New puppies and older dogs need to meet gradually

Bringing home a new puppy to be a companion to your older dog is often a challenge. Your older dog has established territory from your home to the yard and even routes used for walking. They need a lot of attention and reassurance from you that this new comer is not going to usurp their time with you.

To introduce the new puppy, pick a neutral area.  You might try someone else’s yard or have a friend meet you walking down the street with the new puppy. The two dogs should always be on leashes and under control. You can also have a friend hold the puppy in their arms and let the older dog sniff it. Another technique for that first introduction is to put the puppy in it’s crate and allow the older dog to sniff it through the gate. If the older dog growls, you should give it a strong verbal correction. You are the “pack leader” and need to show the dog that you won’t tolerate aggression toward the new “pack” member.

Once you feel the dogs are ready to try being together, having given them lots of praise for accepting kinds of behaviors, you can take them to a mutual play area. Remember to remove all toys from the play area to prevent altercations over the toys. Limit the first play times to a 5 minute session and gradually build up from there. It can take a month or more of supervised playtime to get the puppy and older dog to coexist. If there are any signs of aggression, take a break and try again later. Young puppies may not recognize signs of an older dog’s aggressive moves or postures. So watch for signs that your older dog is tiring or attempting to avoid the new puppy.

Your first walks together should be away from home and take a new route. Older dogs may consider the old route their personal territory which can trigger aggression.  Mutual walks on leashes are a good way to give positive reinforcement to the dogs that being together can be fun. It takes time but the two of them will be much more likely to accept each other when you follow these tips.




One Response to New puppies and older dogs need to meet gradually

  1. monica says:

    this sounds just like the method we used to introduce our cat to our adopted pup. it worked and they are now buddies. thanks for sharing, though we aren’t ready for puppy #2 quite just yet 🙂

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