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Adding a Second Dog

Hello John
We have a 4 year old golden retriever (neutured)  who is very well behaved and the love of our life.  My husband and I were thinking of adding a second dog by getting another golden (female) pup but were wondering if this will interfere with the great relationship we have with the 4 year old.  Any thoughts or recommendations?
D.C. Delaware

Hi Deb,

The trick with bringing a pup into household with an existing dog or two dogs at the same time for that matter is to make sure that the bond they develop together doesn’t override the bond you hope to build with yourself. That can make training a little harder and can be a little disappointing on a personal level from the “man/woman best friend” perspective. I find that is easily overcome by making sure the pup’s leash is left on a lot so that you can connect whenever you wish to. Clipping it to your belt for a while every day can really help. The pup just has to follow you about as you do your thing around the house.
Gender and personality can impact the relationship the dogs have with each other as well but it often doesn’t rear its head in an ugly way until the youngster gets to the point of achieving young adulthood. I’ve found the the likelihood of conflict is higher when the dogs are of the same gender. There can be scraps for hierarchy, particularly if the dog owner has left it up for grabs by not living with the dogs in such a way that they both understand that it’s not their house, they’re in fact just living there.
John Wade

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2 thoughts on “Adding a Second Dog”


    My friends are trying to adopt my female yellow lab – she is about to turn 7 & their female chocolate lab is 8 – we had a meet & greet which went ok – their dog had issues with their owners petting & giving any attention to my dog – can this be resolved????

    1. Hi Grace,

      It depends on what you mean by “issues”. Can you elaborate whether she is trying to ‘butt in’ or is she snarling in warning, or going all out and attacking?

      I work with a lot of people in 2 dog households where the dogs aren’t getting along (actually knock down drag out fights). There are a variety of triggers, some of which can be dealt with and others not so much. Experienced breeders will tell you that they occasionally have to keep some female dogs separated and sometimes even have to re-home one. It isn’t something that is usually a problem until the younger starts to act more adult like and the older becomes less tolerant as in their mind the puppy is gone and a competitor has arrived. Fights can be quite severe and it can be dangerous to try and break them up. I recommend keeping a CO2 fire extinguisher handy for emergencies as it in almost all situations will break up the fight without risking life and limb of the combatants or the humans. The worst dog bite injuries I’ve seen are when companion dog owners are trying to break up a dog fight. So be cautious.

      Competition between female dogs can be fierce particularly when one or both has had a litter. Sometimes they simply cannot co-exist. However, in many of the dog to dog aggression cases I’ve worked on, if it hasn’t gone on too long there are strategies you can put in place to address the competitiveness between the dogs which is surprising to many of their owners is not due to issues between the dogs but with the relationship with the dog owner as percieved by the dogs.

      I recommend to anyone interested in getting a second dog to read the following:


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