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Should you get a second dog?



As much as everyone loves the family's four-legged best friend, why consider adding another dog to the mix? It might be that the kids have fallen in love with the new puppies down the block and they're begging to bring one home. Perhaps you've seen that stray in the neighborhood looking lonely and afraid for the past several days. Maybe it just seems like a good idea to open up the house and your hearts to another dog. Whatever the reason, bringing a second companion home is a wonderful decision that you won't regret.

The family dog is a source of devoted company from relaxing walks on a pretty day to communal dozing in front of the television set. Frisbees weren't invented for your dog, but he doesn't know that, so he plays his heart out. For all he gives you, there's one thing you can't return: the companionship of his own kind. Dogs are social animals, and that's why they make wonderful pets. They're pack animals, and that's why they love chasing squirrels together. Bringing a second dog into the family gives your old best friend a new best friend.

Mixing age, gender or breed is a personal choice, but a second dog will catch on to the family routine faster than you think. He'll quickly adjust to new rules because he'll follow the example of your first dog. Even puppies respond to this kind of socialization, and they're easier to house break when they live with an older dog. Two best friends keep each other company when the family heads off for the day, so they're more likely to stay out of trouble. Your older dog will double down on his backyard exercise routine with a new playmate, and two barks are always better than one when there's a stranger knocking at the door.

When you decide to add a new best friend, try to set up the introductions on neutral ground. Most dogs have their own system of good manners, so let them greet and sniff while you stay back. If all goes well, you can look forward to a smooth transition and a house filled with twice the canine love and energy. Your two dogs can look forward to a lifetime of companionship, play and the company of someone else who really understands how important it is to chase squirrels, bark at the mailman and conquer those flying frisbees.

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