Anyone Can Train Their Dog
By Art Hess
Guest Contributor :
Dr. Patricia McConnell
Considering Another Dog?
There is a lot to think about when considering adding another dog to your household, whether you currently have one dog, or an entire pack. Here are some of the most important things to ponder if another dog might be in your future:
What effect will another dog have on the resident dog? Some dogs love having other dogs in the house. Others consider them nothing more than competition for attention and food. Ask yourself: Does your dog like other dogs? Does he feel differently if they are in his house and sharing the water bowl? What about sharing your time and attention?
If your dog likes other dogs, does it matter if it’s male or female? In general, it’s better to mix sexes and have one male and one female in the house. But dogs don’t read that chapter, and there are only two sexes to choose from—what if you want three dogs, or four? Be sure you are aware how your dog reacts to members of the same or opposite sex.
What about personality and play styles? Some dogs like to play rough and wrestle, while others prefer to play “Let’s Race!”. Some dogs are easily cowed and would be a bad match for a pushy personality striding into the house and taking over. Be sure that the dogs’ personalities and play styles are a good match.
What effect will another dog have on you and your family? Two dogs are not necessarily twice the work of one; sometimes the increase in work is exponential.
Another dog might reduce the time you spend with one dog if they entertain and exercise each other. However, there’s an old sheepdog trainer saying: “The only thing one dog will learn from another is a bad habit.” Be warned.
Barking is contagious. If you have a dog who barks a lot when visitors come, expect a full-throated chorus from two, three or four.
If you take your dog(s) on leash walks, think about the logistics of taking several dogs at the same time. Sometimes you’ll need to take the dogs out separately, especially when the new comer first arrives. Be sure you have the time to do that.
Between paying for vet bills, food and toys, multiple dogs can strain your bank account. Look carefully at your budget.
What’s Your Plan B? What if the dog you have chosen looks like a perfect match—until it doesn’t? It’s always good to be patient, and to do all you can to help a new dog settle in. But even the wisest and best plan may need to be revised. Always have a good idea about what to do if things don’t work out before bringing a new dog into your home.
Enjoy Your Pack! Don’t let these considerations discourage you once you have thought them through.
Column: Anyone Can Train Their Dog
Raised and educated in Alberta and pursued a mixed career of business, livestock and real estate. Had a life-long passion for working with dogs and horses. Next came 12 years near Victoria on Vancouver Island where we had several more business’ and then the “Dear, let’s sell everything and move to Mexico phase.”