Written by Scotty Valadao – Canine Behaviourist
Having two dogs can be a wonderful experience, but it’s a totally different experience from only having one dog. I really would suggest that, before you leap into the decision and rush to a shelter, you take time to think it through, especially from the point of view of your existing pet/s.
First thing is to ask yourself is: “Why do I want a second dog?”
There are multiple reasons as to why people want second dogs, and most of them are great reasons. However, if it’s because your existing dog isn’t coping being alone, and even exhibiting signs of separation anxiety, then I urge you: please don’t get a second dog, as odds are that it will not help – and may even create more stress with the new addition. Plus, if the second dog is insecure, you may end up with two dogs with separation anxiety.
If your existing dog is overly dependent, not coping, or has separation anxiety, please bring in a qualified dog behaviourist and solve this problem before considering bringing in another dog
Some aspects to think about regarding your existing dog:
If you’re getting another dog because your existing dog is getting old, do discuss this with your vet. While some older dogs really seem to get a new lease on life, many don’t appreciate having a younger pup or dog jump all over them and claim the attention, and you may serve him better by letting him enjoy his Golden Years being alone, especially if he’s been alone for a good period of time without another dog around.
If your existing dog isn’t good with other dogs, then it may not be a good idea to bring in another one. You also get the situation where an existing dog is good with other dogs it meets socially, but not with other dogs in the home.
If your existing dog is one of the “Bullie breeds”, they really are much better being “only” dogs. These dogs were originally bred to fight and also to be very close to their owners, and they don’t do well sharing their most valuable resources – people. Initially, things may seem ok, especially during the Honeymoon Period, and then behaviour starts to disintegrate and reactive behaviour can occur.
If your dog is social then you should be ok bringing in another dog; however, there are two further aspects to consider:
1. A male and female are your best match. Depending on the breeds, two males together can work. Two females together are a recipe for fighting over 80% of the time, so rather avoid this at all costs.
2. Breed compatibility – something that must be taken into consideration. In order to make this easier for you, we’ve supplied you with our Breed Compatibility Feature which will give you an idea as to how the different breeds get on, plus you can get more information on your chosen breed and see the exercise requirements and any breed-related health and behaviour issues.
Some other aspects to consider
Two dogs take up a lot more time than just one. Do you have the time to give both dogs attention, play with them, walk them?
Two dogs are obviously more expensive. Will your budget run to this?
Two dogs together are often like two teenagers, especially if at home alone – they’ll get up to mischief, which may end up in destruction.
Should you decide to go ahead, do your homework on how to introduce the dogs to one another in a manner that will result in a successful outcome.
Check out this helpful article from Friends of the Dog: Introducing your puppy to your existing dog
About Friends of the Dog
The brainchild of accredited dog behaviourist and trainer Scotty Valadao, Friend of the Dog is a one-stop website packed with accurate, helpful, trustworthy dog-related information, with a particular focus on behaviour. Articles, which are free of charge to access, are written by professionals and experts in their field. Visit the site at https://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/