Adding a new puppy to your family is an exciting time! And if you’re lucky enough to already own a dog, you may be wondering how they will get along? So we’ve put together some thoughtful tips on how to best introduce your new dog to your adult dog.
Remove Your Adult Dog’s Personal Belongings: During the first meeting between your new pup and your adult dog, try to remove items your adult dog may feel protective of, this could include toys, blankets, food, etc. To your current dog, you are bringing in a complete stranger and he doesn’t really know why. So it is a good idea to take away items your dog feels a connection to, to prevent any incidents such as, the puppy trying to play with one of the adult dog’s toys, or getting a bit too close to the food dish. This will help keep their first meeting running smoothly when the adult dog doesn’t feel he needs to guard his things. Some dogs may feel they also need to protect their house, so instead of bringing the puppy into the house to meet, you can set up their first meeting in a ‘neutral’ area such as the park.
Supervise: It is critical to watch all interactions between your new puppy and your adult dog, not only for their first meeting but for several weeks after that. Puppies are still learning about the world around them, including their doggy manners. There is no doubt that the new puppy will step out of bounds once in a while with the adult dog; you want to be there when it happens so that you can not only observe how your adult dog reacts (his tolerance level), but also correct your puppy and say ‘no’ to communicate that whatever he was doing was not appropriate. It may take weeks or months for you to feel fully comfortable with them left alone together, but it will definitely pay off in the long run when you can watch your dogs play and cuddle together.
Be Realistic: Understand that some dogs may get along right way, while others may take much longer to bond. Be prepared for the relationship between your adult dog and the new puppy to grow gradually over time; and if they do happen to love each other at first sight, even better! It is also important to be honest with your current dog’s behaviour. Have you seen him interact with puppies before? Has he ever shown aggression to another dog, and under what circumstance? If you are at all concerned that you aren’t prepared for their first meeting, find a reputable dog trainer or behaviourist for their first interactions. Not only do you get the wisdom and knowledge from an expert, you also gain that extra confidence that your pets will have the best first meeting possible to set them on course for a great relationship.
The most important tip of all, relax! Have a positive attitude and it will rub off on your dogs! Enjoy their first interactions with each other and look forward to years of happiness with your pets!