Are you thinking about getting a new puppy but you’re wondering how your older dog might react? The good news is that they will probably get along fine. Here are a few tips to help make sure the introduction and transition is a smooth one.
- Temperament: You know your older dog’s temperament better than anyone else, so do an honest assessment before you make your decision. If you have taken your older dog to dog parks or for walks where other dogs are frequently around, you should have a pretty good feel for how well your older dog might react.
- Meet Up: Schedule a meet up somewhere neutral and preferably off leash. That will give them a chance to get to know each other without the potential stress of your older dog feeling the need to protect its home turf. If all goes well, you can have your next meet up at your home. If that goes well, it’s a very good sign they will get along.
- Vaccines: Make sure both dogs are up to date on vaccines. That way neither dog will be posing a health risk to the other.
- Attention and Routines: Be sensitive to your older dog’s need for your continued attention. It’s easy to go crazy over a puppy, but remember your older dog has been with you for a long time and is used to your affection. Dogs can become anxious when they experience a sudden reduction in attention. Also be sensitive to your older dog’s routine and make sure there is little if any change. Changes in routine can also be cause for anxiety. The good news is that your new puppy doesn’t have a routine yet so it will adapt to whatever the routine is quite quickly.
- Supervise: Make sure you supervise your dogs closely during the first few days. Puppies like to rough and tumble, and your older dog may not appreciate your puppy’s energy. Just be sure to keep an eye out for grumpiness or aggression on the part of your older dog. Be sensitive to the possibility that your new puppy might just get on your older dog’s nerves at first and you may need to occasionally send them to neutral corners.
- Food and Toys: Given that older dogs and puppies have very different nutritional needs, it’s important to keep their feeding areas separate. And at first, you should also keep their water bowls separate. If you see that they share their water without any issues, you can transition easily to a shared water bowl. The same is true with toys. Be respectful of your older dog’s toys and get your new puppy toys of its own. If, over time, your older dog and your new puppy begin sharing toys without incident, then it’s a good sign your pets are going to get along just fine.
These are just a few tips to help make sure you give your older dog and your new puppy the best chance to bond with each other. We’ve added the links to three articles that go into much more detail. If you are thinking about getting a new puppy and have an older dog already in the house, we suggest you give these articles a read.