Should I get my dog a playmate?

(Q) I have a 10-month-old neutered Border Collie. He's very sociable with other dogs and loves to play. I'm considering getting him a playmate but I'm worried about him feeling put out.

(A) Trainer and behaviourist Steve Goward says: Getting a second dog is often a tricky decision to make and it's great you are giving it so much thought before diving into the world of multi-dog households.

I've always advocated the multi-dog household for those dogs who like to be around other dogs. I'm currently in the process of finding my Newfoundland-cross a new friend after her buddy passed on last year.

When clients ask my advice about getting a second dog, I usually direct them to one of our rehoming centres, as this is often a really good way at looking at a variety of dogs with different play styles and characters.

The advantage of going to a rehoming centre is that you are able to try the dogs together and assess their match, and also get advice from the trained staff at the centre.

You might come away with a completely different dog to what you expected, but as long as the choice is made with both your lifestyle and the existing dog in mind then there is much fun to be had for all concerned.