From Eric Wyatt

Preston!

I have a three year old lab mix and I want to get another rescue dog. What’s the best way to find out what dog breed, size, etc would be a good fit?

Hey Eric!

Congratulations on your decision to adopt a deserving rescue dog!  That’s a big commitment, and I commend you for wanting to rescue your new best friend.  When I think about the fact that five to seven MILLION companion animals enter the shelter system each year, I a-paw-laud anyone with the compassion to give homeless pets a second chance. My sister Penelope Supafly was rescued by a phenomenal organization in Southern California called Noah’s Bark, and I can’t imagine not having her in our family’s life!  As much as she was a pain in my tail for the first year or so ;)

You are definitely wise to seriously consider the TYPE of dog you adopt, since you already have your beloved three year old lab mix.  I would simply ask your dog what he or she is looking for in a new brother or sister.  But if you haven’t learned to speak dog (yet!) then spend a little time observing your current dog’s behavior around other dogs.  Some dogs (like me) are distinguished, well-mannered canines who much prefer the company of humans, or other independent dogs who won’t bother us.  Other dogs (like my sister and brother!) are far less sophisticated, and cherish the companionship of their own species.  If your dog is only three years young, he or she would probably love a playmate!  So I might recommend another young dog with a similar energy level… but that is a very personal decision, which you should take the time to research.  While you might enjoy living with two larger-sized dogs… size does NOT matter… your lifestyle does.

Ask yourself – How much time are you willing to spend training your new dog? How much time can you dedicate to exercising and socializing your two dogs?  Does anyone in your family have allergies?  What breed mixes do you find yourself gushing over?  Do you travel much?  And if so, by car or by plane?  Us little dogs can be a blast to jet set with!  And many of us are just as social, smart and enthusiastic about ruff play as our larger relatives.  Then again, if you have small children, it’s sometimes better to stay away from dogs that are too tiny for kids who may accidentally drop or injure us!  There are many factors to consider when choosing the right mix -  including age, size, coat, personality, energy level, exercise needs, and breed background.  But most importantly, I would respect your three year old lab mix and try to figure out who he or she will best connect with.  Does he or she tend to love/hate smaller dogs?  Does he or she have any issues with same sex dogs?  My friends at Animal Planet have built a helpful “dog breed selector” tool online that may help you choose.  And my dog trainer mommy Laura Nativo would always recommend you chat with a trusted dog expert like a trainer or veterinarian for a second opinion!

I wish you and your lab mix all the best in adopting a new family member.  Whomever you choose, remember that pet ownership is a serious responsibility, and commit to be in it for the long haul.  It’s not always easy to add a second or third dog to your family, and it may take some time for everyone to adjust.  To be honest, I hated my sister Penelope Supafly in the beginning.  And I couldn’t stand my youngest brother Winston Churchill either!  I was older when mom decided to bring two new dogs into our life, and I really wasn’t ready to share her.  It took a while for me to chill out, and accept the fact that I was no longer an only child.  But mom was fantastic about making sure EACH of us furkids always have one-on-one time for play, training, and exploring the world.

Now, I am absolutely in love with my canine siblings, and can’t imagine life without them!  So please, be patient, and give each of your pets the love, time, and attention they deserve.  Dog training classes are a great way to learn skills to better manage your canine kids… and if any issues become too challenging to face alone, there are incredible dog behaviorists all over the world, eager to help you and your dogs learn a language everyone can understand.  Please share photos of your new rescue, and let me know if you have any other questions!

Wag on my friends…

<3 Preston Casanova