January 9th •
Bringing home a new puppy is always an exciting time for a family–especially for the established Alpha Dog in your pack.
For dogs who aren’t used to sharing the love, it can be quite the unique experience. We’ve gone over puppy socialization before, but in this article, we are going to look at some tried and tested methods that will ensure your new puppy and your older dog can get along and will become the best of friends.
Naturally, these methods are designed for a friendly animal, but if your dog has ever shown any aggressive tendencies, it is best to introduce your dog with a trainer or behaviorist present.
A new pup means some extra work at home! You will need to ensure that your dog at home is up to date on their vaccinations, as the new dog could be carrying something if you have gotten them from a shelter or the kennel. You should also chat with your vet to see if total separation is needed for your incoming pup, as some fatal diseases can incubate for up to two weeks!
Finally, you will need to head to the pet store for some new beds, toys and treats to have something for the new pup to play with and make their own without other dog’s scents all over them.
When you first bring the new pup home, you will need to work your older dog into the routine. New puppies are known to be a handful, and an older dog might grow tired and start to become agitated due to the constant noise.
It is essential that you create a puppy starter room with toys, a bed and space away from your older dog’s normal sleeping or eating space. This will allow both dogs to have their safe areas and will enable you to feed, play and train your dogs in separate rooms to ensure that they are both getting equal human time.
The first introduction for both pups is an excellent opportunity to see how these two will interact, and thus it is a great option to opt for a neutral site. This can be a park around the corner or even the street, but the important thing is that both pups are on leashes to start.
If you are dealing with a younger pup, you should start with a friend holding the dog, and allowing the older dog to sniff around. You should then separate the two, and have the pup placed on the ground to let the two dogs approach each other at their speed.
The older dog should be able to sniff first, with your younger pup getting its turn after the older dog is done. This will allow both to get comfortable with each other and ensure that you are a little more relaxed about the whole process!
The critical thing to remember is to have you and your friend or family member stay relaxed during the introduction process. Dogs can sense tension, and these kinds of introductions need a lot of encouragement and zero stress!
If all goes well, you can start to increase the time spent together to five minutes, and then ten minutes. Both dogs should be relaxed, and happy throughout the time spend together. If these sessions are successful, you can start short sessions with both pups.
Short sessions are a great way to ensure both of your dogs are bonding, and usually consist of either longer walks at the park or around the block. Start with a short walk and see how the two dogs behave. If they are not aggressive towards each other or fighting over toys, you can then move to supervised off-leash activities to ensure they have some room to run around and interact with each other.
If you notice a growl or curled lip, don’t panic—these behaviors are healthy, but you should avoid having your new pup continually harass your older dog. If the new puppy is too rough, you should step in and redirect the pups teeth to a toy or end the play session if the behavior is continual. This is a process, and part of the process has your new pup learning what is, and what is not, acceptable.
Finally, as you start to increase the amount of time spent between the two pups, you will be able to start having both interact at the same time. You still need to ensure that you are balancing your time equally among the two, but playtime and relaxed time can now be spent together. It is always a good idea to provide each pup with their own eating space, and sleeping space, but they might ignore those and choose to cuddle up with you.
It is all about balance, and no matter how many pups you have, you need to work hard to maintain that balance across your canine family.
Bringing a new dog into an established pack might seem like a stressful ordeal, and you may have better results with a dog like one of our Doodles, as they are easygoing and lack the aggression that we have seen in other common breeds.
The introduction process is a time consuming one, but once completed, you will enjoy a happy little dog family for years to come.
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