Introducing Your New Puppy to Your Older Dog
After experiencing the joy of having a dog, you might have thought to yourself: “If having one dog is this enjoyable, wouldn’t two be better?” That train of thought is likely what lead you to this article you’re reading now. Having two dogs in the home can double your enjoyment, to be sure, but you will have to give some thought to how well your two dogs will get along with each other. Specifically, you will have to consider how readily your older dog will accept the new one.
ARE YOU READY?
Before you even bring a new pup home, ask yourself if you are ready for such a significant decision. Think back on the preparations you had to make for your first dog. Not only will you have to go over these preparations again, but you will have to assume twice the responsibility with your new dog. Factors such as breed compatibility, age, and gender all warrant careful consideration, as they could have a significant effect on how well both your dogs will get along.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Not all breeds of dogs will get along with others equally well. Some will have difficulty keeping their primal instincts in check, and many may be reluctant to give up their alpha dog status. Others will remain loyal to family members but will be willing to accept newcomers if they see that you are okay with them. If you are considering bringing a new dog into your home, take some time to do some research on how well certain breeds react with others.
One of the advantages of adopting a puppy is that they pose little “threat” to an older dog. Most dogs that have already settled into the “alpha” role may raise a fuss when confronted with an equally lively and aggressive dog. Puppies are generally perceived to be less threatening, and your older dog will be more likely to be tolerant of the newcomer.
It would probably be best to ease your new dog into your household routine rather than letting him run free right off the bat. Dogs tend to be very territorial and may not appreciate the intrusion of an interloper, no matter how cute he may be. It might even be better to have your two pets meet each other in a neutral, public environment, where neither one has staked his claim. Doing so might make it easier for them to accept each other’s presence in your home.
Don’t expect your dogs to get friendly with each other overnight. Some dogs may need a “getting-to-know-you” period of a few days before they even approach either. Depending on how well your older dog accepts the new one, it might be necessary to have a few short acclimation “sessions” spaced out over several days before they will begin to get used to each other.
It is almost always best to set up a separate sleeping and living area for your new dog, at least for a week or so. Your older dog will likely have developed specific eating and sleeping habits, and probably wouldn’t appreciate having the routine disrupted by a new pup. Over time, you can move your new pup’s bedding and feeding bowls closer and closer until your older dog becomes accustomed to the newcomer’s presence.
Bringing a new pup into your home is rarely ever easy. Thankfully, dogs are social creatures that will gradually learn to welcome and accept new members into the fold. Always be mindful of your older dog’s habits and personal space. Give some time for the two to get used to each other, and they will be living together without conflict a lot sooner than you think.