and its master takes time.  Having two puppies in your household means you have to equally divide your attention between them.  Aside from that, there’s the danger that they will focus on one another rather than their master.  Buy the second puppy when the first is (almost) an adult dog.
     Two adult dogs can happily be brought into the home together, provided they’re used to each other.  If this is not the case, then they will have to go through that process.  It is usually best achieved by letting them get to know each other on neutral ground.  This prevents fights for territory.  On neutral territory, maybe a friend’s backyard where neither dog has been before, both dogs are basically equal.  Once they’ve gotten to know each other, you can take them both home, and they can sort out the hierarchy there amongst themselves.  In any event, don’t get involved in trying to “arbitrate.”  That is human, but for the dog that’s at the top of the hierarchy, it’s like having its position undone.  It will only make the dog more dominant in its behavior, of course, with all its consequences.  Once the hierarchy is established, most dogs do get along fine together.
     Getting a puppy when the first dog is somewhat older provides a positive effect on the older dog.  The influence of the puppy almost seems to give it a second childhood.  The older dog, if brought up well, can help with the upbringing of the youngster.  Puppies like to imitate the behavior of their elders.  Don’t forget to give each dog the same amount of attention.  Give the older dog enough opportunity to be peaceful and quiet.  The older dog wouldn’t want a very enthusiastic youngster running around its feet most the time.  Additionally, a puppy needs to sleep a lot and may have to put some brakes on it once in a while.  The combination of a male and a female requires special attention and it’s good idea to get a second dog of the same sex.  This will avoid a lot of potential problems.  Spaying (female sterilization) and neutering (male castration) is, of course, one solution, but it’s a last resort.  A spayed or neutered animal will loose its ability to reproduce.
     (This article is part of the series - Tips on Buying a Dog).
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