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Does having 2 dogs help with separation anxiety?

Will getting another dog help my dog’s behavior issue?

Adding a Second Dog to Your Home.jpg

If your dog has been diagnosed…by a certified dog behaviorist, there is a fair chance another dog may actually help…”

If your dog has one of the following problem behaviors, you might be thinking about getting another dog in an attempt to fix the problem. There are seven common instances where I find dog owners considering this remedy. Read below to see why this may, or may not, work for your dog.

Problem Behavior: Aggression to other dogs
Thinking: If my dog is around another dog all of the time, maybe he or she will learn to get along with dogs.
Good idea or bad idea? Dogs that are aggressive to other dogs are acting this way because they generally are afraid of them. The probability that your dog-aggressive dog would get along with a new dog in your home is actually quite high. Why? The problem is that these dogs are aggressive to unfamiliar dogs, not dogs they live with and know. I see dogs every day that get along perfectly with their “siblings” but still get very grumpy around all other dogs — because they don’t know them.

Problem Behavior: Territorial aggression to human visitors to your home
Thinking: If my dog is around a dog that is calm when visitors come over, maybe he or she will learn to be calm too.
Good idea or bad idea? This concept is called allelomimetic learning in animals where an animal learns a behavior by observing another animal. Normally this doesn’t work for this kind of behavior, but the bigger issue is the dog without territorial aggression might learn it from the other dog (unintended consequence).

Problem Behavior: In-home aggression between two or more dogs in your household
Thinking: Another dog in my home may distract the dogs that are fighting in my household and restore some degree of peace and calm.
Good idea or bad idea? It would be quite rare for the introduction of another dog in your home to change the dynamic so radically between two warring dogs that it would end their confrontational behavior. It can sometimes even escalate the fights between the two dogs that aren’t getting along. Worse yet, the new dog could start fighting with one, or both, of your existing dogs.

Problem Behavior: Aggression directed to you and your family members living in your home
Thinking: Another dog in my home may give my dog something to do and put him or her in a better and more playful mood.
Good idea or bad idea? The problem here is between the owner’s family and the dog; this needs to be addressed as a human-dog problem. However, there is some chance the addition of another dog could provide an additional stimulus to your problem dog that might alleviate some of the aggression directed toward you and your family members. But don’t count on it.
Verdict? and possibly in some cases

Problem Behavior: Separation anxiety
Thinking: If my dog has a companion while I’m gone, he or she won’t be lonely.
Good idea or bad idea? This one is a bit trickier. There are two major types of separation anxiety: isolation distress and specific separation anxiety. Simple isolation distress is a condition where a dog just needs some kind of heartbeat in the same room in order to not have anxiety associated with being alone. Specific separation anxiety normally dictates the dog must have a unique human or dog in his or her presence to avoid anxiety. If your dog has been diagnosed with simple isolation distress by a certified dog behaviorist, there is a fair chance another dog may actually help with his or her separation anxiety. However, problems occur when one of the dogs has to go to the veterinarian or groomer — this isn’t a 100% answer to simple isolation distress.
Verdict? Given the correct diagnosis

Problem Behavior: Generalized fear (e.g., fear of sounds, novel things, sudden movement, petting, etc.)
Thinking: Having another dog in my home may give my fearful dog more confidence.
Good idea or bad idea? Like with territorial aggression above, this concept is called allelomimetic learning in animals where an animal learns a behavior by observing another animal. And the issue with this is the same as with territorial aggression, the dog without fear issues might learn these fears from your incumbent dog. I can’t say this strategy would never work, but I would prefer the owner directly address the fear issues with a certified dog behaviorist.
Verdict? Normally but in some cases

Problem Behavior: Hyperactive dog
Thinking: If I bring another dog into my home, it will give my hyperactive dog a way to burn off his or her excess energy.
Good idea or bad idea? If your dog is an otherwise normal dog with just a lot of energy, this could possibly work. I’d normally give this a 50/50 chance. However, if your dog has been diagnosed by a certified dog behaviorist as hyperkinetic (similar to ADHD in humans and somewhat rare in dogs), adding another dog won’t help.
Verdict? In 50% of cases but if your dog has been correctly diagnosed as hyperkinetic

My general recommendation to clients is to address more serious behavior issues by working with a certified dog behaviorist before adding another dog to their home. The chance of there being no improvement, or even introducing new problems, is too great when adding another dog to a home in most instances.

Two Dogs are Better Than One: Benefits of Having More Dogs

The big question: should I have two dogs? Many animal lovers may ask themselves whether another dog is a good idea. You think of all the positive things it would result in: a playmate for your dog, a new furry friend for you, and double the fun! Having another dog is a big decision. You need to find a compatible dog, be financially ready, and have the space for two dogs! If you have a dog and are considering getting another – do it! Here is why two dogs are better than one and the benefits that come with dual doggos!

Acts as a Companion


Your dog loves spending time with you, but the fact of the matter is, you will just never be a dog. Dogs are social creatures and bond closely with other dogs because they speak the same language and know all the rules. As much as we would like to think that we could provide our dog with everything he needs, we will never BE a dog. When you have two dogs, it provides both animals with a companion. Someone he can go to do “dog things” with. Of course, your love and provision will always be needed, but two dogs allow both pets to socialize with someone just like them.

BONUS TIP: If your schedule is busy and you are unable to spend as much time with your dog, a second dog can help. By having two dogs, it provides companionship while you are away. Both dogs are less likely to get lonely, and instead, have someone to sleep with, play with, and socialize with while you are gone.

Less Training


If you are hesitant to get another dog because you are remembering the trouble you went through to train your first, worry no more. Training a second dog is much easier! Because you have had so much patience and training with your first dog, the second dog will learn from example. Your new dog will see that peeing is for outside, and that pulling on the leash is not acceptable. The second dog has a role model to look up to and will therefore learn much faster. In addition, your second dog is already exposed to other dogs, making socializing an easy task!

Rids of Excess Energy


If we are realistic with ourselves, we probably will never have enough time to fully tire out our dogs. Sure, you can take your pup for walks and trips to the dog park, but he will always have some energy left over. Sometimes we need to go to work and make dinner and can’t play with our dogs at every moment. When you have two dogs, this is not a problem. If you are busy and unable to play with your dog, he has another source to rid that excess energy. He can go play with the second dog and tire out that way. Having another pet also will prevent your dog from getting bored while you are busy: boredom leads to trouble (chewing, digging, etc.)! Getting your dog a playmate will rid of that excess energy and decrease the risk of boredom affecting your home!

More Love for You


Two dogs to cuddle with! If one is not in the mood for a good snuggle, the other is always there to show some love. You now have two loyal companions who will adore you and listen to you to the end of their days! Getting more love from multiple fur balls is one of the best benefits of having two dogs! Double the fun, double the love!

When you get a second dog, you know that both you and your current dog will be benefiting out from it! Not to mention, you are bringing another furry friend in to be loved and cherished in their new family. If you adopt, you may just be saving a dog’s life as an added bonus! Feel comforted that you are making a good decision and that two dogs will be even better than one!

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