(Photo credit: Kelly Putnam, m.c.g.i.n.s.t.a.g.r.a.m)

Read on to decide when the timing is right for you and your family. 

My dog, Mazlo, is nine years old, and gosh, I couldn’t love him any more than I already do! 

Still, the temptation is always there to get a second dog. (If you’re a fellow dog lover, you KNOW the pull!) 

How great would it be to have another furry friend in our family and give Mazlo a peppy, new sidekick?

But have I waited too long? 

Should I have gotten dogs closer in age, the same way some parents plan their kids close together? 

THAT is the question – and it’s one you might be asking yourself, too. 

Of course, going back in time to get Mazlo a sibling nine years ago isn’t a possibility.  (Sadly, there’s no Delorean sitting in my driveway!)

So, the question remains: 

Are there advantages to waiting to get a second dog? 

As it turns out, there are five – and maybe more! But for the sake of this post, we’ll stick with five. 😉  Here they are … 

5 benefits of waiting to get a second dog: 

1. A Calmer Household 

Everyone who’s ever owned a puppy knows that their energy level is almost always set to MAXIMUM. The trouble with having two dogs close in age is that you’re *literally* multiplying this high energy level by two. Maybe you’re thinking, “No sweat, I’ve got this!” But not everyone can manage two energetic dogs and their desire to romp ALL the time. If you seek a calmer household, then waiting until your primary pooch is older to get a second dog will be more your speed. 

2. Closer Bonding 

Here’s an often-overlooked danger of getting two pups close in age: The young one may bond more with the slightly older one than you! Your young pup may be too busy shadowing his or her older sibling to notice you – and when they’re together, you may struggle to get both of their attention. So, if you’re craving a deeper bonding experience with your new pup, wait until your first one is much older and is happy to get a break sometimes from the puppy energy!

3. Built-In Training Support 

With that said, your young-pup-and-older-dog duo can sometimes make your life easier. The benefit of having an older dog established in the home is that they can guide the pup and actually help with the training. For example, if your older dog is great at recall, then the younger one will follow when called. If your older dog is great at “staying,” the young pup will look to the older dog for inspiration, manage their impulsivity and begin to learn intuitively how the rules work. 

4. More Manageable Grief 

Ah, this is the part we don’t like to talk about … losing our precious dogs. The fact is, when pups are close in age, they also get old together. (Yep, it’s just math!) That could mean a double dose of grief if they pass away around the same time. Again, not something we like to dwell on – because the happy moments make it all worthwhile – but it’s something you may want to consider. Waiting until your first dog is older to add to the family will help mitigate the grieving process. 

5. Keep your older dog a big younger longer

As your first dog begins to age, you will notice them slowing down.  Even dogs 3-4 years old begin to lose some of their pep. When timed right, the older dog might enjoy the puppy’s energy and get invigorated by the playfulness of having a lively pup around.

Photo credit: Kristin Serra, Our Western Journey

Now, allow me to contradict myself … 

The five points above aren’t the end-all and be-all of getting a new dog. Maybe you love the idea of having two young pups at the same time – kind of like bravely tackling the baby diaper phase all at once! 

Plus, if you wait TOO long and your primary dog has settled into old age, they just might find the young pup’s enthusiasm and energy annoying. 

(I mean … Can you really blame your older dog if he just wants to nap and he’s got a young, buck  jumping all over him?!) 😄

Regardless of your dog’s age and when you decide the time is right to get another one,  make sure the transition is handled delicately. 

The introduction of a new puppy should be handled with care, so your older dog welcomes this new family member instead of feeling threatened by him/her. The last thing you want is an old-fashioned case of sibling rivalry! And as the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Want expert support in training your new pup? 

Even if you are not new to this puppy raising business, there might still be some things you wish you had done differently the first go around! And, if your older dog has behaviors you don’t want puppy to pick up, you might need some help figuring out how to improve your training game!

The best time to teach your new dog good behaviors is right from the start, so he/she melds well with the rest of your family and is a joy to take on walks, errands, and even family trips.  Rather than Googling, “How to train a dog” and finding a TON of conflicting information, you can get everything you need in The Puppy System. This four-week, online course provides fun, step-by-step training, resources, and support to help you raise the best hound in town! 

And, many of my clients who have older dogs, or have raised many dogs in the past tell me they had no idea (literally no idea) that their dogs were capable of so much! If you want the best relationship with your new puppy, and you want to start off on the right foot… download Bringing Puppy Home free mini course to get started. Happy Training!