Do Dogs Have Best Friends? Canine Behavior Explained

Dr. Chyrle Bonk PhotoDr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

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Dogs are a man’s best friend, but who is your dog’s best friend? Understanding how your dog’s brain works is one of the more challenging parts of being a dog owner. Some people say that dogs form meaningful connections, while others say that anything resembling an emotional bond is only an illusion. But who is right?

In this article, we will dive into the truth of whether dogs can have best friends. We will also examine how dogs connect with fellow dogs, humans, and other animals.

Do Dogs Have Best Friends?

Dogs are known to be friendly animals, but can they form friendships? Yes, they can! Canines are social animals. This can be observed in domesticated dogs and wild dogs; they prefer to stay in groups rather than spend their days in isolation. Their desire for community leads them to form connections with those in their social sphere, forming what we humans would refer to as friendships.

Among these friendships, dogs have been observed developing preferred companions, otherwise known as best friends. Dogs often gravitate toward others with similar playstyles, as their chemistry makes them compatible. Having a best friend helps to reduce their stress, as they feel more comfortable and safe when in the presence of their best friend.

Determining whether your dog has a best friend isn’t too difficult. The next time you’re at the dog park, observe where your dog naturally gravitates. Do they hang around a specific dog or group of dogs? Are they willing to share their toys, water bowl, and personal space with these dogs?

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Occasionally, your dog may even be willing to share their favorite treats and toys with a particular dog. These are all indications that your dog has formed a strong bond with their playmates.

kanaan-shepherd and terrier dogs run with ball outdoorskanaan-shepherd and terrier dogs run with ball outdoors
Photo Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock

Do Dogs Form Friendships With Their Owners?

Dogs have been an integral part of human life for thousands of years, starting when our ancestors began domesticating them. Through careful, deliberate breeding, the sociability of the canine was improved and expanded upon. As a result, dogs can form social bonds with species that are not their own. That includes humans.

Just like your dog can form connections with other canines, they can also attach themselves to you. Dogs that have formed connections with their family members may follow family rules, participate in activities, and regulate their emotions to match their family’s.

The strength of these connections is evidenced by dogs who experience separation anxiety. If dogs felt no connection to their owners, they wouldn’t experience separation anxiety when their humans weren’t around.

Do Dogs Form Friendships with Other Animals?

Dogs form friendships with fellow canines, and dogs form friendships with humans, but can they connect with other animals? The answer is yes; dogs can form meaningful relationships with other animals. This is typically seen in cats, which have also been domesticated for a prolonged period and have developed the capability to form social bonds outside their species.

While cats and dogs are portrayed as natural enemies, it is not an inevitable fact of life. As long as your cat and dog are introduced properly and given adequate time to adjust to each other’s presence, they can form a deep emotional connection with each other.

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Dogs can also form connections with other animals, such as rabbits or guinea pigs. However, allowing a dog and a small mammal to occupy the same space can be dangerous, and many dogs have a natural prey drive that compels them to see tiny creatures as food. If you keep small animals and a dog in the same house, supervise their interactions to ensure no irreversible mistakes are made.

scottish fold cat and schnauzer dogscottish fold cat and schnauzer dog

How to Tell if Your Dog Needs a Friend

Dogs are social creatures. They aren’t just capable of forming connections, but they also need companionship to thrive. Friendships are good for your dog’s mental health and should be cultivated whenever possible. Inadequate socialization can have a negative impact on your dog’s mental health and lead to unwanted behaviors.

If your dog is the only pet in the house, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are lonely. Dogs can form deep bonds with humans and receive plenty of social interaction. In fact, there is a very good chance that you are your dog’s best friend.

Still, many dogs can become lonely if their favorite humans are out of the house for a long time. Many dog owners decide that the natural conclusion is to get another dog to keep their pet company; however, this isn’t always the right move. How can you decide if it is a good fit for you?

Consider Your Dog’s Temperament

Even though dogs can form connections with other dogs, not all want to live with their fellow canines. If your dog is the type who needs space from other dogs after a trip to the dog park, you’ll want to consider the possibility that bringing another dog into your pet’s space will overwhelm them.

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Even more, if your dog becomes aggressive, anxious, or unfriendly around other dogs, bringing a new puppy into the home is surely a recipe for disaster. As fun as it may be to have multiple dogs, it is essential to recognize that this lifestyle isn’t suitable for every canine.

Cute Shar-Pei dog with owners at homeCute Shar-Pei dog with owners at home
Photo Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Think About Your Dog’s Behavior Regarding Their Possessions

Dogs can be possessive of their food, water, toys, beds, and other valuable items. If your dog is unwilling to share their objects or space at the dog park, they aren’t likely to want to share with a new furry roommate.

Observe Your Dog’s Behavior After a Play Date

If your dog is the type to love being around other dogs, monitor their behavior after they finish playing. If they seem depressed or unhappy after leaving their doggy friends behind, that indicates that they could benefit from more company. On the other hand, if your dog seems content and unbothered by their departure, they probably aren’t too lonely at home.

Final Thoughts

Dogs can form meaningful friendships with fellow dogs, human owners, and other animals. Many dog owners consider their pets their best friends, and it is likely that their dogs feel the same about them. A dog’s friendly demeanor and eagerness to socialize make them an excellent companion. Who wouldn’t want such a loveable creature for a best friend?

Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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