Are you getting a dog for your dog? This may not be a bad idea, I think it’s important for dogs to be able to enjoy their life. I’ve seen some epic playdates with dogs, most of them really enjoy playing with each other. Speaking from my personal experience though, I get dogs for me and not my other dogs.
What’s the difference you ask? For me, I think it’s important the dogs value and respect each and every human in the household before they get the privilege of playing with another dog. I made some basic rules for myself, which I do break from time to time. One of the rules I have for myself is I don’t let dogs over the age of four months play with the other dogs in the pack. That doesn’t mean I don’t let them interact, I just don’t let them play because I reserve that just for the humans in my family.
I take away that ability to play with other dogs for about 20 months. That may seem a bit excessive, but for my goals, it’s about right. What I would suggest to you, if you add another dog and you see things aren’t going the way you want, look at what’s going on. Do they have free play time with your other dogs? It may be time to take that away and finding ways to play with your dog yourself.
It may not always be easy but I’d encourage you to get down on the floor with your dog and find ways to play with them. You’re going to find how willing they are to interact and play with you. They will recognize the sacrifice you’re making and appreciate you even more.
Let’s just say you’re the kind of person who really wants your dogs to play together. That’s perfectly fine. However, if you do start complaining that the dogs won’t listen to you when they’re playing, you have to find a way to show the dogs “it’s fine to play but when I call, you do have to come.”
There’s a lot of different ways to go about training that, but the number one way is to make it very valuable for the dog to come to you when they hear their name. That also means there must be consequences when they do not come when called. You may be wondering what kind of consequences should be used in that instance. That really depends on your individual dog and what type of punishment is most effective for them.
When you’re considering getting a dog for your dog, you just want to be careful about not letting the relationship with the other dogs be more important than the relationship with you.
I’d also like to add, let’s say you’re taking your dog to the dog park and your dog gets really excited about that and they play really well at the dog park. We as humans happen to assign all of that joy and emotion they feel back to us but your dog only associates that to the other dogs and not you.
I feel getting on the floor or going to the backyard and playing and interacting with them is the best way to form an amazing relationship. If your dog can do those things you want really well, then give them all of the privileges you possibly can.