Are you getting ready to bring home a new furry family member? How exciting! Although, we can understand if you have some reservations about how your current dog will react. Knowing how to introduce a new puppy to your dog takes some consideration. But don’t worry; we cover everything in this article, from prepping the house to senior dog jealousy. And since we’ve added fur babies into our home a couple of times, we have vast personal experience on the topic.
Let’s get started!
Thinking of Adding a New Puppy To The Family?
Adding a fur baby to the family brings out a lot of emotions and concerns, including excitement and nerves. You’re likely wondering how to introduce a new puppy to your dog, who has already established a routine and essentially marked its territory. Whether your current dog has been with you for several years or a short time, it’s probably going to need an adjustment period with an addition to the pack.
There are numerous reasons for getting a second dog, and it’s a personal choice. But keep in that second dog syndrome could creep in. Second dog syndrome is when you consciously or unconsciously think that having another dog in the house will be easier and it’ll learn from your existing dog. However, the reality is that all new puppies require training, time, energy, and attention. They’ll need to be trained and socialized individually. So, it’s important to know that before adding a new puppy to the family.
You may be wondering if it’s a good idea to have a second dog at this point. The answer is, again, a personal choice. But if you have the time and energy to give to a new puppy, adding a furry family member can be extremely rewarding. It can provide additional companionship for the humans and animals in the house.
Determining whether your current dog wants another canine in the house is a different story. While they can’t voice their opinion, you can observe what your pet is like around other dogs and people to get a sense of what might be best for it.
How Will My Dog React to a New Puppy?
A good way to figure out how your dog will react to introducing a new puppy into the family is through some preliminary socialization. For example, we recommend dogsitting for a friend or family member for a few days. Observe how your dog interacts with another pet in the house.
It’s natural to wonder if your older dog will feel sad, hurt, or betrayed by getting a puppy. It may experience some jealousy at first. However, a good way to help ease any stress is by continuing to spend time and do the things you would typically do with your current dog.
For example, if you always take your dog for a morning walk to the park, continue to do so. Keep it in a routine that’s familiar. And don’t add the new puppy into the mix for a while. Let your dog get used to the changes in the house while allowing him alone time with you on walks or playtime in the backyard.
How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Get Used to a New Puppy?
It can take up to a month or potentially longer for an older dog and puppy to feel comfortable around each other. Your older dog may need time to accept the pup into the pack. And you’ll likely need time to adjust, so consider it a family affair.
On the other hand, some older dogs are still puppies at heart and will leap for joy at the new constant companion. In these instances, it may be you that needs to get used to the new level of energy and adorable chaos in the home.
How Do You Introduce a New Puppy to Your Dog?
How to introduce a new puppy to your dog requires patience and prep. We put together a guide with eight main themes around making the transition as smooth as possible. The methods come from professionals and our experience of bringing a new pup home.
If Possible, Let Them Meet Before Bringing The New Pup Home
It’s important to introduce your dog to the new puppy in neutral territory, if possible, before the pup enters your house. It provides them with an opportunity to sniff each other out and gives you a glimpse into how they react toward each other.
Most shelters encourage you to have the dogs meet before adopting or fostering a new pet. It’s not as common when getting a puppy from a breeder, so you’ll likely need to suggest it.
Prepare Your House Before Bringing the Puppy Home
Preparing your house before bringing the puppy home is vital. In fact, we wrote a complete guide about the topic. In it, we discuss the importance of puppy proofing.
Go room by room to assess and determine what needs to be removed. For example, your current dog may not go into a room with toxic decorative plants, but you’re going to allow the new puppy into the space. Relocate or get rid of anything that could harm the pup.
Creating a safe space for the puppy is the first step in helping it get into a routine. It also helps your older dog to realize there’s a shared territory and eases it into including the new pack member.
Also, stock up on gear for the new pup. Get a bed, toys, food, and water dishes that are its own rather than sharing with your older dog. Soon, the hope is for them to share some space and even toys. But providing each with their gear at first will help them settle in.
Pro Tip: When getting new bowls for your puppy, should you go with stainless or ceramic? Learn the differences before you commit.
Have Them Meet at First on Neutral Territory
Having the dogs meet in neutral territory first can help ease some tension. Give them space to circle each other and sniff around. Your older dog may growl or bark but don’t reprimand it. Allow them to work out some initial annoyances and power struggles.
Keep the first meeting short. Just long enough to observe some of their behavior and for them to pick up one another’s scent. It can help ease some anxiety and minimize feelings of threat at their next meeting, which will likely be in your home. The more you can do to help your older dog accept another animal coming into its territory, the better off you’ll all be.
