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Introducing a New Puppy to Your Current Dog

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Published in Dog 101

Have a dog-friendly house and want to introduce a new family member to the squad?

It might look easy at a first glance, but dog behavior can perplex even the most knowledgeable dog lovers.

This article is intended to explore the best methodology for introducing puppies to adult dogs. Please bear in mind that if your dog exhibits aggressive behavior to other dogs, the introduction of a new member is a high-risk endeavor, and we recommend having a dog trainer present at the site. So if you are looking for labradoodle puppies for sale or goldendoodle puppies for sale and you have another dog already. This article is a good place to start before you commit.

Dogs are just like people, they have unique personalities and temperaments. They also tend to resemble human behavior as they get older, meaning older dogs prefer calm activities as opposed to exciting explorations favored by younger dogs. For the introduction process to go as smoothly as possible, first assess your current pet family.

You might find out upon the assessment, that a new puppy will bring a great deal of stress to your old dog and forgo the decision to get a puppy. The physical condition of dogs will play an important part in the decision as well.

Some older dogs might find the puppy’s boisterous behavior rather irritating. Others might get disappointed by the reduced attention and care from your side. If you have many dogs, they might get confused over the new dynamic in the pack. You must make a careful assessment of the current situation and make sure the temperament of each dog is taken into account.

Sometimes getting a new puppy is not an option, but a long-awaited dream that has to come true. You want to bring the new energy into the house, and a puppy is the best way to enliven the household.

Here’s the best way to introduce new pups to older dogs:

Basic Health Check

New energy also means new infections. When the puppy enters a new house, it brings all the malicious external environment along with it. This should not be a problem for your pet family if the dogs are properly vaccinated.

One of the most widespread infections is bordetella, that puppies usually encounter in shelters, rescue kennels and other dog facilities. To prevent infecting the whole house, your vet might recommend total separation. Incubation will also help reveal some less noticeable, but equally dangerous infections, that don’t show any symptoms for up to two weeks.

If you’ve been planning to alter any of the dogs in the house, this might be the perfect time to do so. Altered dogs are more comfortable with new members and won’t be protecting their territory too fiercely. It recommended that you get the dog fixed at least 1 month before bringing the puppy into a house.

Fleas and parasites are another danger to look out for. The puppy’s immune system is very fragile so make sure you protect all your dogs against these pesky insects.

Allow for Alone Time

Your older dog probably has some rituals that it follows daily. The dog has its favorite places in the house and enjoys playing with the same toys. Having a puppy in the house will shatter this established routine. Provide enough room and space for your older dog to conduct its usual activities.

Try to keep the puppy away from places where the older dog sleeps or eats. Make the older dog feel safe in the familiar environment. Puppies can be placed in crates for the first couple of weeks, which creates some sort of a distance. Just like kids, dogs can get extremely anxious when they aren’t given enough attention, so play, feed and pay equal attention to each dog.

First Encounters

First meetings can certainly go wrong, but you have nothing to worry about if you pick a neutral territory. Go to a park or street where you don’t usually walk your dog.

If your puppy is too little to go outside, just use the adjacent or neighbor’s territory. Having a leash on both dogs is the key to taking the situation under control. If you have to introduce several dogs to the puppy, do it one by one and allow some rest in between the sessions.

You can usually predict dog’s behavior by observing how they act at home. If they are friendly and welcoming to you and other people, they will most likely be calm the puppy. Introduce the most friendly dogs to the puppy first.

The first introduction is exciting for both parties. If your puppy is too little to be on a leash, hold it in your hands and allow the older dog to approach.

Keep the older dog on a leash all the time. Give some time to the older dog to examine and sniff the puppy. Then separate them, put the puppy on the ground, get the leash on the puppy and allow them again to carefully approach each other.

Keep both dogs on a leash and let the older one approach first. The puppy, being the curious one, will start jumping around the older dog, while the older dog will probably be a lot more cautious. Let the older dog lead the way by restraining the puppy from sniffing.

Allow for the adult to sniff first. After the older dog is done sniffing, it is now the puppy’s turn.

Some behavior specialists also recommend having a tennis net installed between the dogs for an added safety. After the dogs get used to each other, you can remove the net and let them sniff each other one more time.

The dogs feel the tension of their owners, so it’s important to stay calm and encourage good behavior with “good dog” phrases during the introduction process.

A leash can also lead to additional stress as it presents a restricting condition for dogs, who feel like they are stuck and can’t get away from the situation. Stay aware of emotional cues such as avoidance, lack of interest and growling and separate the dogs at the first sign of aggression.

Walking Around the Neighborhood

Your dogs should be used to seeing other dogs when they go for a walk. Pretend that a new puppy is just a neighbor’s dog and take the two dogs on a walk. The puppy should be handled by a different person while you lead your older dog on a leash.

Keep the leash loose, allow for some parallel walking before the head-to-head meeting and you’ll see your puppy making first friends in no time. Each head-to-head introduction session should last for 5-10 minutes before you move to the next step.

Continue walking the dogs side by side every day. Always keep the dogs on the leash until they become accustomed to each other. You can then unleash them and allow them to play. It’s best to unleash the dogs after a long walk together when they are slightly tired.

Choose a large playground, remove all the toys to prevent toy wars, unleash the dogs and see how they behave. The signs of aggression such as growling or showing the teeth are an indication that the dog is getting irritated and the bonding session must end.

Living Together in the House

Puppies are energetic creatures. They want to move around and play all the time. Older dogs, on the other hand, have certain preferences—some would be totally fine with increased activity, others will feel threatened. Your goal is to make everyone feel comfortable, especially your older dog. There is a language the dogs use to express how they feel.

A lip curl or a growl should be taken as normal signs of the dog getting tired. Give the puppy a toy to play or redirect its attention onto something else, but never punish the older dog for giving the right warning signs.

Bringing a new puppy into a house is a wonderful experience for you and your older dog. Usually, well-trained dogs are perfectly comfortable and welcome new family members with ease.

However, there is a certain risk involved and you need to be very careful when introducing the two dogs. Dogs play by the rules of nature whereas living at a human home with another dog is as far from nature as it can get.

If you are looking for labradoodles or goldendoodles anywhere in the county we got you covered. Check out our locations.