Q. Dear Dr Joanne,
I would like to get another dog for companionship. I already have a 3 year old Maltese. He is excellent company but I was thinking about adopting a rescue dog. What do you think? Should I get another boy or would a girl make life easier?
A. Dear Margaret,
Good on you for thinking about another pet and it is always good to hear about an unwanted dog getting a home. The choice of dog is ultimately your decision but here are a few pointers:
- Dogs that are close in age and status tend to compete more within a household. Adding a female dog to your existing male dog’s household will ease this potentially conflicting situation.
- Choose a breed of dog and an individual with a personality that will fit into your lifestyle and remember that no two dogs have the same personality
- Introduce your existing dog to all potential new dogs and make sure they get along before you bring one home. Introductions on neutral ground usually work better than on one dog’s territory.
- When you bring your new dog home, again introduce the dogs gradually. Keep the dogs separate unless you are there to supervise their interactions and give each dog lots of individual time with you.
- Follow the normal rules of bringing a dog home. If you are changing the diet, swap gradually from one food type to your usual dog food. Take your new dog outside to toilet regularly. Praise all good behaviour.
- Remember that teething problems are normal in any new relationship but if you do have ongoing problems, please seek help.
Lastly, choose a dog when YOU are ready for one. your dog will survive and thrive with or without a canine companion. The best time to get another dog is when you are ready for one.