What if you adopt a second dog and he or she is not compatible with your other dog?

Adopting a pup is a very special and exciting time in anyone’s life. It starts off with an inherent love for animals, followed by the decision to adopt a pup and essentially allowing your new fury friend to become a part of your family.

Then comes the “big day” when you have to go and choose your new pup. Strolling through a shelter in search of your new fur baby can be both a happy and sad time all at once.  As it saddens one’s heart to see all those little faces staring back at you in great anticipation. But, you finally find your pup and once the adoption process has been finalized, you can collect your new fur baby and take him or her home with you.

Some breeds require more attention and stimulation than others and for this reason, you may have to consider adopting another pup. But, this is where things can become a little more complicated, as there are many factors to consider, such as age, size, breed, temperament and compatibility.

When adopting a second pup, some rescue organizations and shelters offer people the opportunity to arrange a “play date”. This allows you the opportunity to take your fur baby to meet their prospective playmate and companion. This initial meeting normally takes place in a “playpen”, which serves as a neutral environment for both dogs. Visits are often times under the supervision of trained staff.

This “play date” allows loving pet parents to establish whether the two dogs will be compatible. It can also serve as a good indication how the animals will interact once they are both at home. This is exactly what we did, when we adopted our second fur baby. Our first port of call was to arrange a play date.

In fact, we arranged two play dates and everything went very well on both instances. When the day arrived and we could finally fetch our second fur baby.  We were super excited to bring him home. All went very well at first, but he was so excited about his new found freedom and our nice big garden, that he became “overactive” to the extent that he would completely tire out our first precious pooch.

It did not end there though, he chewed his bed and anything he could sink his teeth into and this included my mother’s ankles and shoes. Although he was somehow obedient, he also often ignored our commands.

Although we had the best of intentions, the new pup and our beloved first born seemed quite compatible during their play dates. Little did we realize that the age difference between them was just too big and he was just way too boisterous; so much so, that our female Jack Russel Terrier could just not keep up, although she tried to.

They would get along quite well one day, but then not so well the next and as he was a little bigger than her. We were concerned that he could actually hurt her. After a week, we had to make a very difficult decision, whether to keep our new pup or to return him to the organization which we adopted him from.

This was probably one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make. We decided to return him and I will never forget the day that I took him back. I felt as if he knew exactly where he was and he was reluctant to walk with me. When I handed him over to one of the staff members I could no longer contain my emotions and I burst into tears. It truly broke my heart to return him.

As an animal lover, having to return an animal was the most heart-wrenching thing I had ever done. If faced with such a decision ever again, I would not be able to do it. I am still saddened by the memories of that day. Although I know that we could not keep him, it does not lessen the pain I experienced on that day.

If an adoption is not successful, it can be very traumatic for both human and animal alike.  It is for this very reason that we should take extra special care when adopting a second fur baby. You need to ensure that you are making the right decision not only for yourself, but also your family, the new pup and your beloved pooch.

So, before you adopt a second pup, you need to consider the following:

  • Your dog’s age and activity level – if your dog is slightly older and not extremely active, a younger dog could prove to be too much to handle for your beloved pooch.
  • Size is of the utmost importance – if your beloved pup is small, a bigger dog can unintentionally cause serious damage to your beloved fur baby. Rather consider adopting a dog that matches your dog in size.
  • Identify whether your pooch has any behavioural issues i.e. separation anxiety etc. and also enquire about the behavior of the new pup you intend on adopting.
  • Consider whether your fur baby is sociable and loves to interact with people and other animals.
  • Monitor your pup’s temperament and enquire about the temperament of the pup you intend on adopting.
  • Establish whether your beloved pooch prefers to play with males or females. Generally, males and females seem to get along much better. However, with the correct leadership, two females or two males can live peacefully alongside one another.
  • Is your dog dominant or submissive – If your dog is dominant, you may need to consider a slightly more submissive dog as a playmate.
  • Consider the time period which your beloved pooch has spent alone.

Making sure your new puppy and your beloved fur baby are truly compatible before adoption can save you lots of heartaches.


Although our second adoption was not successful, our story does have a happy ending. The little guy was adopted by another loving pet parent with a young female Jack Russell Terrier. He assured us they are a match made in heaven! Remember, adopt before you shop to change a shelter pet’s life forever.

Love, The PetsWell Team

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