Introducing a New Puppy to your Resident DogAugust 2, 2018
We all just love the thought of bringing home a new puppy. The excitement on the way to pick it up, the drive back home, the first play in the yard are some of the most priceless moments you are looking forward after all these months of planning, or just simply after the decision of having a new pet. Even your neighbours, family and friends may want to come and see the new addition to the family that everyone has been talking about.
But there is a catch, you already have a dog, and this is the part that worries you the most: you have no idea how your older furry friend might feel about this.
It’s hard to predict our dog’s behaviour, but in fact, just like bringing home a newborn baby to a toddler, your resident dog will likely feel jealous and neglected for a short period (which is normal), while you try to get the puppy familiarized to your home and your everyday routine.
Here are our 5 recommendations when introducing a puppy to your older dog to help smooth the transition with the new family member.
- Try to introduce the new puppy to your resident dog on neutral territory. Take them both to a park and allow them to sniff and play with each other on a leash. If you see any aggression, you have control by holding the leash. Remember that puppies play rough and don’t know their own strength, so your older dog might not enjoy the new addition right away but will allow you to step up and display assertiveness while correcting unwanted behaviour.
- Allow them to play and explore each other at home with supervision. Remember that your resident dog may show signs of possessiveness and territorial behavior to assert their place in your home and around his space to show your puppy who’s boss. You can slowly leave them to play at times as you want your older dog to start trusting your puppy and teach him some doggy manners.
- Make sure you can leave them for a few hours before you remove any barriers between them, while they are unattended. It could take up to 3-4 weeks for your puppy and older dog to get along and play comfortably without you always having to supervise them. Once you have noticed full days where there is no “rough play” you can start leaving them together for short periods of time during the day.
- Puppies are the life of the party, so it’s imperative to allow your older dog to interact contently with the puppy as you want them to develop a strong bond right from the start, which will prevent aggressive behaviour and unintentional injuries. A long walk, a stroll in the park or just quality time with them at home will teach the right behaviour to the new puppy while making your older dog more comfortable around him.
- Keep an eye on them and remain consistent with commands and corrections. It may take up to 6 months until the puppy recognizes your older dog’s tolerance level for rough play, but consistency is the key as it will help your puppy learn the basics of respect from your resident dog while building confidence.
Remember, patience is the key to success.
It’s new for your older dog as he’s been your number 1 for so long, and it’s new for the puppy, as they haven’t learnt the ways of being with an adult dog yet. Give them both time to adjust to each other and try not to stress as they will feed from your energy.
Training, consistency and a routine will help you gradually blend the new puppy into your family like it is meant to be. Enjoy the new addition and take it one day at a time, it’s all worth it!