Should You Add Another Canine Family Member?

Dogs and their Best Friends
By Susan Tasaki, January 2019
Photo by Ellen Schwartzberg & Tracy Hayes

Photo by Ellen Schwartzberg & Tracy Hayes

Dogs are social animals, hardwired for companionship and joyful when spending time with others. That joy is part of what inspires many of us to take in a second—or even a third—dog. There are other good reasons to become a multidog household, including the fact that a singleton often benefits from the companionship, stress reduction, confidence-boosting and even mental stimulation of having a live-in canine pal.

In making the decision to add another dog to your family, it’s important to factor in things like play style, temperament, size, age, even gender. Think about the types of dogs your pup tends to engage with at the dog park, or who seem to put her most at ease. While dogs often prefer those similar to themselves, especially when it comes to play, if yours is timid or anxious, a more confident companion may be just what she needs. Be sure you’re able to take on another dog and understand his or her needs—training, grooming, diet—as well as have a plan to meet them. Once you’ve settled on a potential candidate, introduce the dogs in a low-stress environment, ideally off-leash on neutral territory with a fence between them (leashes can make meetings fraught). Here’s our best tip: give fostering from a shelter or rescue a try. In our experience, many a permanent pairing has resulted from a successful fostering “trial run.” Happy matchmaking!