Many Australian Cattle Dog owners consider getting a second dog either of another breed or more often than not another Heeler. This is often to provide companionship to their existing Blue Heeler. Blue Heelers require a lot of activity, both mental and physical, to avoid boredom. A second dog can provide companionship and engagement and make them less reliant on human company. This can help with a Heeler that is left home alone. For more on leaving a Blue Heeler home alone see here.
Is it better to have two Blue Heelers?
It depends upon numerous factors but in many cases, two Australian Cattle Dogs are better than having one. Blue Heelers are friendly social dogs and are generally good with other dogs. They would enjoy the companionship of another Blue Heeler or even a dog of a compatible breed in the home.
Ultimately, whether your Blue Heeler would like a companion or be the only dog in the home does depend on the temperament and personality of the individual dog. Most Blue Heelers like company while there may be some that can act jealous and not want competition for your affection and attention.
Australian Cattle Dogs are generally a breed that needs interaction and companionship from other dogs and humans. With our busy lifestyles and commitments, we can’t always be around to give them the contact they require.
In this situation, getting a second Blue Heeler or dog for your existing Heeler is often a good idea. However, you must also take into account the extra work, financial cost, and responsibility that goes with having two or more dogs.
It is often best to get a second Blue Heeler or dog once the original dog has settled in. Getting two Blue Heelers or dogs at the same time can lead to problems and result in littermate syndrome.
What is litter mate syndrome?
Littermate syndrome is when two dogs become so bonded to each other that they have no interest in anything or anybody else including their owners. This usually occurs with puppies that are from the same litter, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Two dogs that are raised together can also form this bond.
Litter Mate syndrome can affect the dogs’ development and can result in behavior issues, making them hard to train and become anxious around other people and dogs. It can also lead to conflict and aggression toward each other. This does tend to be more commonly seen with two females.
Just because two puppies from the same litter are raised together doesn’t mean that they will definitely develop littermate syndrome. In many cases, siblings will live perfectly happily together without this issue. It is just something to be aware of if you are considering getting two Blue Heelers or dogs at the same time.
What is the best age and gender to get a second Blue Heeler
Ideally, it is best to have a small age difference between your existing Blue Heeler and a new dog. Anywhere between 8 months and 5 years is good. This way the older Blue Heeler or dog is still young and active enough to want to play and be accepting of the new dog. They will also be old enough and well-behaved enough to be a role model and make training the new dog easier.
If your current Blue Heeler has behavior issues, getting a second dog will not help to fix them. In fact, it is more likely that you will end up with two dogs with behavior issues. Dogs learn from each other. See more about common Blue Heeler behavior issues.
When it comes to what gender the second Australian Cattle Dog should be, two males are generally better than two females. Raising two females together can lead to fighting once they become mature. This is less likely with two males.
A male and a female Blue Heeler often do well together. However, you will need to take precautions to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Having a male that is not neutered in the home with a female on heat can be difficult and will need to be separated during this time.
For more on the differences between male and female Bue heelers see here.
What is a bonded pair of Blue Heelers?
The term bonded pair refers to a pair of Blue Heelers or dogs that have developed a very close and tight relationship. It can have similar problems to that of dogs with littermate syndrome. Blue Heelers can be a breed that is prone to form a bonded pair with another Blue Heeler or dog.
This becomes an issue when they are separated or apart for a period of time. In this situation, they may become unhappy and depressed. If you do have two blue Heelers or dogs it is a good idea for them to spend some time apart to learn to be ok with their companion not being there all the time.
Symptoms and signs your Blue Heeler is lonely
If your Blue Heeler is lonely or has anxiety their behavior and mood will reflect this. Blue Heelers are a very outgoing social breed usually. They enjoy the company of people and other animals they know whenever possible. A dog that is not receiving an adequate amount of social interaction can become bored, frustrated, lonely, and even depressed.
If your Blue Heeler is left home alone a lot, getting a companion for them can be a good idea. To learn more about leaving a Blue Heeler home alone see here.
These are some of the signs that your Australian Cattle Dog may be craving more interaction and companionship.
Destructive behavior and chewing your property is a sign that your Blue Heeler is bored and frustrated. For more on destructive behavior see here.It may even be a sign that they are lonely and depressed. This can also happen if they are not receiving adequate exercise and mental stimulation.
If your well toilet trained Blue Heeler is having toileting mishaps it can also be a sign of them feeling depressed and lonely. It is important to eliminate any potential medical issue before assuming it is the result of being lonely. Consult you vet if in doubt.
Nuisance barking and howling
A common casue of nuisance barking and vocalizing when being home alone is often a sign they are bored, frustrated, and possibly separation anxiety. It is a call for attention from anybody who is listening. For more on Blue Heeler nuisance barking see here.
Low energy levels and no appetite
Changes in your Blue Heelers mood can often lead to low energy and changes in their eating habits. This again can also be the result of a medical issue, so have your vet examine them to eliminate this.
Most Blue Heelers in general are not an aggressive breed despite sometimes having a reputation for it. Learn more about Blue Heeler aggression here. If your Blue Heeler has suddenly started to display aggressive behavior they may be showing that they are depressed and frustrated. There are other reasons for aggressive behavior such as medical issues. Consult your vet if you have any concerns.
Should I get a second Blue Heeler or dog?
You may be thinking about getting a second Australian Cattle Dog or even a dog of another breed to keep them company. This may be a good idea, but it is a serious decision that comes with added responsibility and costs. It is important that you make the right situation and discuss it fully with the family or anyone that the decision may affect. If it doesn’t work out it can be heartbreaking to have to rehome one of the dogs later.
