by Val DeSantis
It's tempting to add a new puppy to your family -- especially if your older dog is starting to slow down. But to maintain a happy household, you as the pet parent need to set the stage for introducing the older dog to your new puppy, and vice-versa.
When you bring your new puppy home for the first time, place him in a crate and keep him out of sight from your older dog. This allows the older dog to become familiar with him and get used to the scent of the newcomer. Do this for at least a few days.
When you actually do make the introduction between your older dog and your puppy, keep both dogs on leashes so you can control each individually. This first meeting should be strictly nose-to-nose so you can observe and control the situation. Be quick to separate them if either pet acts afraid or aggressive.
You're better off making fewer, shorter introductions during these first few days than a "once and done." And gradually bringing the new puppy into your "pack" will help avoid competition or resentment.
Here are some other tips I give to my clients to help introduce an older dog to a puppy:
- Never let an older dog intimidate a puppy.
- Never leave the two alone together, even if one dog is crated.
- Always supervise playtime, even if it looks like they're getting along. That dynamic can change in a second, especially in a new relationship.
- Just like your human kids, never let your older dog "beat up on his little sister."
- Likewise, never let the puppy abuse his older brother. Separate them in crates if necessary.
- Feed and walk each dog separately at first.
Mom Likes You Best
Sometimes when we get a new puppy, we tend to give it all our love and attention, neglecting our older dog. Some people err in the opposite direction and shower the old dog with affection to keep him from feeling jealous, ignoring the new puppy. A good doggie parent should love each dog equally. Your example will encourage them to love each other. And even if your dogs don't go gaga over each other, you as the pack leader need to let them know they at least need to respect one another. If you're not sure how to go about this, consult with a professional dog trainer before you get your new puppy.
I carefully introduced my female German Shepherd puppy to my older dog, a male Miniature Long-haired Dachshund. Even though there's a big difference in their sizes, they learned to love and watch out for each other. The three of us are a pack, and I am their leader. This is very clear!
Exceptional Canine expert Val DeSantis has more than 30 years of experience in dog training. He's a certified master trainer and behavioral consultant and is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. He owns K-9 Psychologist, a dog-training business in Pueblo West, Colo.
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