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Breaking Your Current Dog’s Bad Habits Before Adding a Second Dog

You have to be a little crazy to want two dogs.

So for those of you with four or five, well … I don’t know about you. 🙂

Seriously though, I am looking forward to adding a second dog to our family. I just really like to have things planned out and under control.

I don’t like when multiple dogs turn into complete chaos.

You know, like when you walk into someone’s house and three dogs are barking and jumping on you and their owner is so immune she doesn’t even notice?

I don’t want that.

But, the types of dogs I’m interested in (Weimaraner, Belgian malinois, German shepherd, Jack Russell) are so active and known to be challenging, I’m trying to plan some sort of routine NOW, before we actually get this hypothetical, hyperactive pup.

For me, this routine involves two things:

Two chocolate Labs sitting outside

1. Planning a serious exercise routine for a young dog.

2. Discouraging certain bad habits from my current dog.

I’m going over my own ideas here, but it’s not that people should copy these. Instead, they should think about their own routines.

First: Exercise

I want a dog that can tag along when I run and hike. Unfortunately, this means the dog will need lots of activity every day and not just on the days I’m interested in running.

So how to prepare for this?

Easy. Start a running routine NOW, before we even get the dog.

Sure, I’m active enough. I take my clients’ dogs running and I walk with my dog Ace first thing in the morning.

But … my dog Ace retired from running two years ago so I currently don’t run in the mornings.

dog backpackWell that’s about to change because I want a high-energy dog but I also want that dog to be able to chill out while I write blog posts. I have high expectations for my dogs. Being able to lie quietly is a requirement. So I have to commit to my side of the deal too, which is running.

Might as well make it a habit ahead of time.

Other tips:


  • Invest in a dog backpack. Best tool ever!
  • Also, recruit other family members to help with the exercise. My husband will be taking on some of the evening exercise shifts.


Second: Discouraging bad habits from my current dog

No dog is perfect, but Ace is pretty dang close. 🙂

Two habits I’d like to discourage before we add another pup include:

1. Whining

2. Cat chasing.

Ace will always be a whiner.

I think that’s just how he is, but I also know I’ve encouraged it (unintentionally) over the years. He’s actually throwing a tantrum right now. He’s in the other room howling because he wants to eat but I’m not done working. Sigh …

Simply, I acknowledge his whining too often. I coddle him. I scold him. I give him what he wants. I know better, but I can’t help it.

So … if I could actually ignore his whining more consistently, it would make a difference. I’m not going to break his habit at this point, but I can try to decrease it.

When he whines for attention, I’m going to do my best to ignore. If he doesn’t stop, then I will either calmly move him to another room or just get up move to another room myself.

In other words, whining equals no response from me. Wish me luck! Ace is a giant baby.

Cat chasing.

Ace is not a cat chaser, but what happens is he likes to play “backup” if I scold my cats for scratching or getting into something. Ace feels the need to, shall we say, “muzzle-punch” the cats. We call it a dolphin punch.

It’s cute, but only because Ace is a huge softy.

All the cats have to do is make eye contact and Ace goes to a corner and licks himself.

It’s sad.

But you can imagine what could happen if a new dog sees Ace charging our cats and muzzle-punching them. It doesn’t take much for a dog’s prey drive to kick in. We can’t take any chances.

I’ve been on top of this for a few months already. The “cat nosing” is no longer allowed.

So those are really the things I’m focused on before we get a second dog: Exercise, and diminishing my dog’s whining and cat harassing.

I’m sure there are other things I should be focused on, but those are the main ones for now.

What kinds of things would you prepare for before adding a second dog?

Go ahead and add them in the comments!

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