Dear Miss Behavin’: We are out of the house often, and thought it would be nice to get a doggie friend for our Poodle, Terry, to keep him company. How do we go about finding him the right pal?
While it may seem obvious, a good place to start is to consider whether or not Terry wants to share his life with another dog. If he goes to the dog park, does he romp and play with the other dogs, or does he tend to keep to himself or visit with people? If the latter, Terry may prefer having a dog walker or pet sitter come for a midday visit, rather than a new doggie sibling.
If Terry is a social butterfly with dogs, pay close attention to what personality types he’s drawn to. Does he like to play “tag,” by chasing and being chased by other dogs? Or is he more the rough and tumble wrestling type? Maybe he prefers going for walks with you and your friends and their dogs. It’s important to look for a new dog whose play preferences are similar to Terry’s, so that neither dog ends up frustrated or annoyed.
A good way to ensure that the dogs get along long term is to introduce Terry to any dog you are considering bringing home before you make a final decision to adopt or buy. Keep in mind that you may fall in love with a dog, but Terry may feel differently. Go into the process planning to let Terry make the final decision. If he doesn’t like the dog on neutral meeting grounds, like a park, he is not likely to have a better reaction at home where all of his most prized possessions are. Don’t rush the process and keep Terry’s happiness and safety as your top priority.