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Should I get a second dog if my first dog has behaviour problems?

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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.

Potential Drawbacks

  • 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.

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