Do I Get Another Dog To Keep Mine Company?

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"My husband and I are gone for work 6-10 hours a day with drive time. We feel so bad for our dog that he just sits here alone by himself all day, should we get another dog so they can keep each other company?"

Sounds reasonable, right? Well the answer to this is not exactly black and white. 

Things to Consider:

PROS

1. Some dogs seem to thrive with other animals as companions more than people, some seem to want people attention more. Gaging how your dog reacts with other dogs while at daycare, boarding or at the park can speak volumes about what life will look like with another dog.

2. Getting a second dog will 100% change the dynamic of your household. The breed of dog, personality and energy level of the house can all affect how well this will play out. Take your time and make an educated decision about the gender, size and energy level of another animal and how that will work with the dog and lifestyle you already have.

3. Having one dog that is more emotionally stable than the other can help the dog that is not as confident. Sometimes having a thunder-buddy can be exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to building confidence when paired with the correct training methods.

CONS

1. If you feel the dog you ALREADY HAVE needs a companion because he or she is being destructive while you are gone, it is more than likely that getting a second dog will mean you will then have two dogs being destructive while you are gone instead of one. You must address behavioral problems as a separate issue. Adding another dog into the mix will only create more problems.

2. If you feel boredom is the issue, I have bad news as well. After the newness wears off of adding a second dog into the mix, you will more than likely have two dogs that lie around all day and do nothing! More often than not, dogs need structured or motivated play time. With no stimulation from being home alone all day during the week, most dogs tend to either do nothing, or make trouble, very few are capable of keeping themselves mentally and physically stimulated without outside help!

3. Dogs that have a lot of energy, especially working breeds will create 'jobs' for themselves if you don't give them one to do. This can be anything from destroying your carpet or couch to chewing on the walls and doors, digging holes in the backyard, or barking neurotically at all that pass by. Adding another dog only gives them an accomplice, alibi, or possible suspect.

So what do you do?

Obviously there are thousands of people that work long hours and still have dogs. My best advice would be to get another dog because you want another dog, have the time and energy (and money) to be able to care for double the needs, double the exercise and double the attention. Getting a second dog should never be a 'fix' to a problem you are having. Creating a stable dog needs to be done within the family unit before you ever think of bringing another dog into the home.

All dogs need and crave mental and physical stimulation. Consider this option before bringing another dog into your home:

One of the best and easiest ways to provide everything your dogs needs while you are gone is to set them up with a daycare that you trust and that has a program in place to give your dog all that it needs.

"What does it need then" you ask?

1. Socialization. Spending structured time with other dogs can be life changing, especially for building confidence. The big however is this must be done by people that are experienced with mixing dogs, are able to control group settings and group dogs together appropriately. 

2. Meeting new people. Going to a place where they are handled by different people everyday that are knowledgeable about your pet's specific needs is invaluable to training.

3. Structure. Having a set of rules that they have to abide by and can be held accountable for makes all the difference in having a healthy, happy emotionally balanced pet.

4. Attention. Getting ample opportunity to potty when they need to, get love and affection for making good decisions and being looked after is important to any member of your family. 

5. Training. Dog training is more than about just fixing problems. It encompasses everything listed above, and can bring your dogs energy, balance, and stability to the next level.

Did you know?

The Animal Department and Mud Puppies of Austin are going to be teaming up together to offer a one of a kind daycare + school program this summer! Stay tuned for more info. Our goal is to provide everything you need for your dog in one place, and keep your life as simple as possible. Whether you have one dog or a houseful, we can help you create the work/dog-life balance you have been looking for.

For more stories, tips and tricks on training or if you have any questions please visit our website at www.dogtrainingredefined.com or email Andrea at Andrea@theanimaldept.com

Andrea Robinson