It is omportant to do your research and give it alot of thought to ensure it is the right decision for you, your current dog, and any new dog that you are bringing into the home.
Before getting a second dog to keep the first company it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of your potential decision.
Reasons to get a second dog
- They can become a great friend for your existing Blue Heeler.
- Can help a Blue Heeler that is suffering from separation anxiety. Learn more about separation anxiety in Blue Heelers here.
- It can bring twice as much pleasure and adventure to you.
- You may be helping a rescue dog from a shelter saving their lives.
- It can be easier to train a second dog. This is because you will be more knowledgable and experienced as an existing dog owner. Dogs also learn from each other. However, beaware that if your existing Blue Heeler has behavior issues it is likely the new dog will develop these also.
- Blue Heelers require a lot of exercise daily, both physical and mental. For more on Blue Heeler exercise with suggestions see here. They will be able to help each other burn off some energy. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to exercise your dogs just because you have two but their will be an efficiency.
Why you should not get a second Blue Heeler or dog
- There is a financial cost to owning a dog. This can include food, vet bills or pet insurance, grooming, licensing or registration fees, and so on. If you go on vacation. it will be more expensive to board two dogs.
- There will be more cleaning to do. Dogs can make a mess. This doesn’t just include the extra housework but also the extra poo they produce.
- When introducing a new dog their is the risk that they don’t get along with each other. This is because of the potential for competition over resources such as food and toys. It is crucial to introduce and settle the new dog the right way to avoid these potential problems. I often recommended that your second dog is of the opposite gender to your current one, but this is not necessarily the case. I had three male dogs at one stage and there were never any problems. However, it is crucial to set the rules and boundaries from the start. They were all different ages so a natural hirrearchy developed.
- A new dog (especially if they are a puppy) can be a lot of extra work. You are going to go through all the work such as toilet training and so that you did with your first dog.
- If your current Blue Heeler has behavior issues such as barking, or destructive behavior, adding a second dog may make the behavior worse. You may also find the new dog develops the same behavior issues. For more on common Blue Heeler behavior issues see here.
- If you have other pets in the home such as a cat, it may be very stressful for them with two dogs in the home. Blue Heelers generally can get along with a cat in the home, but two dogs together may be overwelming for a cat. For more Blue Heelers with cats see here.
Introducing a second Blue Heeler or dog
Introducing your Australian Cattle Dog to a new dog in the home is a crucial time. If done right it will set the scene for a harmonious relationship between the two. If done wrong it can lead to ongoing issues and problems between the two. For more on Blue Heelers with other dogs see here.
These suggestions will help to make the whole process run smoother.
Where to introduce your Blue Heeler to the new dog
Ideally it is best to introduce your new puppy or dog to your existing Blue Heeler on neutral ground. This will depend on how territiorial your Blue Heeler is of you home. They may feel it is disrespectful for a new dog to arrive. If you have other dogs come to your home often this may not be necessary. This first meeting can be outside in the yard or at a park.
Give them their own areas
A the new is only a puppy, they should have their own crate and playpen. This will will make potty training easier and confine them from having the run of the whole house. It will also make it easy to separate the dogs when required.
Your existing Blue Heeler should also have an area they can go to if they want to be left alone. Puppies can be a bit much for an older dog.
Supervise playtime initially
At first it is important to supervise all play sessions. This way any conflict between the two can be taken care off without it turning into a full blown fight.. Time spent together should be a positive experience for both dogs.
Both dogs should have some of their own things. Be aware of your existing dog becoming possessive or territorial over their things.
The existing Blue Heeler and other dog should be feed separately and not be allowed to eat from each other bowls. If you have an older dog and the new dog is a puppy they will probably be eating different formulas.
You can feed them a small distance apart and supervise them. Don’t allow either dog to move towards or eat from the other bowl. Alternatively, you can feed them on opposite sides of a door. This way they know the other one is their eating but there is a physical barrier to prevent issues.
Ideally, give the existing Blue Heeler their food first. Once they begin to eat you can give the new addition their bowl. This will help establish the existing older dog as higher in the pack hierarchy.
Socialize with other dogs
The two dogs will have each other for company. However, it is still crucial that they still do learn to socialize with other dogs. This is especially true for the new addition. For more on Blue Heeler socialization see here.
Provide one on one time for each
To prevent jealousy and rivalry for your attention and to allow you to bond properly with the new dog time should be spent with each dog separately. This can include taking one for a walk while the other remains at home. This will help them to get used to being apart from each other.
Blue Heeler compatible breeds
If you are considering getting a companion for your Blue Heeler, another Heeler is the obvious choice. The Blue Heeler is generally outgoing and friendly with most other dogs. However, if you are wanting to get a different breed of dog, there are many breeds that would go well with a Blue Heeler. It is often a good idea to go with a breed that has similar energy levels and temperament. These include –
- Golden Retrievers
- Border Collie
- Australian Shepherd
- Boxer dog
- Jack Russell
- German Shepherd
Summary – Are Blue Heelers better in pairs
Australian Cattle Dogs are generally outgoing and friendly with other dogs and many Heelers would love to have a companion. Another blue Heeler is often the best choice but there are many breeds that would make a good friend for a Blue Heeler.
Getting a second dog is a serious decision and comes with a lot of responsibility. You need to weigh up the pros and cons to ensure it is the best decision for both you and your existing Blue Heeler.