Need to know how to introduce a new puppy to a senior dog at home? Introducing a new pet is not always as easy and straightforward as it sounds. If you are having trouble bringing a new dog into your home, check out the tips below. The introduction of your new puppy to your older dog will be less stressful and more successful for everyone involved.
- Begin with a visit to the vet for the senior dog. Before introducing a new puppy to your home and to your older dog, you will want to be sure that your older dog is healthy enough for the adventure. Puppies are boundless balls of energy to which everyone and everything is a toy to explore, chew and ultimately terrorize. If your older dog is in poor health or has some existing medical conditions, you will want to discuss the impact a new puppy will have on the older dog’s health and well being with your veterinarian. While many seek to re-energize an older dog with a new puppy companion, there are times when a new puppy may just be too much for a senior dog.
- Have the new puppy fully vet checked before bringing him home. You certainly do not want to risk introducing a virus or parasite to the older dog! Be sure that the new puppy is up-to-date on vaccines, is healthy and has been spayed or neutered to avoid the risk of aggressive behavior—especially if the older dog has not been altered.
- Start patiently on neutral ground. To begin the introduction process, you may wish to allow the animals to meet at a friend’s house or a local park. Your dog may be less territorial if he does not feel that his home is being invaded. Allow the two dogs to meet on their own terms—do not force the issue. The odds are that a curious puppy will seek out the older dog fairly quickly and you will need to gauge the older dog’s response. Puppies are too young to understand that they have met an angry dog, so be sure to watch for signs of aggression in your older dog during these first meetings. Once you’ve had a sniff and greet on neutral ground, you can move on to a home visit.
- Introduce the new puppy to the senior dog in a common area of the house. For some, a neutral meet and greet session may not be possible. For many dogs, the first meeting must be accomplished in the home. Try to do these introductions in a common area, away from the existing dog’s favorite napping spots, bedding, food bowl or favorite places. The puppy will be curious no matter where the two meet, but the older dog will be less territorial if he does not feel as though he’s losing his valued possessions!
- Practice some separation tactics. The dogs will know of the other’s presence thanks to the powers of the senses, but there can certainly be some initial benefit to the “out of sight, out of mind” principle. Allowing each dog some privacy and one-on-one time with the pet parents is vital to maintaining your relationship with your existing dog and developing a new one with your new furry friend. You will also want to be sure to separate the two animals when they cannot be supervised. Some older dogs may be less friendly when not under your watchful eye, and you do not want to risk injury to the new puppy.
- Reward rather than punish when possible. Some dogs adapt quickly and easily to a new family addition while others do not. If your older dog is having issues with the changes to his home, try not to scold and punish. Remember, it was his home first. Try instead to spend some alone time with the older dog, and praise him for proper behavior with the new puppy rather than scolding him for negative behavior! You do not want him to associate punishment with the new puppy!
Remember to enjoy both animals and do your best to equally divide your attention. Just like children, dogs need to know that they have your unconditional love.