Should You Get Your Dog a Companion

Picture of two dogs at the lake

All dog owners want to do what’s best for their dog. One question I hear a lot from unsure dog owners is if they should get their single dog a friend. This is a difficult question to ask because whether your dog would do well with a companion is totally down to your specific dogs’ behavior.

Dogs are pack animals, so typically will do well with companions. For them, numbers equal safety, so companions will give them a higher sense of safety, especially when you are not around. However, some dogs are already happy with the current dynamics of their pack – you and your dog. Adding a new dog to the mix could cause problems. This could especially be a problem if the new dog you introduce is a puppy, and your dog is older. Your dog will most likely enjoy its relaxation time when you are away, and an energetic puppy may put it’s nose out of line (metaphorically speaking) if it wants to play 24/7. Also, if your dog is used to getting all your attention, it could become quite jealous at having to share you with another dog.

If you are considering getting your dog a companion to help it with behavioral problems, the short answer to this is “don’t do it”. If you dog is misbehaving, these problems should be corrected before introducing another dog, as introducing a new pack member is quite a risk to take and could end up increasing the behavioral problems that your current dog has. If you want to introduce another dog because you fear that your dog may be stressed, the answer would also be no. Adding a new dog could increase your dogs’ stress levels. Any dog with behavioral problems that concern you would benefit more from seeing a professional dog trainer first. If your dog is misbehaving when you are away at work, try giving it a long walk before you leave to tire it out. A companion might not help this bad behavior and could just be another dog who will learn to chew up your sofa when you’re at work.

If you don’t have a dog yet but are planning on getting one or two, I would suggest getting two together. This way, your dogs’ pack is already established, and it will have its’ lifelong friend by its’ side during every waking moment. They will be able to share experiences and give one another the feeling of security that many dogs yearn for in their pack.

Let me tell you a quick story; I knew a lady who had a very old dog. All his friends died, and he was feeling very lonely. One day in a strange turn of events, she ended up coming home with a dog she rescued the same day from a bad home. This dog was young and full of life. The older dog was incredibly unhappy with his new housemate at first. There were so many fights that got quite aggressive at times. This lady worked closely with the dogs to strengthen their bond and overtime they became used to one another. As time went by, they began to depend on one another. If one dog went to the vet, the other would cry at home and become ecstatic when its’ companion returned. This story shows that, even though the lady didn’t have much of a choice with her quick integration of the two dogs, with enough time and effort the two dogs eventually learnt to co-habit very happily.

If you are considering getting a new dog to live with your current dog, it is a good idea to make sure that the new dog is relatively low energy and submissive so that its’ order in the pack is already established; your current dog will be the alpha K-9 in your pack, and introducing a dog who also wants to be the alpha is a recipe for disaster. A lot of people think that it is a good idea to get a dog a companion, and if you take the necessary precautions, it will be a happy ending for your whole pack. Your dogs will have the feeling of comfort and safety while you are away at work or running errands because they have their special companion. If both dogs are well trained and understand their place in the pack it is unlikely that you will experience problems.

One more question that I often hear is that someone had two dogs, but one passed away. They want to know if it is a good idea to get their surviving dog a companion. The reason not to do this is that your dog might associate the passing of his old companion with the new dog. One reason to do this is that your dog is already used to living with a companion, and a new companion will prevent it from becoming lonely. The ultimate answer to this question lies with your dog’s personality, and you should always do what you think is best for your dog, if you follow any necessary precautions when doing so.

The overall answer to the question “Should I Get a Companion for My Dog” completely lies with your current situation. You don’t have any dogs yet? Consider getting two dogs when you do. Your dogs’ companion died? You think your dog might want a companion? Asses all the factors of the current situation before deciding. Dogs’ do well with friends, and in the right conditions, it could be a match made in heaven.



2 Responses

  1. I recently heard on a morning show that three kids is triangulation and it does not work well. That four is smoother. I have a 5yr old rescue and two 2 yr olds I acquired due to foster fail during Covid. Should I look for a small 5 yr old dog to round out the pack. I have two boys and a girl. The 5 yr old is a boy.

  2. It sounds like a great idea to me. Also the above article stressed that it is up to each person to assess the situation with regard to the pack. That said, when my dog Zoey passed from kidney failure in June 2021 and Augie was left by himself, my husband and I were heartbroken and I felt that Augie was going to die, that he needed companionship. And I was right because I found a dog online who was brought to us by a wonderful friend who knew we would be unable to pick her up as the rescue was in the next state (neither of us could drive due to disabilities). This was the best thing that we ever did, because even though we were mourning Zoey, Coco revved up the whole house again, taking on the role of Augie’s wife. Laugh, go ahead, but he would barely eat a thing until Coco showed up. He overcame a serious illness before Thanksgiving 2020 and I am sure it is due to her presence, perhaps it’s even reincarnation. But the point I make here contrary to the story of getting another dog being not such a good idea for a single dog, is that it is a great idea because dogs are pack animals and love company. I say the more the merrier! They will play together or at least provide companionship that they wouldn’t have if you were off to work or out period.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Table of Contents