"Should I get a second dog to keep my dog company?" is probably a question most dog owners ask themselves at some point. The problem with the question is that there isn't a single answer that applies to all pooches. While some dogs would love the company of another canine, others might prefer to keep you all to themselves. Figuring out what's best for Doggie might require some careful consideration.
Do Dogs Want Another Dog Companion?
A Matter of Personality
Simply put, even though dogs are pack animals, not all do well with a companion. There could be a number of reasons for this. For example, some dogs might have been bullied or attacked by other animals before and now have no tolerance -- and maybe even extreme fear -- of other canines. Traumatized dogs might tolerate a second dog in the house, but that doesn't mean they'll be happy about it. Other dogs have a strong, deep bond with "their humans," and bringing a new dog into the home might disrupt that relationship. On the other hand, some dogs are very friendly and highly sociable and love spending time with other furry canines -- in which case a dog companion could be a great idea.
Dogs are social creatures -- if properly socialized and trained at a fairly early age. A socialized dog will make friends with not only other dogs, but also cats and other animal species. The only exception: breeds with a hunting instinct, such as spaniels and terriers. They are genetically predisposed to chase small prey, so they might not do well around cats, rabbits, or ferrets. If you're considering a smaller, non-canine animal companion for your dog, check his reaction first by taking him to visit friends who have other pets. And keep him on the leash until you fully understand just how much he likes cats.
The Gender Factor
In most cases, dogs of opposite genders get along better than two dogs of the same sex. That's because having a male and a female means there's no competition for the "top dog" spot: one of the dogs can become the top boy and the other the top girl. No fights about being the alpha needed. If you're unsure whether your dog will accept a companion, bringing a doggie of the opposite sex is more likely to result in a positive outcome. Of course, make sure that both dogs are desexed, or you'll be bringing a set of new problems into the household.
Loneliness and Companionship
Ideally, you shouldn't be leaving your dog alone for long periods of time. Not only is this boring, but it can be dangerous, as many dogs get into trouble when they're bored. If you work long hours, though, getting a second dog might help Rover feel less lonely. Do keep in mind that this should not replace human-dog interaction -- when you get home, you'll still have to make time to play with them.
By Tammy Dray
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.