Introducing two or more unfamiliar dogs is tricky no matter what their ages, but the task is even more complicated when one dog is a hyper puppy and the other is an aging pooch used to being the top dog. If you want to bring a new puppy into your home, do it gradually to halt the growling and fighting before they begin. If your older dog refuses to accept the new arrival after several weeks of unhurried introduction, see your vet find out why.
Before bringing your new puppy home:
- Keep out chewing and favorite toys for your older dog, to avoid regional behavior.
- Create spaces in your home where both dogs can get away from one another.
- Purchase separate food dishes to prevent misappropriation.
- Ensure that dogs are aware of vaccinations.
During the introduction
Your older dog is your home. In order to prevent regional aggression, find a neutral area to introduce the older dog to the new puppy. Put your older dog on a leash while another person holds a puppy on a leash. However, let them smell and meet each other. There is no need to cling tightly to your side. You don’t want them to feel restricted.
- Introduce your old and new dogs on neutral territory to reduce the risk that your existing dog will see your new puppy as an intruder after his space. Enlist the help of a friend or family member, each of you takes one dog, and then meet in an unfamiliar location near your home.
- Watch both dogs for signs of discomfort and aggressive posture. If the hair on your dog’s back stands up, if he bears his teeth or if he stares for a prolonged period, separates the dogs and try the introduction again on another day. If this behavior continues beyond the introduction stage, consult your vet.
- Feed older and younger dogs separately. This keeps your puppy’s nose out of your older dog’s bowl and prevents jealous fights over food. Eating together should be one of the last things your dogs learn to do together.
- Remove objects from the environment your dogs can’t or won’t share or that might start fights. Make sure both your older pooch and your new puppy have their own food and water bowls, beds, toys, leashes, and other supplies. Never give one of your older dog’s toys to the new dog, even if your older dog doesn’t play with it anymore.
- Offer your older dog at least as much love and attention as you did before the new puppy moved in. Having two or more dogs should not mean that each dog is loved less. Make sure all your animals feel loved and appreciated.
- Allow your older dog to warn your puppy with a snarl or growl. This behavior is designed to set limits for the puppy and is natural and healthy. Do not allow your older dog to bite or otherwise harm your new puppy.
- Make sure your older dog has a safe place away from the annoying puppy. Just like small children can tire and annoy adult humans, puppies can quickly get on the nerves of older dogs. Let your aging dog have a break in a location the new puppy is not allowed.
- Reward all your pets for behaving nicely with each other and in general. Offer treats, praise them, and love them.
When should you introduce a puppy to an older dog?
Do your best to have fun with each of the dogs. Don’t give up on individual walking with your older dog. Gently reward your older dog any time he approaches the new puppy. Give him reward and praise if the puppy approaches without any accident.
Warning: Do not leave an older dog alone with a new puppy until you are absolutely sure of their ability to coexist with each other. Leaving them without supervision before this stage of their relationship could put one or both dogs at risk.