There’s always apprehension when one has to add a new puppy to the family. Especially regarding your older dog’s reaction.
What the Experts Say
The experts suggest that you introduce your adult dog to your new puppy on neutral ground with a fence between them before moving to home ground.
There are several do’s and don’ts (most of them very obvious):
- don’t let them fight
- don’t let your older dog bully the puppy
- don’t force them to be together
- don’t hold the puppy in your arms when introducing them
- do spend quality time with each separately
- do allow them to play under supervision
- do give them their own toys
- do give them their own food bowls
For a whole lot of more tips, practical advice and how-to’s, check out these posts:
- How to Train an Older Dog to Accept a New Puppy
- How to Introduce a New Puppy to Your Older Dog
- What to Expect: Introducing a Puppy to Your Adult Dogs
- Bringing home a second dog
- Introducing New Puppies Into Homes With Senior Dogs
- Introducing A Puppy To An Older Dog – Getting Off On The Right Paw
I’ve done this several times. Let’s go with the most recent addition to the family: Caitlin.
When she arrived, she was already three months old. Which was perfect as having a very young puppy who still needed loads of attention wouldn’t have worked well with Tony in his condition and Cal in his agitated state (my big boy doesn’t like change). The twins were five at the time.
With Tony’s illness, he was in no condition to play but he was very accepting of Caitlin. She understood that mimicking what he was doing (chewing something while laying still on the bed) was the best way to bond. She and Cal had to do a acclimatising period where she was inside a pen and he was outside, getting to know each other’s smells and so forth. It took about a week of supervised “playdates”.
Because I chose Caitlin for her temperament, she adjusted well with Cal. They complement each other. Which is what you have to look out for when adding a new puppy to the mix.
Usually, I would get two young puppies and raise them myself because my older dog would be well-adjusted and okay with change. Cal is my most sensitive dog yet. He gets night terrors, easily gets anxiety if things change too much, and doesn’t like other animals much. To make sure that he wouldn’t kill the new puppy, I had to get one with the right personality. And I could only get one (one change at a time).
Cal loves Caitlin. Ever since she came into his life, he has been more playful, more awake and a lot happier than he has ever been. He was okay with his twin and the Rottweiler who raised them, but he never had a bond with them – he would be okay if they weren’t around. But with Caitlin… He found his soulmate. I believe she is the reason why he is healthier (emotionally and physically) at age seven than he ever was as a young dog.
The takeaway: know your dogs. Understand pack hierarchy. Respect personalities. And smother them with love.
What is your experience in introducing your older dog to a new puppy?
**Legal waiver: I’m not a veterinarian, just an overprotective Rottweiler mum and pack leader. It’s always best to contact your vet if something in your dog’s behaviour is out of character.
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