Help! I want a second dog but I don’t want to mess up.

(…just so this blog doesn’t get too wordy, I’ve thrown in some photos of Mr. Ru for good measure.)


It’s true. I struggle with these conflicting feelings on a pretty consistent basis. The dog lover in me longs for a second companion, especially as I see Rufus grow older and slow down a little bit. We just moved to Colorado, so hiking is back in full swing. And while Rufus can still hike with the best of them, I know he’s going to require more TLC as the weather heats up. If I don’t have a dog to hike with, it’s a whole lot less exciting. The dog is like 80% of the fun!

But as soon as I get in full second dog mode, the doubts start creeping in.

What if she has separation anxiety or other behavioral issues? Even if we go through a foster-based rescue, those traits can sneak in very easily. I should know. I had many fosters with severe separation anxiety. And now that we live in a full-blown complex, the idea of a screeching pup stresses me the heck out! And let’s not even get into the idea of having another reactive dog to manage…

What if she’s too high energy? You know. The kind of dog who can’t settle. The pup who needs a job to do 24/7. I’m all for training and tricks and excitement, but we are a super chill family. Like…we need a pup who knows how to Netflix hard on Sundays just as much as they need to love the outdoors.

-What if Rufus feels betrayed? Ok, this isn’t a real fear. Despite his grumpy nature, Rufus is pretty easy to match up with the right dog. His type: mostly females (or submissive but confident males), a little feisty but not hyperactive, under 70 lbs, and not too fluffy. Yes that’s right. My dog hates super fluffy dogs. He’s the worst/best. So as much as I’d love to pick out our second dog, I know Rufus will get the last word.

-What if we don’t connect? I have had fosters that were perfectly fine pups but I never really connected with them. And while I didn’t hate my time with them, I was very happy to see them go to their forever homes. It turns out I’m just as picky as my dude, which is fine but also a little scary when going into finding a second dog.


So…I guess what I’m realizing is that I should probably foster for a little while before diving into the “forever dog” territory just to see how it feels. I think that’s the best solution, right?

I would love to hear from those of you who have had similar struggles when adding a second (or third or fourth) dog into your home. What doubts did you have? How did you overcome detachment feelings if you had them? Am I just being an over-dramatic weirdo?  Seriously, guys. I want to hear it all!




7 thoughts on “Help! I want a second dog but I don’t want to mess up.

  1. I have been there, many times. I felt guilt when I added Melvin. Max was dying and they could not have been at more opposite life stages. But you know how my love story with Melvin panned out. Then I added Jake. And Jake leapt off the couch onto my heart dogs head, REGULARLY. But they were written in the stars and my little family formed during that chaos. Then there was Doug. I didn’t have other dogs to worry about integrating him with and that was good because he was/is high energy and I was so grief stricken that I wasn’t even sure we’d bond.

    My finding: love lives on, loves grows wildly and beautifully as your family grows and you face the problems when they arrive, not when they are hypotheticals. You face them because love shows you how.

    Another dog out there, deserves your gloriousness!! xoxo

    • I love that! “As your family grows ad you face the problems when they arrive, not when they are hypothetical.” Truth be told, I make up a whole lotta stories in my head as worst case scenarios. I’ve dealt with dogs of all energy levels and personalities, so I know I can handle most things. I just have this idea of what a two-dog household looks like. Maybe I need to stop wondering and get to it already! Thanks, lady! ❤

  2. It may take some time but I think the right dog will cone along for you.

    We added Dottie to our family when she was a puppy and Boomer was 2 years old. He was still energetic but pretty laid back. We knew a girl would be the best match for him. He was a wonderful big brother and taught her so much!

    • Yes definitely leaning towards a girl! It’s a fine balance because I know I could handle a pretty high drive dog, but I think that kind of energy would drive Rufus nuts haha. Everyone must be happy, right?

  3. Fostering sounds like a good idea, you and Rufus might find the perfect second dog during the process. We didn’t do much thinking when it came to getting Bundy, Maxi was 6 and liked other dogs so we ‘foster failed’ with Bundy as a puppy. Despite the issues (resource guarding, anxiety) as Bundy got older and decided that he was going to be the boss, they enjoyed each other’s company 99% of the time and Maxi seemed to rediscover her playful side. Now we only have Bundy, he is 10 and the anxiety he experienced sharing with another dog is no longer there so although a second dog would be nice I’m not going to do it to him. He has friends around the neighbourhood but he loves being an only child and at his age, that seems fair.

    Good luck and give Rufus a hug for me, such a handsome devil 🙂

    • Thank so much for the input! I agree that I just need to dive back into fostering and take it from there. Part of me just wants a forever dog straight away, but I know that may not be the easiest way to go. I know Rufus will adapt to any dog but I would really love to find a “friend” for him, ya know? We are all so set in our ways…a new pup should shake things up nicely! haha

  4. We wanted a second dog for Sammie, as she loved being around other dogs and thought a playmate would do her well! We searched and searched and I actually fell in love with Emma from her picture online. Despite my picking her out, I had a really hard time bonding with her for fear of Sammie thinking she’d been “replaced”. It took a while, but we’ve settled into a nice routine, and I love them equally for their very different personalities. So even when you find “the one”, there can still be some growing pains!

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