Are you considering adding another dog to your pack? There are some things to consider before doing so, such as:
1. How stable is the current pack?
2. Are there issues between your dogs that need to be worked out first?
3. How do your dogs react to other dogs at the dog park?
4. What is the current energy level in the home?
5. Who is in charge currently?
That last question is the key, because in order for a successful pack to exist in your home, you need to be the leader. Period.
Why? Because dogs are pack animals. Pure and simple. According to Cesar Millan in his best-selling book, Cesar’s Way, a dog’s pack mentality actually shapes his behavior. Everything he does is in relation to this mentality. If you do not step up to the role of leader of the pack and demand obedience regarding limits, boundaries and rules, your pups will be insecure and the results will often be chaotic. Before introducing a new dog into your home, an understanding of this concept is essential. Millan guides you through the process in a way that makes perfect sense.
If your existing pack is unstable, adding another dog will only create more problems, so it is best to hold off until current problems are resolved.
Another way to determine if your pack is ready to add another member involves taking your pups out in public to local dog parks, or arrange “play dates” with friends’ dogs. Watch the interactions between the animals. Dogs that are secure in their own packs, with a human leader, will be comfortable playing with other dogs. If there are huge issues when your dogs encounter other canines, you have to realize the transition will not go smoothly when you bring another pup home.
Sometimes people make the mistake of adding dogs with very different dispositions and energy levels than is currently in the home. You may have calm, low energy dogs and long for a playful pooch with a touch of hyperactivity. Unfortunately, this generally will cause nothing more than a problem. You want dogs that have the same temperaments.
Before the introductions, give your dogs loads of exercise and walks. You want them to be submissive and calm. Do not let them sense any nervousness you may be feeling. If you are showing any amount of insecurity, your very perceptive pooches will pick up on it and you will not get the results you are hoping for when they meet the new member of the family.
Once you bring the newbie home, it is vital you treat all the dogs equally. Do not fall into the trap of coddling the older dogs because you are afraid of jealousy issues. Again, Millan’s wisdom comes into play:
“You need to treat both dogs equally – from the calm-assertive position of pack leader. Dogs who are followers in a pack don’t fight one another for the number two and number three positions. They should be concentrating all their energies on following your rules, boundaries, and limitations.”
Living with a pack can be fun, exciting and rewarding. But it can also be chaotic, stressful and disconcerting if the dogs in your pack are in constant competition for a leader. Do your research and be the leader they need you to be. The results? A successful blending of pups that is bound to be a sheer delight.