11 Reasons Your Dog Needs a Friend

So, you have a dog, and you love it! In fact, you love it so much that you want to get another. You are sure that your dog would thrive with a friend around to keep him company. Perhaps you want to get another of the same breed, or maybe you are wondering what other dog breed he might get along with.

Well, you’re in the right place. This article can be your guide and answer all your questions about getting another dog to be a companion for your furry companion.

Your dog could greatly benefit from the companionship of another dog in the house. It can provide them with a friend and a playmate that will take some pressure off of you for entertainment and attention. It may take some time for your dog to get used to and become friends with another dog in the household.

If your dog is not well behaved and you are wanting to get him/her a companion because you think that will help him be less bored, think again! I’ll explain why that might just add to your problems instead of helping. You will also learn about the best companion breed for your dog and how to introduce them to each other successfully.

How to tell if my dog is lonely

You may be wanting to get a friend for your dog if you think they are feeling lonely and need some companionship. Here are some clues that might indicate your dog is lonely.

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Does your dog need a friend?

Dogs can be energetic, feisty, and playful. Like most dogs, they love nothing more than to play with and be part of a pack! Getting a friend for your dog to play with and grow up with can be a great idea for many reasons, but your dog will need to be well socialized and trained before you bring home another pet. 

Having a playmate can help keep your dog from getting bored, and can take some of the pressure off of you to constantly entertain.

Having more than one dog can be a lot of fun for you. Talking with many dog owners who have multiple dogs I haven’t had a single one tell me they regret it! They have so many wonderful stories about how their dogs are best friends and really help to keep each other company!

Animals are so fun to watch and their horseplay is always entertaining. Just think about how many hours you can spend on YouTube watching cute dog videos.

If your dog has separation anxiety and gets very lonely when you leave him alone getting him a companion to keep him company could be a great comfort and help to him.

Chess Dog 300 x 600
Chess Dog 300 x 600

Dogs are one of the larger breeds and so you will need to take into account. Having one dog is expensive, but having multiple dogs can get even more expensive. It is estimated that it costs $2000-$6000 a year to own a dog so be sure you are ready for the additional cost it entails.

Why you shouldn’t get another dog

If you are thinking of getting a friend for your dog because your dog is bored and getting into a lot of trouble, think again! You shouldn’t get your dog a companion dog if your dog is not already well behaved. 

Finding that tipped-over garbage can with chewed-up trash isn’t fun for any pet parent, but it will be double trouble if you add another puppy to the mix. You may think that he’s bored and his antics of getting into the garbage can or constantly barking at the neighbors indicate he needs a playmate, but that’s not necessarily true.

If your dog is getting into a lot of trouble you may need to think about how much time you are able to devote to your dog. If you’re not able to give them several hours (not necessarily in a row) of your time each day to walk them, play with them, teach them, etc.. then you are probably not ready to get another dog that will also demand more of your time and attention.

Some dogs are high-energy and need a job to do. All dogs especially puppies demand a lot of timeWorking breeds like Aussies may have herding instincts that could potentially cause problems with other animals. Cats for example can become very annoyed and possibly aggressive around a dog trying to assert his will over it.

Make sure your dog is well trained and socialized first! Not only will this make it easier on you now, but it will also be easier if you do add another pet down the line. If you are successful with this then your dog will be better able to handle the new transition, and he will also be better equipped to help you train a new dog the right way to do things.

Many dog owners find great success in using this online program to train their dogs. This gives them a great foundation!

Field Dogs 300 x 600

If you aren’t prepared to deal with the financial cost of another dog then you shouldn’t get one just for the sake of your dog to have a friend. Vet visits, vaccinations, flea treatments, grooming, treats, and toys can all add up. You don’t want to feel like you need to get a second job to pay for a second pet, that kind of just defeats the purpose.

This article covers the cost of grooming a dog: Cost to Groom a Dog (Owners Surveyed)

If you have a very senior dog then getting a puppy might not be the right fit. Sometimes puppies can help keep a senior dog fit and active, but more often it can cause your senior dog stress, and be very bothersome for them.

Having a companion for your dog can be wonderful, but if and when something happens to either dog and they pass away, it can be devastating and very difficult for your remaining dog to deal with. Often they will begin to feel very depressed and it could take a long time for them to get over the separation from their friend.

Will My Dog Adapt to Another Dog?

