This is a question we as behaviour consultants are asked regularly and one that doesn’t have an easy answer.
Adding a second dog when you already have a dog with reactivity, separation anxiety, fear, aggression or other behaviour challenges comes with high stakes - but also many potential benefits.
Does my dog get along with other dogs? If they do, are there certain types of dogs they do better with?
Does my dog have a particularly difficult time recovering from lifestyle changes?
Will I have time to dedicate to my current dog and this new dog separately?
What training challenges are anticipated with the new dog, and how will those impact my current training/management plan?
Can I accept the risk of additional behaviour challenges?
If dogs get along, can improve quality of life for your current dog, especially if their world is small due to their behaviour
You may be able to do things with the new dog that your current dog can’t do.
Appreciation for what current dog brings to your life without pressure to do “normal” dog stuff.
If dogs do not get along, you may be looking at separation or rehoming.
If second dog also has a behaviour issue, increased time and cost on training/behaviour.
May not be able to make as much progress with current dog’s training if also accounting for second dog.
Second dog will not automatically improve current dog’s behaviour and could make it worse.
Guilt of leaving behaviourally challenging dog at home while taking "easier" dog out.
Ultimately, the choice is yours.
A second dog may bring everyone joy and enrich the lives of both you and your dog - but this isn't a guarantee. You know your dog and living situation best.
Looking for guidance on whether a second dog is a good choice for you? Book our Behaviour Helpline and let's talk it through!
Treat Yourself Dog Training offers specialized training for reactive dogs, separation anxiety, aggressive/fearful dogs and family with young children. Dog training services are offered in London, Ontario and online.