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Adding a Second Dog to the Family + Zoey at Six Months

Zoey turned six months old two weeks ago and it’s hard to believe that she’s gone from this on her first night home…

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To this…

zoey at six months

…at six months old.

The number one question I get is “How are Sullie and Zoey getting along?” I’ve been promising a post on adding a second dog for a while and it feels like we’re finally all settled in and I’m ready to share.

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In short, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to having one dog again. (You can read all about how I decided to get a second dog in this post.)

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I have to admit that on the first night Zoey came home, I was an emotional wreck. I didn’t know how Sullie would react and I knew this would change things for her forever. I did research on how to introduce an older dog to a new pup. A lot of it seemed overly complicated and involved keeping them separated, introducing them outside, etc. Most said the older dog would likely ignore the puppy for anywhere from a few days to a few months. I could totally see where all of this could be necessary and true but I just knew somehow that wouldn’t be the case for us.

Sullie was immediately very interested in this little fluffy creature. She was nothing but sweet and welcoming and my eyes filled with tears.

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Sullie and Zoey bonded quickly and they’ve been inseparable ever since. I wondered if the novelty would wear off but it totally hasn’t. Sullie has made life with a puppy SO MUCH easier. She’s literally been a babysitter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Sullie…take care of your sister.” (You know what I mean.) My heart would break a little every time Zoey would run outside behind Sullie and squat and pee right next to Sullie while she was peeing. Zoey has definitely mimicked a lot of her behavior.

From day one of bringing Zoey home, I promised myself that I would always make sure that Sullie felt like she was my #1 girl. I always make sure to give her just as much love and attention as I give her sister. I probably praise, pat and cuddle her more now than I even did before.

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I was worried that having two big dogs might be a little overwhelming but it’s been totally manageable. I swear, it’s easier to have two instead of one because they keep each other company and play all the time. I don’t feel as guilty when I am busy and can’t give them as much attention as I would like to.

One downside would be the mess in my house. Between the dirt they track in from outside and the hair, I vacuum pretty much every single day. They are also just big and my house is pretty small so it’s a lot of dog running around.

Zoey and Sullie Collage

The trainer recommends not leaving the toys out for the pups to have access to all the time so they don’t think the house is a playground but I think I get equal enjoyment out of seeing them play and just can’t take them away. Sullie has been about 1,000x more active since Zoey joined the fam and given that she’s turning 9 this summer, I am grateful for that. I think Zoey is definitely keeping Sullie young!

zoey six months

Let’s talk a little more about Zoey at six months…

Hitting the six month mark was a little like magic. She’s done teething and is finally starting to settle down. And I’m confident saying she’s finally 100% housebroken…so confident that I threw out the old living room rug and bought a new one. (It was past the point of return.)

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She’s not biting and chewing as much now that she’s got her big girl teeth. She’s a bit of a thief and loves to steal my stuff. I’ve lost a few pairs of shoes. I’d say the biggest issue we’re working on right now is counter surfing. She’s nabbed everything from a stick of butter to a whole portobello mushroom cap. Speaking of food…we’ve cut back to two meals a day instead of three and switched her to the same food Sullie eats instead of puppy food. Girl LOVES to eat. Her funniest eating quirk is that she loves fruits and veggies, especially when they’re crunchy and raw. Frozen fruit and frozen peanut butter bones and kongs have been life savers. Training is going well and I’ll write another post about that experience later.

She’s at a really fun age right now and I’m soaking up the last bit of her puppyness while it lasts. She’s growing the most beautiful coat that’s light golden and wavy down her back.

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I love both of my beautiful girls! I know I’m bordering on crazy dog lady status but I don’t care. These two are just awesome. As I posted last week, we have a nightly cuddle party on the floor before bed. We’re all really, really happy!

What has your experience been with having two dogs and introducing a new pup? I’m sure that some have had different experiences and I’d love to start a conversation.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Cassie April 21, 2015, 8:44 pm

    Seeing two dogs bond together is one of the most beautiful things to see. I’m so glad that you have such happy and loving dogs who care about each other!

    • 2
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:22 pm

      i know, it makes my heart burst with joy!

  • 3
    Nicki April 21, 2015, 8:48 pm

    This is an adorable post!! I LOVE all your Sullie/Zoey pictures whether it’s here or on Instagram 🙂 No dogs in my life yet (my family had a Bichon growing up) and I would die to have one but hello, I live in NYC and am just not at a point in my life where I’m ready yet. Living vicariously through you!

    • 4
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:22 pm

      thanks nicki! i think it would be VERY difficult to manage a dog in NYC. one day it will be the right time!

  • 5
    Erin @ Not All Those Who Wader Are Lost April 21, 2015, 9:05 pm

    I’m brining home my second dog in a few weeks. I’m nervous but so excited! My current dog obviously doesn’t know what I’m talking about, but I tell him about the new puppy on a daily basis.

