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I just wanted to get your advice on when to get a second dog. We have a 2 year old german shepherd mix (female) and are considering adopting another rescue dog- maybe a puppy this time since I'm a stay at home mom and will have time to work with them on house training. What do you think? Part of me wants my dogs to be close in age so they can play together while they're both young and grow old together-- but the pessimistic side makes me think about losing them both around the same time down the road...should we wait a few more years to get a puppy? or would you suggest an adult dog now or maybe in a few years? Thanks!


Hi Ashley,

I'm all for people who want to add a dog to their household!

First, does your dog enjoy the company of other dogs? Introducing another dog or puppy to your home will be a lot easier if your dog likes dogs!  It's really your choice if you get a puppy or an adult dog. There will be a period of adjustment, and supervision with either one. Judging from my own past experiences, there also may be a period of "oh god what have I done", which (again, from my own past experiences) will pass!!

Adopting an adult dog is adopting a known entity, whereas you won't really know exactly what a puppy will be like until it's grown. Another option is adopting a dog a couple of years older than your currant dog. A four or five year old dog isn't geriatric, and will give you MANY happy years. Keep in mind that the smaller the dog, the longer it generally lives, and dogs under 30 pounds are less likely to develop hip dysplasia. Mixed breed dogs are generally healthier than pure-bred dogs.

I would suggest getting a neutered male dog or puppy. Owning two female dogs, even if they are spayed, can lead to increased aggression between dogs. If you decide on an adult dog, try to evaluate it's temperament, so it's complimentary to your existing dog's temperament.  That is to say, if your current dog is bold and dominate, your second dog should be more submissive in nature.  Many rescue groups and shelter do temperament testing, which makes adopting a dog easier. Be sure to ask to see if this has been done. You can read here on how to evaluate a dog's temperament here:

And for temperament testing a puppy:

Planning for the reality of dealing with two elderly dogs down the road is wise. It's good if you can purposefully space out their ages.

If you decide on getting a dog or puppy, introduce them in a neutral area, which is a place your current dog doesn't have a claim to. You will want the dogs to spend supervised time together, but also give them one-on-one time. Here's some info on introducing a second dog to a household:

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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