So, you’d absolutely love to take in another doggo – but you’re worried about upsetting your current pup. It’s a common dilemma that many dog lovers find themselves in. None of us wants to cause our dog any undue stress, but you may have heard horror stories where an older dog with a new puppy has caused a lot of turmoil in the home.
However, if we’re not careful, this is a real possibility. Thankfully, by following a few steps and guidelines, we can minimise that chance and end up with a home where every human and pupper is happy! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
Considering Your Older Dog’s Temperament and Age
First, we must take a hard look at our current dog and ask: “Would they really be comfortable with a new puppy running around?”.
Consider their age first. If they’re getting on in years and less energetic than they once were, they may not be able to keep up with an energetic puppy. It’s possible that they may also have health conditions during this life stage that may be exacerbated by stress.
Next, evaluate their overall temperament. Have they ever shown a territorial side? How are they with new dogs they meet on walks, or at the park? Are they particularly fearful or aggressive towards dogs they do not know?
Once you’ve thought this over, you should have a good idea of whether you would be able to safely introduce your older dog with a new puppy. If you feel like adding a new pup into the mix would bring a risk of extreme stress, poor health, or even possible aggressive behaviour, I’d honestly recommend against getting a new puppy at this time.
If you’re unsure, you could always do a test run by temporarily taking another dog into the home for a few days (either from family or friends), and seeing how your pup reacts. Ensure you follow the below guidelines if you choose to do this.
Introducing the Puppy to Your Older Dog
As they say, first impressions are everything – this goes for dogs too. If you introduce your older dog with a new puppy and they have a negative experience, this can have a significant effect on all future interactions, making the process all the more difficult. To avoid this, we need to make sure the first meeting goes as smoothly as possible.
I’d recommend introducing the two pups together in a neutral environment, outside of the home. This could be in the garden, or outside on a walk together. Keep both pups leashed and at a distance, letting them get used to the other’s scent.
Keep a close eye on the body language of both dogs. If one shows signs of timid or aggressive behaviour (barking, growling, fur standing on end, etc), calmly redirect their attention elsewhere. If they seem comfortable, you can attempt to reduce the distance between them.
Once they’re more used to each other, you can bring them into the home. Keep them leashed for the time being, and slowly introduce the puppy into various rooms of the house. Make sure you pay extra attention to body language here – your older dog may become more stressed with the new pup in its home environment.
Older Dog with a New Puppy – Going Forward
As days go by, I’d advise keeping the dogs separated when you’re not there to supervise them. It’s also a good idea to feed them separately. After all, you don’t want either dog to get defensive or to steal the others food!
Remember, puppies are very energetic! It may be worth separating them for a time if your puppy is constantly pestering your older doggo to play. Over time, the dogs will learn each other’s boundaries and you can slowly relax the amount of separation.
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