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Introducing A New Puppy To Your Dog

If you already have a dog but are thinking of bringing a new addition into your home, don’t fret! This exciting time can be made easier on all of the family with some of our top tips for introducing your new pet to your existing companion.

Before introducing your newest family member, you should take steps to prepare for the transition to a multi-pet household. Some simple key points will ensure both dogs feel comfortable and safe. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Before introducing the dogs, choose a neutral place for them to have their first interaction. Bringing a new dog into an established dog’s home can create hostile feelings and can create a negative environment. A new dog barging into your dog’s safe place can seem scary to even the most relaxed of animals. You could bring the older dog along with you when picking up the puppy, or introduce them before reaching the house. Try some lead walking together to allow them to get to know each other before walking in together. When you’re choosing a place for your new puppy to sleep, think about safe spaces for both of your dogs. Allow them places they can both retreat, somewhere they can go for some time out from each other.
  • Plan on establishing a healthy routine from the get go and give both dogs the space they need to adjust. A crate, pen or baby gate will ensure that they can enjoy some quiet time alone when needed. This is ideal if you’re getting a puppy and will be introducing them to an older dog that is used to their own routine. Find a place where both dogs can eat in peace, forcing them to eat together can put unnecessary pressure on them and can fuel resource guarding behaviour. Similarly with treats and tasty chews, allow them to enjoy these rewards in a quiet and calm environment as they are prized items that they won’t want to share.
  • Puppies learn their boundaries and communication skills as they grow, which means they’ll have a lot to learn from both you and your canine companion. They will push their luck and will try to play when and where they want with your adult dog, so it’s vital to respect your senior dog’s feelings and carefully supervise interactions. Do not reprimand your older dog for growling at the puppy. This is their way of letting them know they are unhappy and it is vital they communicate properly, once there is no inappropriate contact between them they will learn how to interact with each other over time. When either dog interact nicely, reward them for calm behaviour.
  • Provide your older dog with the same amount of attention that they would have received before. Ensuring both dogs get enough mental and physical stimulation will create happier (and more tired!) dogs who are less likely to fight. You can bring both dogs for a walk together if you feel comfortable enough, or practise some playing together in your garden. Be aware of your older dog’s toys lying around, this may be fine with one dog but with two it can cause squabbles, place each dog’s toys in different areas if you notice any jealousy happening.
  • Watch for warning signs of stress or nervousness, some older dogs can be scared of new puppies due to their boisterousness or even a larger size dog. Keep your home environment as calm as possible during those crucial first few weeks with minimal visitors and stress to give both dogs the time they need to adjust. If you notice your older dog is getting stressed, separate or redirect the puppy.

We hope these tips help you welcome a wonderful new four-legged friend into your family! Don’t forget, eventually as your puppy grows, they will have developed the communication skills they need and both dogs could become the best of friends.

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