Adopting an additional member of the family is always exciting, especially when it’s a cute, curious, and energetic ball of fur! However, if you have a resident dog in your home, you may be apprehensive about bringing home a new puppy — and rightfully so.
It’s a sort of coin toss as to how your dog will react to the new pup. If things go well, the older dog will be chill about the whole thing and won’t have any problems welcoming the newcomer. However, some pet parents find that their dog isn’t too keen on making new friends and may attack the little guy. Either way, you’d want your dogs to get along and form a lifelong bond.
Fortunately, there are tried and true methods you can use to help make the introduction safe and civil. If you want your pups to get along, read on to learn some helpful tips!
Preparing Your Dogs for the Meeting
If you don’t want any of your dogs to have any problems with the introduction, it’s best to make ample preparations before letting them meet. Here are some ways to enhance their safety:
Visit the Vet
Before letting your dogs meet for the first time, it’s best to ensure they don’t have any diseases or parasites that they can pass on to each other. Even though they’re not showing any signs of being unwell, they may still have intestinal worms, fleas, ticks, or viruses lying in wait.
Ensure that your new pup and older dog’s vaccines and deworming treatments are up to date to mitigate the transfer of illness. Even though this entails some costs, it’s better to be safe than sorry. After all, your pets’ health and safety should be your top priority!
Prepare Your Home for the New Pup’s Arrival
It’s also crucial to make your home as comfortable as possible for your new puppy. To do so, keep all your resident dog’s items (such as the bed, toys, and bowls) in one area. Then, designate a separate space for the newcomer. That’ll help reduce instances of territorial and aggressive behaviors. It’s an important step to take even if your dog hasn’t displayed any possessive actions in the past.
It’s also crucial to clean up and reduce the clutter in your house. Not only will the space look and smell better, but it’ll also make the area seem less enclosed. When your dogs don’t feel cramped and forced to interact, they’re less likely to act territorial.
You may also want to get a tall baby gate or some crates that can prevent access between the two dogs. Don’t worry, as this living setup will likely be temporary, and you can let them roam the house and bond with each other once they can coexist in peace.
How to Introduce Your New Puppy to the Family Dog
After preparing your home, it’s time to let your dogs get acquainted with each other. Here are some methods you can use:
Introduce Them to Each Other’s Smells
Before your dogs even see each other, you may want to desensitize them and get them used to each other’s scents first. Give your resident dog an item that belongs to your new pup, such as a toy, blanket, or bed. Let it sniff the item for a few days to familiarize the smell. Similarly, you may give your new puppy something from your older dog.
Once they get used to each other’s smells, there’s a good chance that they won’t be overstimulated when they meet.
Visit a Neutral Location
It’s no secret that dogs are rather territorial animals, so you may want to introduce your dogs to each other at a neutral location (i.e., not their territories). This may be at a dog park, a nearby outdoor space, or a corner outside your lot. Open spaces are ideal, as it will make the pups feel less cramped.
Make sure your dogs are on secure leashes and get a friend to help you out in controlling the two pups. Watch their reactions when they meet — if they’re overly excited, tense, or showing aggressive behaviors, you may not want to let them be near one another for a while.
Let Them Meet Each Other in the House
You’ve already prepared your home for your new pup’s arrival, so you may now give the two pets a controlled introduction within your space. Have your baby gate, playpen, or crates ready, and let them see each other without letting them physically interact. This way, they can get used to each other’s presence.
Once the initial curiosity dies down, and both of your buddies are used to each other’s sights, scents, and sounds, you may take the barrier down — but keep them leashed so that you can easily control them when things don’t go too well.
If your pups become too aggressive or one of them bullies the other, be prepared to pull them away. Then, keep the barrier up for a bit more time until you start the introductions again.
Don’t Let Them Share Items Just Yet
For the first week or even longer, you shouldn’t let your dogs share personal items, such as bowls, toys, and beds. This will help prevent territorial and possessive behaviors that may lead to aggression. It’ll also be a healthy way to set boundaries for your new puppy.
Continue Training Your Older Dog
Many pet parents want to give extra love to the older pup to help them feel less left out, but this isn’t necessary. It’s better to continue with its normal training routines instead, as keeping it engaged will help it stay calm and controlled. Then, let your pup watch from a distance.
Don’t Let Them Loose Around Each Other All the Time
Even if you know that your dogs are growing more comfortable around each other, it’s best not to leave them alone together all the time for the first few weeks. Let them engage with each other in short periods throughout the day, then place them in their respective places after their set playtimes.
The idea here is to prevent overstimulation and maximize supervision, especially when your new puppy is still small. Also, it can prevent a “pack mentality,” which may make them less likely to listen to you.
It’s always a fun moment when you welcome a new puppy into your home, but you have to ensure everyone is okay with it — including your resident dogs. Safe introductions are always necessary, so keep this guide in mind!
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