Give the New Pup a Tour of the House
When you take the new puppy home, give it a tour of the house. Show it where the food and water dishes are and its bed, crate, and toys. Take it through every room it’s allowed in.
Also, give your new pet a tour of its outdoor space and go outside through the door it should get used to using. Walk the pup around your outdoor space on a leash. This is an excellent opportunity to start potty training if needed and commands you’ll use for going outside.
Establish a Routine Early On
Routine is crucial for any dog. Establishing your new pup’s routine early on will set you both up for success in the future. From the first day you bring it home, have a plan for your pet’s feeding schedule, walks, playtime, and bedtime.
We also recommend planning a routine that coincides with your older dog’s schedule. For example, the older pet may need breaks from the puppy in the first month, so you may want to rotate their outside time. But plan ahead for their routines to merge as time goes on. You may not take them on walks together during the first few weeks but anticipate training them to get to that point.
Crate the Puppy When You Can’t Supervise
Crating your puppy when unsupervised is a good way to keep it out of trouble. Introducing a puppy to a crate early on can pay dividends in your older dog accepting it. However, it’s recommended not to crate a dog for more than six to eight hours. And puppies under six months old shouldn’t be crated for more than three to four hours because they can’t control their bladder or bowels for that long.
Some dogs really like crates because they can make them feel safe and secure. If a dog had a bad experience with a crate, it may be fearful. So, before you leave a puppy unsupervised in a crate, put it inside for an hour or two while you’re nearby for practice.
All other times, leave the crate door open with a bed inside so the dog can go in and out as it desires. The crate shouldn’t be a place your dog is sent when disciplined. It’s important to keep the crate as a positive space.
Give Your Older Dog Regular Breaks From the Puppy
Your older dog will likely get annoyed with its new brother or sister puppy after they are introduced. The honeymoon phase may wear off when they realize the puppy is still around.
So, providing regular breaks several times a day will help it learn to accept the puppy. You can do so by taking your older pet out for a walk by itself or doing playtime in the yard alone. Another way to give breaks inside is to separate the dogs into different rooms for 30 to 60 minutes a few times a day.
Breaks are also helpful if the puppy has a lot of energy and wants your older dog to play constantly. The energy may cause some anxiety in senior dogs particularly.
Do Activities With Both Dogs
Once the dogs start to warm up to each other, slowly get them to do activities together. You may consider a short game of fetch in the backyard. Simply stay on alert and when one of the dogs starts to show the littlest bit of anxiety, end the game.
Walking the dogs together is another activity to get them used to. Start with a slow walk around the block and see how things go. Stop to train when needed. Then, increase the distance each time you take them for a walk. The hope is that soon they’ll be happy to go for a stroll together.
What To Do If Your Old Dog Rejects New Puppy?
Remember that your older dog has been your companion for a longer time. The new puppy coming into its life could be seen as a threat to the relationship with you. While we don’t know precisely what emotions a dog has, there’s a good chance it could get jealous of a new family member. But you can help your dog overcome those feelings. Properly introducing them at the beginning and providing breaks will help.
There’s a difference between hatred and tolerance. While there’s a chance your dog may never be best buds with the new pup, you can help it tolerate it. Things like exercising them and training them together are good for strengthening their bond. Getting their routines in sync after the initial coming home period will help them get along.
However, if your older dog does reject the new puppy after you introduce them and have tried everything we’ve listed above, we recommend going back to the shelter or breeder that you got your puppy from in the first place. They may have a return policy or other people in line waiting for a pup to quickly rehome him.
What Is the 3-3-3 Rule for Rescue Puppies?
The 3-3-3 rule for rescue puppies is good to know to help acclimate your new pup and bond it with your older dog. The numbers stand for the first 3 days, after 3 weeks, and after 3 months.
The first 3 days a rescue puppy is in a new home, it tends to feel overwhelmed and nervous. It usually takes 3 weeks to settle in. And it may take up to 3 months to build trust and bond with you.
Keep the 3 3 3 rule in mind so that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself, your new pup, or your older dog. Puppies take time to adjust. And rescue pups often have a history requiring more patience and understanding, even in their young lives.
If possible, try to make it to that 3-month mark before making any rash decisions on quitting and rehoming your new dog. It is incredibly hard to judge the long-term viability of a new pup before they’ve reached the stage where they trust you and have bonded with you.
Pro Tip: If you’re considering rescuing a pup, check out our guide to finding your new best friend.
Keeping a Routine Will Help Your Dogs Bond
Routine, routine, routine. We can’t say it enough. Keeping a routine with your old and new dogs will help them bond. And it’s likely to keep you calm and able to enjoy the process. The unconditional love of two dogs is unmatched!
Have you brought a new dog into your family with existing pets? We’d love to hear about your experience. Share your story in the comments below.
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