Acquainting Your Old Dogs with Your Puppy

dogs and puppyIntroducing your new puppy to your older dogs can be a bit complicated, especially if your puppy is less than four months of age.  Puppies this young haven’t learned the art of dog communication.  They will usually pester an older dog unmercifully and not notice that the older dog is saying, “leave me alone!”  Here are a few tips to help keep everyone safe.

The First Introduction

Choose a place that is neutral to both parties.  If you have more than one dog, consider introducing them separately.  Choose a park or neighbor’s house, as dogs can be territorial.  Keeping the dogs on a leash, you will want to let them sniff each other and get acquainted.  Any sign of aggression such as hair on the back standing up or posturing, is a good time to separate the dogs and distract them for a few minutes.   Don’t raise your voice or punish a dog if he gets aggressive.  It is better to treat positive behavior and distract the dog when he displays negative behavior.  You want them to associate only good things with the interaction.

Bringing the New Puppy Home

Once they seem to be accepting each other in a neutral area, it is time to try bringing them home.  You may find starting outdoors to be a good idea.  Once they have settled down and seem to be getting along or ignoring each other you can proceed inside.  Watching them play together is a good sign.

For the first few days or weeks, you need to monitor all the interactions the dogs have together.  Keeping the new dog in a crate or different room works well and gives your older dogs some time to themselves, if the new puppy won’t leave them alone.  Don’t expect your older dog to immediately love the new dog.  It sometimes takes 3 to 5 weeks for a new puppy to learn the rules and his place in the house.  You older dog will growl and sometimes show his teeth.  This can sound worse than it is because this is your older dogs way of training the new pup.

Don’t force your older dogs to share favorite toys or their food dish.  In fact, at first, feed the new puppy in a different area.  You aim is to introduce the new puppy without creating unneeded arguments.  They will work out who is dominant and their territories on their own as time will tell.

Escape Routes and Time Out

Your dogs and puppy will want to have a way to escape if they feel threatened. If you notice one of your dogs rolling on his or her back or maybe they freeze and won’t move, you can bet they are scared.  This is a good indication it is time to separate them for a while.  Having a crate or kennel the older dogs and puppies can retreat to is a good idea.  If you can teach your older dog to walk away when he is annoyed you can avoid some fighting. Remember though, this is normal behavior as your older dogs teach the younger one how to behave.

It may take time for them to become best friends.  It is possible for them to get a long and live together even if they never become close.  If you have any questions about your puppy and bringing him home be sure and bring this up at your puppy exam or you can call us anytime.  We look forward to meeting the newest member of your family.

Locust Trace Veterinary Clinic