By Arianna Kitzberger from @bouncy.ivy - October 29, 2019
Welcoming a second puppy in your life
Puppies. You can’t help but smile when you hear the word. Everything about them is so innocent, adorable, and outright hysterical. Puppies know absolutely nothing about the world, aside from the fact that it is huge and filled with all things fun for them to play with, eat, and roll in. They are clumsy, naive, and totally clueless about the rules of society - in their minds, the world is their playground.
Incase you aren’t familiar with us, my name is Arianna and my two dogs are Ivy and Sierra. Ivy is a year and a half, and Sierra is a brand new, soft fluff, still-has-puppy-breath 13 week old little girl. We brought Sierra into the family in the middle of September, and boy has it been a whirlwind since. But, I wouldn’t change anything about it!
My decision to bring a new addition into the family was not easy. On the contrary, it was filled with an incredible amount of anxiety, worry, and guilt. My relationship with Ivy is something I treasure more than anything on this Earth - unique, incredible, and one of a kind. She is my best friend, and I’m not exaggerating when I say she fills my heart with the most joy I could imagine. So, how could I ever consider adding another puppy into the mix when things are already so perfect??
I had been wrestling with the possibility of adding another one for a few months, but the deciding moment was during Ivy’s and my trip to Colorado. We met up with a bunch of Instagram dog friends, and it was the best vacation we’ve ever taken. Ivy is a very social dog - but watching her play with her new friends for four days straight made me realize how happy she is when she has a companion to play with.
However, bringing a new puppy home is a lot more complicated than a few dog playdates. The new puppy is coming into your current dog’s home - wanting to play with her toys, chew on her chew toys and bones, get treats that are usually all for her, and most importantly, get attention from her human (you). It’s no secret I spoil Ivy like crazy - so for her to have to share her wealth of toys, snacks, and attention is a big deal.
The financial aspect is also something to consider - in my case, that was a big blockade for me to bring another one home. I had just started a new “adult” job, had bills to pay, and zero savings. My work is commission-based, so as I started picking up with that, I became more comfortable and stable financially. Dogs are not just about the adoption fee, or the breeder price. They are the cost of food, toys, brushes, flea and tick treatment, vet bills, emergency vet bills, daycare, boarding, etc. When you bring another puppy home, you become responsible for making sure that life can be taken care of, and taken care of well. They give you so much love, and deserve far more than we can ever give them - it’s our responsibility to take care of them.
Time is something else to consider - I work 10-11 hour days when you factor in commute time. That doesn’t leave much time, aside from my weekends. It’s all about making your dogs a priority - puppy or adult dog, as long as they’re a priority you’ll find the time to take care of them. I will choose to spend time with my dogs 10/10 times instead of going out to the bars or a party. Happy hour on a Wednesday? Count me out. The big-name music artist playing downtown? Nah, I’ll be on the couch with my dogs. Now, I’m not saying you can’t have a life outside of your dogs. But if you’re at work all day, come home to let them out for 15 minutes, then hit the social scene 5/7 nights, maybe a puppy isn’t the right decision right now.
So, all these boxes are checked and you feel ready to take on the challenge of bringing a new little one home. Here’s how the first few days went for us!
Help your dog accept the new puppy
I took a lot of steps to ensure that Ivy still knew she was my special girl, and that she would never have to compete with Sierra for anything. I started by separating toys - Ivy has a few that she loves, and those remained hers. Sierra got her own to start with too. As far as food, they are fed separately and always will be. Ivy is extremely tolerant, and puts up with a whole lot of nonsense from Sierra. But, I can tell when she’s had enough. Yes, puppies learn well from other dogs’ corrections. But, I don’t want Ivy to have to correct Sierra every single time on her own. I want her to trust that I will step in and manage our little “pack”.
The first few nights were rough. When I say I got about 2 hours of sleep total, I’m not exaggerating. Sierra HATED crate training - but she would pounce and harass Ivy all night, so she slept in the crate. I brought her outside every couple hours to help with potty training, and put lots of toys and chews in her crate to help occupy her. Making her crate a fun, comforting, and rewarding environment helped a ton with crate training.
Aside from that, Sierra was fantastic. Confident, and took on every situation I put her in with ease. I limited her exposure to other dogs, yet brought her many places with me to help socialize her - brunch with friends, to work with me, and on our first camping trip.
This journey has been tough, and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments where I regretted my decision. But, it has been entirely more rewarding than anything, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The little moments show me that this was the right decision for us - when Ivy runs to Sierra’s crate in the morning and lets her jump all over her face, when Ivy bows to initiate play with her, when they play chase all around my furniture, when they cuddle in the tent while we’re camping… these small day to day moments show me that the struggles of puppyhood are so worth it. The bond between Ivy and I (that I was so worried about hurting) has only gotten stronger. Ivy trusts me to manage Sierra’s puppy moments, and my heart is so full with the joy I see between them now.
It’s definitely different - life won’t ever be the same as before Sierra came home. This kind of different is good, though. Our family has grown by one little fluffy bundle of crazy, and our lives have become more full than I thought they could before. These girls are growing up to be best of friends, and I can’t wait to see what our future has in store.
Thanks for following along on our adventures!