A second 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 will accept a younger dog or puppy. But you need to take the time and follow the proper steps to introduce a puppy.
Some older dogs will make joining their pack difficult for the newbie! As far as the older dog is concerned, the new comer must earn their place.
Your task will be to balance the needs of both dogs. While you work to help the second dog adjust, you don’t want to make the older dog feel depressed or jealous that he’s being replaced.
New dog drama
The good news is most dogs instinctively get along. You may have to do little to get an older dog to accept the puppy.
Let your older dog take the lead. If your older dog growls at the puppy or ignores him, he is displaying his leader status. He wants the newcomer to understand he was there first. Typically, the puppy instinctively 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 gets more severe than that.
Stay out of it, unless you see it is getting out of hand or you fear one dog will injure the other. By interfering, you are disrupting the natural order of pack psychology and survival.
Smart puppies will back down, out of respect. Usually, the puppy will accept the terms of the relationship, and there will be less drama and more peace.
Help the dogs bond
A terrific way to help your dogs bond is to walk them together. If they are similar in size, you can use a leash coupler when you walk.
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, both see you as the boss.
Let your older dog see good things happen when the puppy is around.
Give both dogs lots of treats and tons of praise for staying calm.
Take care not to favor the second 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.
Also, watch for any signs the old dog is afraid of the puppy. This may happen if the puppy is larger or the older dog has become less mobile due to age or illness.
Make the process fun
Find a few joint fun exercises and games both dogs will enjoy doing together. As they playfully interact with each other, gracefully bow out. Let them focus on and enjoy playing with each other, not you.
Enroll in positive reinforcement, punishment-free obedience classes. Just because your older dog is not a puppy, doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy puppy kindergarten. And if your older dog starts exhibiting bad behavior after getting a second dog, you need to fix that problem immediately.
If your younger dog is too rambunctious for your older dog, consider using interactive toys to tire him out.
Usually, your older dog will be a great role model for your second 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.
Be patient. By letting nature take its course, usually, the situation between an old dog and a second dog works itself out.
By letting the dogs establish their relationship, the puppy’s inherent pack instincts are reinforced. The puppy will learn trust and respect and understand his place in the pack has to be earned.
And, you may find a new companion energizes an older dog and makes him more playful again. Usually adding a second dog is a winning situation for everyone.
By Karen A. Soukiasian
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