If you have an older dog, you’ve likely contemplated adding a new dog to your family.
A new dog can make your older dog’s golden years brighter and often can provide a spark to give him new energy. Having two dogs can make your life easier as they amuse and entertain each other.
Usually older dogs eventually will accept a new, younger dog.
Some, however, will not make joining their pack easy for the newbie!
As far as the older dog is concerned, the new puppy or dog must learn and earn their place in the pack.
New dog drama
In this scenario, many older dogs behave just as they would in the wild.
By ignoring, and/or growling at the new dog or puppy, they are displaying their leader status. After all, it’s their house because they were there first.
In an instinctive, and natural way, the puppy or new dog learns to respect the older dog’s authority.
But to get to that point, there may be some drama with growling and snapping.
The good news is it rarely does it get more serious than that.
Stay out of it, unless you see it is getting out of hand. By interfering, you are disrupting the natural order of pack psychology and survival.
Smart puppies will back down, out of respect. Often, what you will see is, as the older dog senses the puppy or new dog accepts the terms of their relationship, there will be more peaceful, and less dramatic interactions.
Help the new dog bond
A terrific way to help your dogs bond is to walk them together.
By demonstrating your leadership skills, you are instilling in both dogs, the importance of listening to and following you.
Now both dogs have something in common — they see you are the boss.
Let your older dog see good things happen when the puppy or new dog is around.
Give both dogs lots of treats and tons of praise for staying calm.
Take care not to show favoritism to the new dog. That can easily make the older dog jealous.
Spend quality time alone with your older dog. Make sure he doesn’t feel like he’s being replaced. Secure dogs are happy dogs.
Make the process fun
Find a few common fun exercises and games both dogs will enjoy doing together. As they playfully interact more with each other, gracefully bow out. Let them focus on and enjoy playing with each other, not you.
Enroll in a positive reinforcement, punishment-free obedience class. Just because your older dog is not a puppy, doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy puppy kindergarten.
Your older dog will be a great role model for your puppy or new dog.
Puppies love learning by “monkey see, monkey do.” And the socialization with other dogs and puppies at your class will be beneficial for both of them.
Bottom line: Be patient. By letting nature take its course, normally the situation between an old dog and a new dog works itself out. Oddly, the best part about doing it this way is; the puppy’s inherent pack instincts are reinforced. They will learn trust and respect and understand their rightful place in the pack has to be learned and earned.
By Karen A. Soukiasian
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