When a new puppy joins the family, it seems like everything revolves around him for a while. There are lots of big changes! Many (like puppy breath) are wonderful, and some (like teething) are phases that you’ll be excited to grow out of.
But how does your older dog feel about the situation? Here are some ways to ensure a peaceful transition to being a multi-dog home and to prevent your established older dog from feeling jealous or hurt.
1. Introduce the dog and puppy outside, on neutral ground. Parks or other public spaces are great options for introducing new dogs. The first meeting should not be in what your older dog considers to be his personal territory. This would include the home, the yard, and probably the neighborhood he gets walked through every day.
2. Give the older dog lots of one-on-one attention, without Junior crawling all over her. Put the new puppy in his crate or pen for a while. The puppy will be just fine, and it's good for him to learn that sometimes he'll be crated while the other dog is loose. He needs to learn that it’s not all about him, and he will forget all about it the moment it’s his turn for attention!
3. Don't leave your adult dog and the puppy alone together. No matter now nurturing the older dog may seem, everyone has their limits! If the puppy gets too annoying, as only puppies can be, the older dog may unintentionally hurt him. Baby gates are a great tool to let your dogs still interact when you're not in the room.
4. Keep an eye on toys and treats. Be sure that there is something for each dog to stay occupied! If you notice that the puppy only wants the big dog's toys or vice versa, you may want to separate them during chew time to help prevent resource guarding.
5. Train each dog separately. When working with the puppy, take him to a place where the older dog won’t see him getting all those treats. You can put the older dog in her crate with a special treat reserved for just this scenario. This is a great time for stuffed enrichment toys or a bully stick to keep your older dog happy and distracted!
Remember that puppies don't stay puppies for long! Your older dog has been your best friend for a long time, and it’s important that she knows you will always think she’s special.
For more advice on puppy raising and training help, enroll in one of our upcoming Puppy Kindergarten classes!