So you’re planning on adopting a puppy or younger dog, but how will your current dog react?
Maybe she generally loves other dogs but you’re worried she’ll be jealous or that a puppy will be too playful for her.
How can you help the introduction go as smoothly as possible? The following are some ideas that should help.
Tips for introducing a puppy to your adult dog
1. Choose your second dog carefully.
You want to find the right dog or puppy for you, but he should also be compatible to your current dog.
Also, make sure your current dog would actually like another dog, said Tonya Wilhelm, a dog trainer with Global Dog Training. She is also the author of the book Proactive Puppy Care, available on Amazon.
“I see too often that people take in a second dog when their first dog does not particularly enjoy other dogs,” she said. “This can be particularly true if someone has an aging dog and brings in a rowdy, mouthy puppy.”
She also said to make sure the second dog is dog friendly too!
2. Introduce your current dog to the new dog before you make a commitment.
If you’re able to plan ahead and introduce your existing dog to the potential newcomer, it will help you and your family members confirm you’re making the right choice.
I recommend meeting the potential new dog without your other dog first and then planning a second meeting where you bring your dog.
I realize this is not always possible, especially if you’re trying to rescue a dog from a high-kill shelter and time is limited. Do what you can.
3. Introduce the dogs on neutral ground.
My favorite way to introduce two dogs is to avoid head-on greetings and just start out with a walk where one person is walking each dog.
Wilhelm also recommended this type of initial introduction.
She suggested starting out across from each other on opposite sides of the street with each person walking about four houses down and back until the dogs are not focused on each other.
“Once things are calm, slowly start walking closer and closer, but parallel, allowing some sniffing,” she said. “As they acclimate to each other, walk inside the house.”
4. Keep highly valued toys and food picked up.
Once you’re ready to bring both dogs home, keep a leash on the new dog so you can re-gain control if he gets a little too rambunctious. Plus, you just never know if the dogs could fight.
You can help prevent resource guarding or possessiveness by picking up toys, chews and even the food bowl before you bring your new dog home.
“In general, dogs do not like to share,” Wilhelm said. “Keep that in mind during feeding, playing and attention time.”
She said it’s best to teach both dogs not to be pushy and to wait their turns.
She also recommended feeding them in separate rooms for at least the first three weeks until you feel comfortable everyone is getting along.
5. Expect your current dog to set some boundaries.
It’s normal if your first dog growls at the second dog, especially if he is too playful and getting annoying. In most cases, it can help if you re-direct the younger dog’s attention before he has a chance to annoy your older dog.
6. Separate them when you’re not home.
Obviously you’ll want to separate the dogs when you’re not home, at least for the first few months. Not only will this prevent fights, but it will keep your new pup from chewing, having accidents or hurting himself.
How about the rest of you? What tips do you have for introducing new dogs?
Also see our post on how to introduce your dog to a cat.