Are Two Dogs Better Than One?
Whether it be barking, escaping or some other behavioural issue it has always been surprising how many people call us and suggest getting another dog to help fix their current dog problems. When you think about it, getting a second dog can make a lot of sense right? Or does it?
I totally agree that a lot of issues we help our customers with, are problems arising from some form of separation anxiety. After all we bring an animal into our world and behave in a manner that does contradict the natural instincts of the dog.
Natural Environments vs. Domestic Environments
In nature a dog is brought into a pack environment that does not tend to separate throughout the day, unlike us humans who split up to go to school or work or to the shops or whatever. This results in a situation where many dogs are left in a yard on their own for several hours a day. This situation is difficult for some dogs to handle, manifesting into barking, escaping, or other destructive behaviour that, at the end of the day, generally causes us stress and/or creates a financial burden.
So as we can see, a second dog might be a good idea! Your dog will have a new friend to play with and keep company with during the day…problem solved. However there are other outcomes that may arise if you go down this path, and you do need to consider them before welcoming a new dog into your home.
You May Create More Problems
You could in fact create more problems than you had in the first place. By introducing a new dog into your home you may in fact upset your current dog greatly. The last thing it may want is a new invader or threat coming in to your pack. The new relationship may in fact cause even more stress to your dog than being separated for a few hours a day ever caused. Serious dog fights and expensive vet bills or even worse could be the result.
We can expect that over time there will be some learnt behaviour transferred between the dogs. So if you already have a barking dog that barks at everyone that walks past your house, you can expect that any new dog may copy the behaviour, adding some extra stimulation throughout the day for it too. Now you have two barking dogs. Not quite the result you may be hoping for. Good for Bark Control!
Consider the Following
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against getting a second dog at all. You just need to think about it carefully and do it for the right reasons. Is your dog good with other dogs? If you don’t already know introduce it to other dogs first and see how it responds.
Talk to a Friend who has Multiple Dogs
Bring a friends dog into your home and ensure your dog does not turn into a territorial tyrant! Apart from doubling your food and vet bills, talk to your friends with more than one dog and find out what you can expect from having a second dog and the changes to your own lifestyle this may cause.
Get a Dog for the Right Reason
Most importantly, by all means get another dog if you are doing it because YOU WANT ANOTHER DOG! Getting another dog may help your current dog problems, it may not, it may make your current problems worse. At the end of the day bringing any dog into a good home is a good thing, as long as it is because it is something you want for the right reasons…not as a means to fix a current problem.