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How to Introduce Your New Puppy to an Older Dog

August 25, 2020

Bringing a new puppy into your family is an exciting time, but it can be stressful if your puppy and your older dog just can’t seem to get along. While most dogs are able to establish the laws of the land and build an amicable relationship with time, every dog is different, and they will respond differently to each other. There are a few foolproof steps that dog owners can take to avoid common pitfalls when introducing your new puppy to an older dog.

1. Prepare before you introduce your puppy to your older dog

Before you bring a new puppy into your home, it’s important to take a few things into consideration. Do some research on the temperament of your new dog and think about how they may interact with your older dog. If you have a gentle and calm dog, your strategy may be different than if your dog is dominant and high-energy. Before introducing your new puppy, you should also ensure that both dogs get check-ups and are up to date on all their vaccines.

2. Choose a neutral meeting place

It’s common for older dogs to feel territorial and become jealous when new dogs are taking up their space or disrupting their normal routines. To avoid this, think of a neutral, enclosed meeting place for your new puppy and older dog to meet, where they can become familiar with each other without the added complication of jealousy. Keep the first meeting brief. Allow the two dogs to sniff each other and walk freely without tension on their leash. Most importantly, keep the meeting positive. Dogs can sense your emotions, so if you are tense, they will be too. Keep an eye out for body language. How are the dogs interacting with each other? If they are getting along, allow them to play. If they’re snarling and growling at each other, It might be time to intervene.

3. Care for each dog individually

Dogs thrive on human love and attention. Your older dog, who is used to getting all of your attention, may not respond well when a new puppy is thrown into the mix. It’s important to let your older dog know that they are not losing anything by having a new puppy around. For this reason, it is a good idea to divide your attention and give each dog its alone time. It can also help to feed your dogs in different areas, give them separate toys and treats suitable for their size, and create spaces in your house where they can get away from each other. Follow the normal routine you kept with your older dog and find ways to incorporate your new puppy into it.

4. Monitor your dogs throughout the day

Supervision of the two dogs’ interactions is essential. Make sure your puppy is learning vital social skills and gaining an understanding of what they can and cannot do. It may help to have the older dog around when you train your new puppy because they act as a role model of good behavior. The more you interject when your puppy is acting out, the less likely it is that your puppy and your older dog with lash out on each other. While it’s important to watch how your dogs are acting towards each other, don’t be overbearing. Allow them to interact with each other and play as long as it continues in a positive manner.

These four simple steps help create a smooth transition when bringing your new puppy home. While your new puppy and older dog may not become best friends immediately, it’s important to be patient and stay persistent. Once both dogs get comfortable, figure out how to live in harmony, and understand that there is enough attention to go around, you will start to see their lifelong friendship grow.

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