how to introduce a new puppy to an older dog

Introducing a New Puppy to an Older Dog

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Bringing home a new puppy can be a fun and exciting journey for you and your family.  But, when you introduce a new puppy to the current dog of the house it can cause stress, jealousy, and anxiety unless properly introduced.

My family and I made the big decision to adopt a new dachshund puppy this summer.  It has been 14 years since we have had a new puppy.  The biggest challenge we encountered was introducing our new puppy to our 14-year-old dog, Bastian.

When my husband and I were first married many years ago, we adopted three dogs all within the same year.  Yeah, we went a little fur baby crazy.  Bastian had two other doggie brothers (Reno and Artemus) that were around his age.  They all got along great.

Now that the new puppy is here, Bastian isn’t too keen on welcoming him to our family.  I did some research to help us with this New Puppy / Older Dog issue in our home.  I hope these tips can help you too.

how to introduce a new puppy to an older dog

How Do You Get an Older Dog to Accept a New Puppy?

As you introduce your new puppy to the older dog, it is important to do the following to help you have a happy and safe home for both dogs.

  • Introduction in a Neutral Location

  • Supervised Playtime

  • Seperate Food

  • Training Sessions

  • Socializing

  • Personal Time

1. Introduction:

It is out of respect for your older dog that he gets to meet the new puppy at a neutral location, not inside your home right away.  This can be outside of the house in the yard or at a park.

When we brought our new Dachshund puppy, Eko, home we introduced him to Bastian in our front yard first before bringing him into the house.  Out of respect for Bastian, we needed a friendly meeting between the two dogs before inviting our new guest inside.  Our home is Bastian’s den after all.

Designated Area for Puppy:

Your new pup should have their own crate and puppy play area gated off from the house and from the older dog.  Puppies need to stay in a designated area during their puppy potty training to keep them from roaming the house and getting into trouble or bothering the current dog of the house.

how to introduce a new puppy

2. Playtime:

Over the next couple of weeks, we allowed Eko to have brief visits with Bastian throughout the day.  We don’t allow the puppy to roam the house yet, so the visits were always within a small gated area.  If Bastian wanted to escape the puppy playfulness, we allowed him to leave the room.

  • Supervision:  All play time sessions with both dogs are fully supervised just in case they need to be separated.
  • Toys:  Have some toys and treats available to help the play session stay positive and fun for both dogs.
  • Sniffing:  Allowing the dogs to sniff each other is a good way to keep it simple but not let it get too uncomfortable for any of the dogs.

These brief playtime visits don’t always go well.  Eko loves to jump up and bite Bastian because that is how he plays.  Unfortunately, Bastian would rather not play at all.  So, we always supervise, keep it fun and positive, and try to make the visit brief.

Dogs Need their Own Things:

Both dogs should have their own dog bowls, beds, blankies, and toys.  Your older dog cherishes his own items, don’t allow the puppy to move in and take his toys.

3. Food:

Separate the dogs into different areas of the house during mealtime.  Puppies have a special diet formulated for their system and senior dogs have a special diet as well.  If the dogs try to eat each other’s food, they could get upset tummies.

Also, dogs can be very territorial when it comes to their food, bones, and treats.  Don’t allow the new puppy near the older dog while eating to avoid a fight.

Bastian and Eko love to play games with me and try to gobble up each other’s food when I’m not looking.  So, we must have them eat in separate gated rooms.

We plan to gradually switch them to the same dog food once the puppy is grown so they can’t play switch the dog bowl on us in the future.

how to introduce a new puppy

4. Training Sessions:

As I train Eko to respond to his name and to learn how to do common training commands, Bastian wants to join in too.  He loves the treats that Eko gets during training.

Eko is really learning his commands very quickly, especially with the yummy tuna, chicken, turkey or salmon-based treats that I give him during the training sessions.

The BEST thing is, when the dogs are in training, the playing and fighting stop!  They are in “food mode”.  I occasionally do the training sessions together with both dogs and they love it.

They pay attention to only me and don’t bother each other.  They both get to learn and enjoy some yummy treats together.

