Should I get a second dog?

Question: I have a 4 year old male coonhound that we adopted from animal friends 2 years ago. He’s an awesome dog, loves everyone and other dogs too. My husband and I work and he’s home alone for 6 hours a day during the week. He’s very well behaved, but lonely. Can I get another dog, a female, without him being jealous? I just want him to be happy. When I leave in the am he’s so sad. – Tiffany

Tiffany asked whether or not it would be a good idea to get a second dog to keep her four year old coonhound company during the day. The simple answer is that it depends on your dog.

First, let me say that if the longest period of time your dog spends alone each day is six hours, he’s a pretty lucky hound. Far too many people leave their dogs alone and bored for the majority of the day, without realizing the effect it has on them. Dogs have a lot of energy and need a lot of stimulation. Being home alone doesn’t provide much in the way of opportunities for appropriate activities. It’s when their people are around that dogs get to eat, learn new things, play fetch and go for walks.

Are two dogs less lonely or less bored when home alone together? Well, that depends on how much they both like other dogs, and how quickly they become satiated on dog play. Will having a second dog around make the dog you already have “jealous”? Well I don’t know, will it? That’s a very individual thing. However, even if it did, the benefits might outweigh the costs.

Multiple dogs often do great together in the same household. In fact, they often become so attached that the people end up feeling a little jealous. Other times, it doesn’t work out so well. It depends almost entirely on the individual dogs in the particular situation. For instance, just because your dog likes other dogs doesn’t mean he wants one on his turf. Some dogs adapt to it just fine; other times, owners are shocked at their dog’s reaction to having a new dog in the house.

You know your dog best. If you think having a doggie friend in the house would benefit him, then it probably would. Just make sure that you allow yourself ample opportunity to observe your dog interacting with any potential new dog before bringing her home. When you do bring her home, you might want the first meeting there to be out in the front yard. Or perhaps let your current dog have a play session in the back yard while the new dog explores a little inside. Alternately, your current dog could come along to pick up his new sister. Once the new dog begins settling in, be sure to treat them both the same. They both get the same privileges and are subject to the same rules.

Good luck. Let us all know what you decide and how it goes!


Guest Contributor–Danielle Grand has spent the last decade working to parlay her affinity for animals into a dog training career. While earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she was involved in an experimental study on canine cognition. She has also obtained her dog training certification from Animal Behavior College and attended numerous dog training seminars conducted by respected behaviorists. At home in New York’s capital region, she works closely with colleagues and mentors to expand her expertise; she hopes to help forge strong, happy relationships between many dogs and their humans.


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