Adopting a canine companion for your current dog can be tricky business if your furry friend is not easy going, well-trained and friendly. Between you and me, I got lucky with Tanner. He's extremely friendly with other dogs, learned how to play with me in a DOWN position when I was a tiny, fragile puppy, and has a similar energy level and need for activity as I do. Those things made for a good match.
I'd like to offer the Obamas some tips on making sure that they choose the right pet for Bo's companion. While the pup mom and I have selected (ironically named Carrie!) is conveniently located, lower in allergens for the Obama daughters and sounds well-mannered, they also need to evaluate other factors:
- Is Carrie well socialized with bigger dogs? A dog behaviorist may be the best choice for evaluating the two dogs together, to determine if they are a good match for companionship.
- Is the Obama household able to offer appropriate training and exercise for another dog? Once 'Carrie' or another adoptee is leash trained and well-mannered on walks, the two can be walked together. Often leash training a dog that has had little experience is better begun one on one. Once the dog starts to get the hang of it, adding another well-trained dog to the walk can offer a good example to follow.
- Can someone in the Obama household or staff commit to regular brushing and grooming of another dog? 'Carrie' will require regular brushing as well as teeth and ear care, and other grooming. Getting Bo and 'Carrie' on the same grooming schedule could easily allow the two to visit the groomer together, simplifying the process.
- Consider Carrie's energy level and needs. Does she match another member of the family that she will be able to bond with, and with whom she will likely enjoy spending time? Toy dogs often fall into the 'companion dog' category, meaning that they may bond closely to a human in the family, as well as their canine companions. Ideally, the entire family should meet and spend time with Carrie before she is selected.
- Carrie should also be evaluated for her socialization and, if chosen, her socialization should be a focus of her training along with Bo and other family members.