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Benefits of Multiple Dog Households

There are numerous benefits to having more than one dog.

There are numerous benefits to having more than one dog. As dogs prefer to live in social units, multiple dog households enhance each individual canine's overall well-being. From the comfort of constant companionship to increased feelings of security, the positives of multiple dog households far outweigh the little bit of extra effort involved.

Social Benefits of Multi-dog Households

Dogs love to socialize! Whether it means spending time with you or with other dogs, they prefer being in the company of others.

Dogs descended from wolves with highly-evolved social societies. They live harmoniously in large family groups and hunt together. When a youngster misbehaves, he is ostracized; the ultimate punishment. Due to this natural behavior, instinctive in domestic canines, being alone can have very negative associations.

If you work long hours or are otherwise fully-engaged, your dog will feel left out. Some develop negative behaviors such as destructive chewing, excessive barking or licking, or depression. A dog with severe separation anxiety can be very difficult, sometimes requiring medication and other special arrangements.

One of the most important things to dogs is to have a pack, at least of two. The company of others gives dogs feelings of security and companionship. It reduces anxiety and fosters personal growth. It is very important to dogs to have a sense of belonging to a family unit. Another dog in your household will enhance your dog's life, relieving his feelings of being alone.

Exercise Benefits of Multi-dog Households

Dogs thrive on exercise. Few of us will play with our dog the way another dog might. We won't go tussle in mud puddles, nor do we want to put our mouths around our dog's legs while wrestling. Not many of us can keep up with chasing balls and sticks, either. We have to face the fact that most dogs need other dogs to play with. Another dog in your household can offer your dog lots of exercise throughout the day.

One of the biggest triggers of destructive behavior is lack of exercise. Bored dogs will tend to chew and dig a lot more than one that is well exercised and tired. That's not to say that two dogs can't also create twice the damage, if left alone for long periods of time, as much of their interactive play can entail digging and playing tug-o-war with your pillows. But, if well- trained, and contained in a safe area, they are more likely to play with each other than to tear down the walls.

Another dog in the home will ensure that they both (all) engage in more activity. Instead of coming home to a dog anxious to exercise, his excitement will be centered on greeting you. Having day-long access to a fenced yard, through a doggy door, will further reduce the home-alone anxiety that many latch-key dogs experience.

Well- exercised dogs tend to have better appetites. Dogs with good appetites are easier to maintain, as you can be certain they are receiving the nutrients needed to remain healthy. Dogs who exercise also have stronger bones and muscles. Good body condition tends to prevent injury and illness.

Moderate exercise is beneficial to older dogs in order to keep their bodies in condition and their minds occupied. A single elderly dog will tend to sleep most of the time, making him more susceptible to illness. Even a couple of walks and light play can help your older dog live a longer, happier, and healthier life.

Young dogs need a lot of exercise or they resort to attention- seeking behavior that is generally mischievous. While it's never a good idea to obtain two puppies at the same time, a well-trained young adult dog can benefit from a new friend of any age. Two dogs can spend many hours playing in the yard, tiring themselves in a positive way instead of being destructive to your home.

Second Dog is Easier to Train

A second dog is far easier to train when you already have another well-trained dog, as your first dog actually helps in the learning processes of the second dog.

Here are just a few of the ways that one dog teaches another:

  • Housetraining: Dogs will often relieve themselves where they see and smell the leavings of other dogs. As your trained dog has learned to relieve himself outdoors in a specific area, your new dog will likely follow suit.
  • Reaction to stimuli: Your well-trained dog has learned how to react to the door bell, family members, and being walked. Dogs often learn inappropriate behavior patterns from other dogs and humans. For example, if your dog does not jump on visitors, it will be easy to guide your new dog in this direction as well.
  • Overall behavior patterns: Your first dog has learned the schedule, such as when it is time to go outside, eat, and when they will be walked and worked with. His behavior will help your new dog do the same. Copying each other's behavior is a natural part of canine development and pack cohesion.

Emotional Benefits of Multi-dog Households

Besides the fact that your own life will feel fuller, your dog will be more relaxed and secure.

Dogs are very emotional creatures. When left alone for long periods of time they can become depressed. Depression is displayed both physically and through behavior. A typical sign of depression can be obsessive licking, creating lick granulomas on legs which can become infected. Some dogs will chew things that can be dangerous to them, requiring an emergency trip to the veterinarian to remove swallowed objects.

Another dog in the home is likely to alleviate your dog's depression, preventing obsessive behavior. Having another dog to cuddle with makes dogs feel more content and part of a pack, which is their natural inclination.

Enhancement to Child Development in Multi-dog Households

Children with pets tend to be more balanced and responsible as they mature. Should you have more than one child, having multiple dogs will give each child a special friend. They can learn to be responsible for their special canine friend which, in turn, gives them feelings of confidence and security.

Dogs help children cope with crises in their lives such as family disruptions, bad experiences, loneliness, and other types of stress. You can consider dogs as in-house therapy. A pal who is always there to listen to and comfort your child.

If you are able to offer a good home to an additional dog, both the time and financial commitment, you and your current canine(s) will reap numerous benefits. Once you experience a multi-dog household you may never go back to having just one dog.


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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at DogHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.