Adopting a new puppy is such a special occasion. Every member of your family is excited for the big day when you can bring your new furry friend home, right? Maybe not! Have you thought about how to introduce your puppy to an existing dog in your home?
What if your existing dog isn't ready for a new canine companion? Maybe he likes it just the way it is. You need to be sure that your existing dog will want the company of another dog, especially a puppy.
Oftentimes this is nothing to worry about. Most dogs enjoy spending time with other canines and learning how to introduce your puppy to an existing dog won't be a problem. However, not every dog wants a new friend.
If your existing dog is a senior, he may not be able to handle having a puppy around full time. Perhaps it is better that you adopt another adult dog or wait until your current dog is gone before thinking about bringing another home.
Think about all the activity and chaos that comes with having a puppy in your home. Is that really something that your existing dog is going to want to deal with? When learning how to introduce your puppy to an existing dog, the first step is deciding whether or not this decision is the best choice for every member of your family (even the four-legged members).
As I explain in my video guide, this is what we did before bringing home our first puppy. A scent article is any cloth item of your choosing, as long as it smells like one of the pets for whom you're arranging the meeting.
A scent article allows both dogs to be able to get used to each other's scent before they actually meet in person.
We used a small blanket, and let our existing dog sleep with it for about a week. Her scent was all over the blanket, and then we gave it to the breeder of our new puppy. She allowed the puppy time lay with the scent article. They kept it for about a week and we brought it back home to give to our existing dog.
How To Introduce Your Puppy To An Existing Dog: A Step-By-Step Video Guide
1. Let them communicate
If you've decided that it's the right time to bring a puppy into your family, CONGRATULATIONS! Your new addition will certainly add a dose of fun and excitement (and craziness) to your home.
There are a few things that you should know going forward, though. First of all, you're going to need to expect some ‘communication' from both of your dogs. Puppies tend to be very vocal with a lot of yips and yelps, but they don't know how to speak the same ‘language' as your adult dog.
Don't worry, your existing dog will give the puppy a few pointers. Expect growling and even some minor snapping. It's okay. This is how the adult is teaching the pup to speak like a big dog.
He's teaching him when enough is enough and how to read the silent cues that dogs give each other. Unfortunately, puppies don't always take those silent cues without a little persuading.
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You'll also need to make a ‘safe space' for each dog. This should be a dog bed, crate or other area where that dog can go to get away and have some alone time. Everyone needs time to themselves once in a while, even our canine family members.
When learning how to introduce your puppy to an existing dog, you need to be prepared to supervise the canine companions at all times. For at least the first few days, your pets will need constant supervision, just in case.
If you need to leave your dogs alone before you are 100% sure that there will not be any issues, your puppy should be secured in a crate.This will prevent any accidental problems while you're away.
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Above all, when learning how to introduce your puppy to an existing dog, remember to avoid punishment. If you're always supervising your pets, you'll quickly notice the signs that your adult dog is getting frustrated with the puppy and you'll be able to intervene before there is a problem.
Do not punish your adult dog if he barks or growls at the puppy. Don't get angry when he gets frustrated with the pups antics. Instead, reward the positive behavior. Praise him when he's being tolerant of the puppy and reward him for playing gently with his new friend.
It's beneficial to have a friend or family member assist you with the initial meeting. You'll need a helper to bring your existing dog outside and entertain him while you bring the puppy inside.
Give the puppy plenty of time to wander around the house and investigate his new environment. It may take 30-45 minutes, which is why it's best to have another person outside entertaining your existing dog.
When the puppy has had ample time to sniff and investigate his new home, switch the dogs. Bring the puppy outside (make sure the adult dog doesn't see you) and bring your existing dog back inside.
Allow the adult dog time to sniff around where the puppy was. This will get your adult dog used to smelling the puppy in his home. When the puppy comes in, it won't be as big of a surprise if the adult dog has already had the chance to smell his scent in the house.
BOTH DOGS NEED TO BE ON A LEASH.
Even if you trust your existing dog completely, keeping both pets on a leash during the first meeting is the safest option. Your adult dog won't be able to hurt the puppy, and you'll be able to control the puppy so he can't overwhelm the existing dog too quickly.
Once you feel that your existing dog is completely comfortable with the puppy, you can let the puppy off leash first and allow him to explore while the older dog watches. After a few minutes, unleash the adult dog.
Allow the dogs to wander around outside with each other for a while before you let them in the house together. Dogs feel more comfortable in an open environment. If their trying to get used to each other inside, your existing dog may feel contained and become frightened or aggressive.