Smart Dog U's August Newsletter: When & Why to Add Another Dog to Your Family
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puppy, puppy training, dog training, service dog training, dog classes, Smart Dog, Frederick dog training,Sweet Summer. Before you know it, fall will be here. The dogs and I are headed out for vacation this month. Ten days at the lake! Who'll be happier, I wonder? We'll get the chance to see sweet Monti again, as we swap Schooner for Monti for just the week.

Have you ever wanted to add another dog to your family, but wondered what things to consider before taking the plunge? Having brought 15 dogs into our house over the last 12 years as puppy raisers, we think this article can help you decide when and why to add a dog.

Hope your summer's going well and you and your dog have gotten out and about to enjoy one another!

Laurie Luck, Professional Dog Trainer
Operation Socialization Certified Trainer
Faculty, Karen Pryor Academy

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When & Why to Add Another Dog to Your Family

Do you find yourself contemplating adding another dog to your household? Wonder what things you should be considering before you decide to do it? Thinking about how to decide if it’s a good idea or not? This month’s article will take you through two very important questions: WHEN and WHY to add another dog to your house. 

As puppy raisers, we are in the unusual position of "trying out" a dog IF we get the opportunity to keep one. We’ve raised 15 dogs so far. There were a few service dogs in training that we wouldn't have kept even if we had the room because they just weren't a good fit with our dogs and our lifestyle. Most people don't have the chance to live with a dog for a year to see if they're a good fit though, so how do YOU figure out if you should add another dog to your household?

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Schooner's Schooling

Schooner's starting to get into the swing of the whole "working for kibble" thing. I admit, there for a few months, I was wondering if his brains were going to kick in at all! With some real-world experience (read: getting out in public almost every day), his brain has finally started humming. He's not in high gear, nor will he win any obedience competitions anytime soon, but at least he's a willing participant now in training sessions. 

He's had several play dates with other dogs as well, including the dear, sweet Siena -- who is now very appropriately named Gracie -- and a neighbor dog who gives Schooner a real run for his money. While Schooner's playmates are usually bigger dogs, we had the chance to watch his small-doggie social skills in action at a local AAA baseball game. He met a few really small dogs and (much to my relief) investigated them politely and appropriately. 

Schooner is planning a backup career just in case the service dog gig doesn't work out. He's going to be a fashion designer. Specifically, a shoe designer. Last month he modified one of my running shoes. I now have the perfectly unmatched set of running shoes. All the girls at the gym will be fuming when they see my trendy shoes, I'm sure. 

Schooner is going to spend a week at Service Dogs of Virginia (SDV) later this month. Normally, the folks at SDV get to see him once a month, so the opportunity to have him for a whole week was too good for them to turn down. It'll be a one-for-one swap -- we'll be temporarily reunited with the sweet Monti while Schooner's visiting SDV. This is a good opportunity for Schooner in a couple ways: (1) he'll have the chance to spend some time away from us. This will help build his confidence and independence and realize that he's a big boy now and can handle himself without us. (2) It'll give SDV an up-close look at how he's working, how he behaves in public, and to see who he really is. We will miss the heck out of him while he's "away at camp," but Miss Monti will keep us occupied and laughing. 
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Have a Sniffing Dog?

  • Does your dog slow down your walks because he's sniffing?
  • Does he follow his nose wherever the scent takes him?
  • Is your dog super energetic?
  • Want to find a fun, low impact, tiring game to play with your dog?
If you answered "Yes" to any of those questions, Nose Work class is right up your alley! All dogs are welcome, regardless of age, training, mobility, or energy level.

ALL dogs excel at Nose Work. Come learn what all the fuss is about. Sign up for the beginner class that starts in the fall. Our summer class filled so quickly we had to turn several people away. Register early to avoid getting shut out. 

You'll love it -- and so will your dog!
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