As any doting pet parent knows, fur babies can be sensitive creatures. If you have a dog who spends long stretches of time alone at home while you're at work, you might be wondering how to ease their separation anxiety. You could plan to stop in during the day, if your office is nearby, or other similar solutions. But if your dog's issue is just that they're alone too much, it might be worth thinking about get a dog... for your dog.
You may not know if your dog will accept another pup in the home, because sharing space, treats, and humans with another canine can be a little tricky, and making sure your dog is compatible with other dogs would be your first priority. But if your dog isn't super territorial, bringing home a canine sibling for your dog can improve their quality of life, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University writes via their Your Dog blog.
"Dogs in isolation are not happy,” the head of Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM, told Your Dog. “Initially, in partnerships between people and dogs, dogs weren’t locked up in houses alone — they got to go with people everywhere. They and their human companions were always together.”
Getting another dog is not always the best idea, however, Dr. Born-Weil said. Personality clashes between pups can happen, so it’s important to take your time when selecting your new family member. Make slow dog-to-dog introductions, and make sure that your new pup jells well with the already-established crew. Not unlike humans, dog relationships can be complex, and sometimes the chemistry isn’t right. So, it’s important not to rush the process of introducing new dogs, the Animal Humane Society suggests. Dr. Born-Weil also advises that matching dogs by activity level and compatible health status can help them form more harmonious relationships with each other.
“Just like people, dogs are individuals. They have their own personalities, preferences and complexities,” writes The Nest. “As a species, they have an instinctive, deeply ingrained compulsion to gather with other members of their own species. However, some dogs prefer the company of human beings instead of other dogs. And while dogs may be pack animals, new research shows that as dogs became more domesticated, they may have bonded more with humans than with other dogs.” So, while companionship with their own species is often preferred, some dogs like being with people — or their main human — best.
If your pup is dealing with separation anxiety, behavioral training and modification are key first steps, says Dogster. While having another dog around can ease separation anxiety for some pups, training is still important. Positive reinforcement with treats, and not making a big deal out of your comings and goings, can help. As much as you may want to celebrate seeing your dog after a long day away from each other, it's best to keep hellos and goodbyes low key.
If your dog is home alone all day, every day, it makes sense that companionship might help boost her quality of life. “In the past, efforts to keep a dog occupied during the day were undertaken in response to the bored and anxious animal’s destructive behavior, or to neighbors’ complaints about his unrelenting barking or howling. Today, however, we just as often labor to create a more enriched social world for our dogs — many of whom show no signs of suffering — because we’re more sensitive to their need for company and stimulation,” writes Petfinder.
If your pup is struggling with genuine separation anxiety, though, it can be guilt-inducing and stressful if you know that they’ll be upset as soon as you leave. No matter what your motivations are — whether you’re striving to resolve doggie separation anxiety, or you’d just really like to adopt another dog — taking the time to make sure you've got a good fit is key.