Do Dogs Want Another Dog Companion?

by Sarah Dray
    Pining for a friend?

    Pining for a friend?

    Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    "Should I get a companion for my dog" 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 everybody. While some dogs would love some company, others might prefer to keep you all to themselves. Figuring out what's best for Doggie might require some careful thinking.

    Simply put, not all dogs do well with a companion. This could be due to a number of reasons. For example, some dogs might have been abused or attacked by other animals before and now have no tolerance -- but maybe extreme fear -- of other canines. They 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 you've trained them right. That means a properly 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 noncanine 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.

    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.

    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.

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    • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Sarah 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.

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