This is a tricky one. If your dog is very well socialized and has had a lot of practice around other dogs it’s likely that they will do well with another breed. The size and temperament of both dogs are big factors. Dogs have a very strong desire to be in charge and herd other animals. With these willful personalities, they tend to like being the Alpha dog.

Should I get a large or small breed dog as a second dog?

If you currently have a large breed dog and are planning to bring home a small breed dog, you will need to be very careful to always monitor the puppy around your dog. Puppies have a lot of energy and it takes several years to train them (up to 3 years for some stubborn dogs).

Your dog will need to be very patient and gentle with this new little dog. If they play to rough then your new dog could be hurt or become fearful around your larger dog.

When I asked dog owners what large breed dogs they have that work well with their smaller dogs. Here’s what they told me.

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Greyhound
  • Standard Poodle
  • German Shepherd
  • Labs
  • St Bernard
  • English Mastiff

If a dog is well socialized he can get along with any pet, he loves to herd and chase so expect that from him no matter what!

A good way to test how your dog does with other dogs is carefully and safely putting them in situations where they can practice being around other dogs. Dog parks, going to the pet store, and walking in busy areas are all good things to try. It could also be a good idea to invite some friends and family members to bring their dogs to your house to get an idea of how your pup will react to another dog being in their territory.

Do age and sex matter when getting a dog companion?

Does age matter when thinking about getting another dog? Why not just get 2 puppies from the same litter, or even just 2 puppies at the same time?

…..Well, there is something called littermate syndrome, which you can read more about here, but basically, 2 puppies can get so attached to each other that it can cause extreme anxiety and behavior problems for one or both of them. This will cause a lot of extra care and work on your part to fix.

In order to avoid littermate syndrome, Behaviorists recommend waiting until your puppy is at least 1 or 2 years old and has some good solid training before adding another addition.

For older dogs, it could go one of two ways. If you have a relatively healthy older dog, then having a puppy around could be great for keeping them playful and youthful, but if your older dog has health issues and doesn’t have a lot of energy having a puppy around could cause a lot of added stress for them. Either way, you will want to have space where your older dog can go to escape and be alone when they want a break.

What about gender? Generally speaking, dogs of the opposite sex are best with each other. This is because they can both be the Alpha of their own gender, so you will most likely have less squabbling and fighting. If you do end up getting two of the same gender, two males usually do best together.

How to introduce your dog to a new dog

At this point, you have probably decided if getting another dog for your dog sounds like a great idea or not. After all, it’s worked well for a lot of other owners…. Piece of cake!

Well…. even if your dog is really well behaved, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be smooth sailing. Most of the owners I talked to say it takes a bit of time and planning to make things turn out successfully. It also takes some patience and understanding that your new dog and dog will most likely not instantly become best friends.

So here’s what you can do to help foster a healthy friendship!

Prepare beforehand

You will want to have a separate space for your new dog where he can feel safe and secure in a new environment.

  • separate feeding bowls in different areas
  • separate crate or playpen
  • separate sleeping area
  • separate toys and chew things

Your dogs will hopefully end up sharing a bed, and possibly other things as well, but to begin with, it’s important that the dogs have no reason to feel threatened by each other. They need to know that they are not going to miss out on anything by having the other one around.

Also if you are bringing a puppy home they will need more confinement as they are learning to be trained as well as a separate space to sleep since their sleep cycle will be very different than an older dog.

Carefully introduce them

It’s best to let them meet each other on neutral territory. Somewhere outside the home, or even in your front yard (away from your front door), a neighbor’s yard, or a nearby park with no one around or limited distractions.

Have them both on a leash and harness and let them smell each other on their own terms. Don’t force it. If they start showing signs of nervousness or aggression, it’s best to back off and try again later when they are calmer and in a quieter place with less distraction. Praise and give rewards to both dogs for positive interactions.

Once they have had a good first meeting you can bring the new dog inside and take a chance to show them around. You’ll want to keep them separated at first and closely monitor interactions while introducing them to each other a little at a time. Some dogs will get along right away, others will take a little longer.

It’s best to have a backup plan if the meeting doesn’t go well or your new dog doesn’t get along with your existing one. If you are able to have the new dog or puppy on a trial basis to make sure things work out that would be the best option. That way the breeder or previous owner is prepared to help find another family if needed. If you have another family member that can get involved and take care of the new dog, that could be another option for a backup plan.

Chances are with the right environment and loving care, your new addition will get along fabulously with your dog, and they will be on their way to a long-lasting and wonderful friendship!

While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.