If you have an older dog, you’ve likely contemplated introducing a new dog to your family.
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 to successfully introduce a second dog into your family, 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 newcomer 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.
Introducing a new dog to the pack
The good news is most dogs instinctively get along, so it’s relatively easy introducing new dog to existing dog. You may have to do little to get an older dog to accept the puppy.
How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new dog? There’s no hard and fast timeline. It all depends on the dogs.
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.
But if the puppy tries to dominate the older dog, if the new dog is aggressive towards the resident dog, or if you see the new dog not getting along with the older dog, you’ll need to focus more on obedience training with the puppy.
Help the dogs bond
Wondering how to get my older dog to accept the new puppy?
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.
Introducing a new dog to a jealous dog
Take care not to favor the second dog. That can easily make the older dog jealous. Watch for signs the older dog is depressed when the puppy is around.
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.
Do not let the older dog attack the new puppy and think twice before you try to introduce a new dog to an aggressive dog.
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, bringing a new dog home to another dog works well if you can let the old dog and a second dog adjust on their own time.
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.
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