  • 6
    Erin April 21, 2015, 9:20 pm

    I’m brining home my second dog in a few weeks. I’m nervous but so excited! My current dog obviously doesn’t know what I’m talking about, but I tell him about the new puppy on a daily basis!

    • 7
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:21 pm

      haha, it’s like people telling little kids they’re going to be a big brother/sister! 🙂

      let me know how it goes!

  • 8
    Keri April 21, 2015, 9:47 pm

    Love seeing your pups! They have the sweetest faces and smiles.

  • 10
    JennyV April 21, 2015, 10:59 pm

    I’ve been living the two dog life since January when we brought home our second German Shepherd! The oldest turned one year old on 4/12 and the youngest is 5 months as of 4/14 — maybe we’re crazy, but man, do they bring us great joy!! Both dogs have been in training and it’s been a great experience. They are eager to learn — we just need to remain steady and consistent 🙂 The fur… and the vacuuming… ahhh, I guess I’ll take it because they fill my heart. (Turning into a crazy dog lady here)

    • 11
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:21 pm

      Gosh, isn’t it true that the training is harder for the humans than the dogs? I struggle with the consistency as well. The fur and vacuuming are totally worth it! 🙂

  • 12
    Andrea Esposito April 22, 2015, 1:08 am

    I love reading your posts. So glad Sullie and Zoey are getting along so famously. I have always wanted to have two dogs at one time. It’s a difficult decision but makes sense since dogs are pack animals. Two puppies is one thing but the expense could be overwhelming at the onset – getting them vetted and so forth. I’m a beagle girl and currently we have the most friendly, socially well adjusted male beagle named RUDY. Your post gives me hope that two dogs can be manageable and a blessing. I am happy to see you happy finally. You so deserve it and your blog gives me much joy.

    • 13
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:20 pm

      Thanks so much Andrea! I appreciate you reading! I don’t know if I could do two puppies at the same time…that would be a little overwhelming financially and with trying not to lose my mind. I think it works well to add a puppy when you have a mature dog. It’s definitely felt more than manageable. I am happy…thank you! 🙂

  • 14
    Sarah April 22, 2015, 1:58 am

    My husband & I added a cavalier (Deacon) to our family in November and with the exception of some jealousy with our golden mix (Charlie) it has went really well for us, too! Charlie has been so patient and gentle with him. I am so happy that they are friends! Plus Deacon melts my heart with a special brand of cav sweetness every day.

    • 15
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:18 pm

      Aw! Very sweet! I’m glad Charlie could get over the jealously and embrace Deacon as part of the fam!

  • 16
    Orla April 22, 2015, 2:56 am

    I have 2 boys- charlie & dave. We had charlie for 18 months before bringing dave into the mix & it was the best thing. Charlie went from being a dog that was quite needy & dwstructive if left alone for a while to being a grown up, calm, protective dog. They were both resuces but charlie was 18 months old when we got him & had some issues about being left alone. Dave was a9 week old puppy so the transition was easy. Or easier!! like you i cant imagine being without 2 dogs ever again. However, the fine layer of dog hair on everything i own is one minor downside!!!

    • 17
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:18 pm

      This is a really sweet story. Thank you for sharing. Dogs are pack animals and I think they feel much better when they’re not alone. And yes, I don’t go anywhere (including out of the country) without taking some dog hair with me! 🙂

  • 18
    Sara DaMore April 22, 2015, 7:24 am

    Hey Jen!

    Any chance you can share which breeder you got Sullie and/or Zoe from? They are such beautiful dogs. Which training company did you use? Also, I live in a 500 sq. ft house in Charlotte (has a nice backyard and porch). Do you think that is too small for a golden? I am planning on getting a golden in the next 6 months and I am asking everyone I know for some advice!

    Thanks!
    Sara

    • 19
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:17 pm

      Sullie is from Creekstone Retrievers in Alabama. Zoey is from Seasons Gold in Charlotte. They are both super beautiful and super sweet. Happy with both breeders. I’m using UberDog training.

      I think as long as you have a backyard and porch, your house should be fine. If you are sure to exercise the dog regularly then they don’t need “room” inside. Honestly, they just want to be exactly where you are.

      Let me know if you have any other questions! Happy to answer.

  • 20
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan April 22, 2015, 10:03 am

    These pictures are so adorable! And Sullie is such a sweet dog to be so welcoming! Aww.

  • 21
    Dani @ DaniCaliforniaCooks April 22, 2015, 12:59 pm

    Thats lovely to hear! My boyfriend’s parents recently got a new puppy alongside their old dog, and the old dog just growls at it!

  • 23
    Becca April 22, 2015, 1:42 pm

    Hey, Wondering where Zoey is from. My parents just got their 5th golden puppy who is 6 months old too!….I cant help but think man they look alike.

