Are you enjoying raising and loving your current dog? Are you considering a brother or sister to add to your family? What is the best age gap between dogs?
You’re probably concerned that he is lonesome and would benefit from a playmate. All of these are natural thoughts. It is important to know that there are challenges with introducing another dog into your family, mainly when there is an older canine sibling to consider.
Before we look at what is the best age gap between dogs, we should explore if you really can handle a new dog.
Are two dogs better than one?
Dogs are the epitome of endless joy. They can make your day with their hilarious theatrics and are just adorable and huggable after a long hard day.
What could be better than coming home to one dog? Well, two dogs sound like double the fun.
Getting a second furry friend has tons of positives for several reasons.
Your dogs can keep each other active and busy and help each other with boredom while you’re at work or school or running errands.
An advantage is not finding your floors covered in toilet paper or some other chaos! Two dogs bonding together will help them both deal with separation anxiety when you’re not around. Less stress means LESS DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOURS. Win-win!
Keeping your dogs active
Old dogs may not be able to learn new tricks, but they sure can teach and help train a new dog and offer guidance.
For an older dog, you’re not allowing them to be complacent. You can actually reinvigorate them with the new bundle of energy entering the family.
You’re saving a life.
Adopting a second dog means that you’re saving another life.
There are millions of dogs in animal shelters across the country. You’re directly assisting in proving a new pet with a safe and loving home.
It doesn’t cost double to have two dogs
Double the adorableness does not mean double the costs. That’s right, aside from regular check-ups, having two dogs doesn’t mean it will cost you much more. Dogs can share many of their goodies, from the best puppy toys to beds to grooming products and more.
You will get great bargains purchasing larger bags of food and treats.
Suppose you’ve made the decision that you’re ready for an addition to your furry family. In that case, it’s now essential to think about the timing of getting a second dog.
Be careful of ‘Littermate Syndrome’
There is an assumption that a close age gap between two dogs makes sense, especially when you’re so excited with your first pup that too much of a good thing can’t be all that bad.
‘Littermate syndrome’ is definitely something to be cautious about if you introduce a new puppy too early into the family. When two puppies are raised together, they may not develop as individuals and become overly bonded, which results in behavioral problems when they reach adulthood.
Puppies may bond more with each other than with other humans. It’s crucial that if you are raising two puppies at the same time, that they are kept, trained, and socialized separately, which is a lot more work.
So, what is the ideal age between two dogs?
The age gap between dogs is often an emotional decision as much as it is about logic. Most dog-owners want an age gap between their dogs to reduce the chances of both canines passing away due to old age at the same time.
It would be devastating to mourn two of your best friends within a short amount of time.
Dog-owners, trainers, and experts seem to be unanimous in their shared belief. As long as your first dog has completed his basic training and is young enough to still entertain playtime, that is the ideal age to introduce a new dog to the home.
Some are more conservative and estimate that two years is a decent-sized age gap. By two years, your first dog will be suitably trained and settled into your family before you have to repeat the process again.
An older dog will also help train your pup, especially guiding the young one who may be overly excited about nipping and jumping.
Other dog enthusiasts are more cautious and suggest four years seems to be a more reasonable age gap. This is a long time between puppies! It might be a touch TOO conservative, given the millions of success stories when the ages are MUCH closer together.
Some believe that age difference doesn’t play an essential role between two dogs as it is not the main factor as to whether dogs will cohabitate well.
Remembering that your role as a dog owner is to provide balance and attention to the very different needs you will be faced with and expected to manage.
Like people, dogs have their own personalities. Some prefer their own space, especially those who are older and suffering from health issues.
You have dogs that could also naturally be bullies around other dogs. Dogs may show teeth in a disagreement over a prized toy or during playtime (especially if one gets more annoyed). Each situation is unique and depends on the characteristics of your pets and their home environment.
What to look out for when adopting a puppy, when you already have a dog.
Not all families are the same, so this is a complex discussion. Personality is extraordinary to consider when bringing a new puppy into the home.
If your first dog is dominant, it would not be the best idea to bring in a pup who, too, wants to rule the house. This could bring unnecessary tension into the family. Two dominant dogs will fight all the time and may even lead to a situation where one needs to be rehomed.
Much like an older sibling reacts to a newborn, it’s crucial for you as a dog owner to prepare for rebellious behavior from your older dog when introducing a new puppy. Some dog owners say their existing dog took 6 months at least to settle down and accept the new dynamics.
A new dog can bring some rejuvenation to your current dog as well as important companionship. However, there are scenarios when the older dog is less than impressed with their space suddenly a lot more chaotic and different by adding a new puppy to the mix, and your new pup may end up being ignored.
Puppies can be annoying, especially if your dog is older and suffering from health issues. Your older dog may not have the patience to deal with all this energy and demand for her attention. As mentioned earlier, there is also the issue of potential animosity between your two pets.
Adopting another dog to replace one who has passed away
This is a common question with dog owners and their pets who are mourning the loss of their furry friends. This is a difficult choice to make when two dogs have been raised together and have bonded so well. It can be hard to see the remaining dog sad and alone, primarily when you reflect on how active they were and the relationship they had.
It’s advised that dog owners think about the adoption of a new pet cautiously in this instance. Perhaps it would be better for your dog to remain on their own than having to put up with a new dog.
Dogs, much like people, are adaptable. Suppose you are a senior dog owner yourself. It may suit you and your dog far better to ease into a slower-paced lifestyle than introducing new challenges that you both aren’t prepared for.
You don’t have to get a second dog.
There are actually essential reasons that you should consider that argue that you shouldn’t get another dog.
Pressure from your family – pleading kids or a partner who begs for a second pet can be hard to ignore.
The truth is, beyond appeasing the puppy dog eyes from your family, getting a second dog is a massive life decision.
Everyone needs to be on the same page about what it will mean for dynamics in the household and the responsibilities of taking care of another life.
It could also mean double the hair found on every available surface, double the mess. If your current pet has separation anxiety, a second dog may not solve this issue.
According to the American Kennel Club, an anxious dog may actually transfer his anxiety to the new dog. Socializing your first pet and trying to alter aggressive behavior may not be solved with an additional pet in the household. It is vital to deal with your current pet’s behavioral issues first.
If you’re not ready to bring another dog into your home, perhaps it’s not the right time, or you’re still unsure, there are a couple of options that you can consider.
One option is to try out doggy daycare or hire a dog walker so that your current dog receives that interaction with other dogs regularly. There are even services where you can borrow your dog to other families or have other people’s dogs to stay with you.
The ideal age gap between dogs is that once your first dog has received all its basic training, it has matured to (at least be an older puppy). For many owners, this is around two years of age.
It really is up to you whether you and how you are capable of raising your furry family. Do you have several dogs? What have you found is the best age gap between them, and why? Feel free to share your experiences below.