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Ask Bondi Vet

Dogs being left alone

Are dogs better in pairs than alone


1 Answer



Thank you for your question.

Dogs are pack animals, meaning they have an instinct to live in a group. In fact, they feel most comfortable when they have a pack with a leader and a clear order. When dogs live with humans, the humans become their pack. It means the dog looks at all the other humans in the family as leaders and themselves as last in the order which is where they are content to be (usually!).

When dogs are separated from their pack/family they may become worried and stressed and we see this ‘separation anxiety’ show up as destructive behaviours.

Your dog may be a be perfect angel while you are home, yet destructive and untrustworthy while you are away. We have busy lives and it’s rarely possible to be with our dogs all the time which is where getting a second dog may be of benefit. It doesn’t instantly cure all destructive behaviours but your dog will often be happier and more settled.

Its important to remember however, that the pack order between the two dogs will need to be established at the start which can lead to challenges in the short term while they sort themselves out. The other thing to consider is whether you are in a position to have two dogs- the costs associated with having a dog pretty much double when a pair of them! This includes not just day to day necessities like dog food but also healthcare- vaccinations, preventative medications and potentially vet visits :-)

- Dr Alex Hynes


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