    • 24
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:13 pm

      Hi Rebecca! She’s from Seasons Gold. And omg, #5…how special!

  • 25
    Dette April 22, 2015, 2:05 pm

    I love your site and read it all the time. We are thinking of getting a golden retriever puppy (husband and children are on board but I am not yet because of the potential for fur everywhere). I know that photos can be deceiving, but your house always looks very clean – is there a lot of fur? Is vacuuming daily enough?Many thanks!

    • 26
      Jen April 22, 2015, 2:13 pm

      Hi Dette! Thanks so much for the kind words about my blog and for reading! You definitely get fur with golden retrievers…it’s inevitable…but if you are good about brushing them daily (good job for the kiddos!) and vacuuming daily then you shouldn’t have a problem. Also, I’m strict about no dogs on furniture so couch, bed, chairs stay hair-free, which is nice. If you’re worried about the golden shedding have you considered a goldendoodle? They don’t really shed. People love them. They are very smart and usually sweet…although I’m definitely partial to golden retrievers. I promise you’ll love the pup so much that you won’t even care about the hair!

  • 27
    Julie April 22, 2015, 3:39 pm

    Those pics are the BEST! SO CUTE!! When my boyfriend & I started dating it seemed like we were more concerned about the dogs getting along than the kids! 😛 We had frequent play dates w/ the dogs. We did introduce them outside 1st, but they did really well from Day 1. My dog is a miniature schnauzer & his is a beagle/pug mix. Mine is def more territorial & vocal & hyper. 😛 We’ve all lived together for the past year now, & I can’t imagine them not having each other. They play & fight & curl up on the bed together. Nothing cuter! They bring us such joy!

  • 28
    Lesley April 23, 2015, 11:26 am

    Longtime lurker, rarely comment, but I love the story about about your experience adding a second dog. We have an 11.5 year old lab, an 8 year old lab, and just added a lab pup (all boys). I really wanted my next dog to know my old guy. Our second dog was a little over a year old when we brought him on board and that went really well. Adding a puppy who is the third dog in the house brings a whole new dimension to things but I love having two and cannot imagine life without these wonderful creatures. Three is a lot, but it is an honor and a privilege to share our lives with them and worth every bit of dog hair, dirt, mud, mulch, and everything else that they drag into the house. Keep the pics and the narrative coming!

  • 29
    Michelle April 23, 2015, 9:24 pm

    Love the post. I’ve been following off and on for years… since Sullie was a pup. She looked so much like my Roxy and I also enjoyed your content. Last week I had to say goodbye to Roxy at the tender age of 8. My daughter sent me a pic of Sullie this week and I swear they could have been sisters. Love her and Zoey as long as you have them. I know you do! Gosh I miss spooning with my girl!

  • 30
    Lindsey April 24, 2015, 10:21 am

    I know it’s not the same thing, but I adopted a 2 year old beagle 10 years ago when I already had a cat. They had a great bond up until my cat passed away 2 years ago. All of a sudden Chandler wasn’t his peppy old man self. He would sleep during the day and barely was eating. I took him to the vet and the vet said he was mourning. I know dogs are intelligent but I just couldn’t believe it! I ended up adopting another cat and Chandler couldn’t be happier! I know it’s not the same thing, but my point is that I really think an older dog having a companion really helps with quality of life!!

  • 31
    Beth May 5, 2015, 4:29 pm

    I loved reading this post : ) Both of your girls are just gorgeous and it’s so awesome that they work together so well! We had two dogs for several years, but unfortunately they did not really like each other. Our German Shepherd, Emzy, was about a year and eight months when we brought home Henna, who was 3-4 months old (she was a pound puppy so we weren’t 100% sure how old she was). For the most part they were fine, but you could tell that Emzy resented Henna’s presence. Emzy (a female) had always been very alpha and basically spent all her time trying to dominate Henna (also female, a Newfoundland mix). Henna was always a very friendly dog but sometimes she would get fed up with it and there would be a scuffle. It could be stressful at times : \ Emzy passed away a few years ago but Henna (almost thirteen years old now) is still with us. Every now and then my husband brings up the topic of adding another dog to the family, but after having the not-really-negative-but-definitely-not-positive experience with two dogs previously, I am firm in my stance that we should remain a one-dog household. Reading this post is ALMOST enough to make me re-consider, though ; )

  • 32
    Brenda August 17, 2016, 11:42 am

    Just came across your site..it’s fantastic!! When you finally decided to add a second dog, were you thinking….I want another female? I don’t care if it’s a female or male I’m strictly going on temperament of puppy? I’m just confused because everything I’ve read says to go with opposite sex….I’ve only ever had a female dog (even growing up)..not to mention only one dog at a time too. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

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