Walking:

Take the dogs for individual walks and walks together.  Eko is only 11 weeks old, so he is still getting used to walking with a leash and harness.  He really doesn’t walk far before sitting down and refusing to move.  Brief walks for the puppy at this age are still beneficial to help him become socialized and stay active and healthy.

Bastian loves to walk for about 20 minutes.  So, if we walk the dogs together, we often bring a doggy backpack with us to help carry Eko while still proceeding to walk with Bastian. (Here is the backpack we Love from Amazon).

5. Socializing

So, unfortunately, Bastian wasn’t socialized as a young puppy.  From the start, Bastian had his den mates, our dachshund Reno, and our German Shepard, Artemus to play with.  They were his close doggie family.

We didn’t reach out and meet other people with dogs because they were so good with each other at home.  We didn’t know how crucial it really was for us to take them out and meet other dogs that didn’t live with us.

Lesson learned! Eko is now starting his socialization training at 11 weeks old.  We are gradually introducing him to new friends and family members.  Even though he has Bastian at home, he needs to go out and play with other dogs to prevent future socialization issues.

Our vet recommended that we stay away from public dog parks and pet stores until Eko has all of his necessary puppy vaccines, around 16 weeks old.

Our puppy playdates are usually with people we know, who have small dogs that are Eko’s size, and are vaccinated.

6. Personal Time, One-on-One

It is important to make one-on-one time with both dogs individually.  Separate play sessions and walks can help your dog feel special and loved.

Since our new puppy, Eko arrived, I know that it is important to take walks alone with just Bastian.  When I let Bastian outside, I make sure to give him big hugs and kisses.  I know he appreciates it because he reacts with a big tail wag.

I need to always let him know that he is still my dog and I love him the same, even with a new pup in the house.

Do Dogs Get Jealous of New Puppies?

Yes, I believe, just like a young child being introduced to a new baby in the house, there is going to be some jealousy.  Bastian is a very easy-going older dog.  He is 14 years old, he loves to go for walks, but he also loves to take plenty of quiet naps throughout the day.  Now that the puppy is here, Bastian always wants to be in the room with me and the puppy, or at least close by.

It is important to maintain the same routines I did with Bastian before we brought Eko home.  If I change anything up, that can upset Bastian and cause him to be anxious or lethargic.

I make sure not to give the new puppy all of my attention. I don’t want Bastian to become angry or territorial towards the puppy or me for that matter.

how to introduce a new puppy

What If Your Dogs Fight?

Eko and Bastian still have their “mean moments” when they are in the same room together.  Sometimes Eko slips away from us and darts right for Bastian’s Bed and pounces on top of him.  It is hilarious to watch, but very unfair to Bastian, so we try our best to stop that from happening.  We try to keep them seperated throughout the day and supervised when they are together.

How to Prevent Dog Fights:

  • Redirection:  Re-direct your new puppy from your older dog when he gets too rambunctious.
  • Positive Interactions: Playtime needs to be positive!  Use new fun toys and yummy treats to keep them happy and occupied.
  • Brief Visits: Keep visits between your dogs brief and supervised.
how to introduce a new puppy

Should I Let My Older Dog Growl at My Puppy?

Growling will happen.  Dogs use this form of communication to let the other dog know their boundaries and comfort level.  Of course, your older dog doesn’t want a crazy puppy biting and jumping in their face.

Your older dog may growl to let the puppy know he needs him to back off or settle down.

Always supervise when your dogs are exchanging barks, growls, and submissive behavior.  Don’t allow your puppy and older dog to be left alone until you are very confident that they are safe around each other.

How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Get Used to a New Puppy?

Usually, after about three to four weeks, some gentle playtime between the older dog and the puppy will begin.  Be patient, it will take time.  It may take a little longer for your older dog to adjust and be ok with the new pup.

Continue supervising brief play times when your dogs are together.  They will begin to understand each other’s ways and eventually become happy housemates.

During this time of introduction, your dogs may have a couple of bad interactions with each other.  Keep trying to keep things positive and be patient.

Dogs will adapt over time.  If you continue to have trouble with your older dog and the new pup, consult your vet or consider trying some professional doggie training to help them adjust.

Do you have some successful older dog and puppy intro stories?  We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

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