Introducing a new puppy to an existing dog can be a stressful experience for both the animals and the owners, but with the right approach they can develop a harmonious and long-lasting relationship.
Learn what steps you need to take to make sure your dogs and puppies get along - without the stress!
Introducing a New Puppy to Your Dog
It is generally believed that puppies and adult dogs can get along well. In fact, introducing a puppy to the home of an adult dog can be a great way to help the older dog adjust to having a new companion. However, there are certain precautions you should take in order to ensure that both dogs feel safe and comfortable around each other. This includes gradually introducing them and providing plenty of supervised playtime and quality bonding time as they get used to one another's presence. Growling is a natural way for dogs to communicate that they are unhappy about something and letting a pup know this can help teach them to recognise boundaries and the pecking order!. As long as the adult dog does not become aggressive, this is an acceptable form of communication between the two.
Allow a slow introduction between a new pup and an adult dog
Introduce your pup to your existing dog slowly, in a controlled environment. Allow just enough time for them to become familiar with each other's scent and get comfortable with each other, but don't let either one of them feel overwhelmed or stressed. Avoid having them interact face-to-face initially – instead keep them separated by a fence or barrier and let their scents mingle until they are used to each other’s presence.
Ensure both have similar energy levels.
It is important to choose a puppy with a relatively similar energy level to your existing dog. When selecting your puppy, try to gauge its temperament and playfulness. If both have compatible energy levels they will be more likely to enjoy playing and interacting with each other and less likely to become frustrated or overwhelmed. You can also use treats as a way to show the new pup that they are welcome in the house - this technique can help create positive associations between the two animals.
Define a safe space for both of them.
Setting boundaries can help both animals feel safe and secure. Make sure to create separate spaces in the house for each dog with their own beds, toys, and feeding areas to prevent competition.
Crate sleeping or the use of puppy pens is the perfect setup for this scenario. It will also prevent any issues from developing. A crat or puppy pen provides a safe space for both animals to retreat or just have some respite from one another if needed.
If either of the animals starts displaying signs of aggression or nervousness, you may want to consider putting a physical barrier between them such as a gate or baby gate. This will give both animals a chance to get used to each other while still protecting them from any potential conflicts.
Continue their individual daily routines.
When introducing new pets, it’s important to continue each animal's individual daily routines such as feeding and walks.Make sure that your feed the two dogs separately to begin with. Make sure that your older dog eats first as this will help reinforce the dog hierarchy in your house. Your pup may be needing 3 meals a day, feed them in another area and have a small healthy treat for your older dog. This allows each one to feel comfortable in their own space and can help prevent any unwanted competition for resources. Taking time each day to provide individual attention, training, and exercise will make sure that both animals are getting the attention they need and can aid in developing a strong bond between them.
Spend time with each pet separately or together in a positive atmosphere.
Spending time together in a positive, pressure-free environment helps create healthy relationships between both animals. Introduce them in an area with few distractions such as the backyard so both animals can get to know each other without feeling stressed by unfamiliar sounds and smells. Start by introducing your existing dog to the new puppy while they are on opposite sides of a barrier that is set up, preferably at their eye level. This allows both animals to get used to each other's smell, sight and sound before actually coming into physical contact.
What can you do to help the old and the new dogs get along?
To ensure a good relationship between an adult dog and puppy, introduce them on neutral ground. Bring them to a neutral space such as a green space that is unfamiliar to both animals. Each dog should be walked separately, but brought to the same meeting spot supervised by an additional person or with multiple leashes for more than one dog. When they meet, good socialisation can help them get along from the start. When a proper introduction is made, dogs can usually cohabitate without much difficulty. To ensure successful intros, it's best to keep both dogs on loose leashes or head halters for the first meeting. This helps ensure that each individual dog has firm control of their behavior and still feels comfortable in their surroundings. When introducing a puppy to an adult dog, it is important to monitor their body language closely to look for signs of aggression. Allow the dogs time to sniff each other and make positive eye contact before intervening if necessary, speaking in a calming voice. If there are signs of aggression, such as snarling or growling, it is best not to scold them. Letting the dogs naturally establish a peaceful social hierarchy is better in the long term than forcing them together. If they ignore each other in the beginning, that's okay; they will get used to one another when they feel safe and comfortable.
With some time and patience, your older dog and new puppy can become the very best of friends. You'll need to introduce them to each other slowly and safely, providing supervision while they get used to one another. By following these simple tips and tricks, you'll be able to make sure your pup and resident dog are co-existing in harmony. Of course, our expert staff are available to help you should you have any questions.
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