There are few experiences that can compare with bringing home a new puppy, but it is important to consider other pets in the home at the same time. If you currently have a dog- particularly if you have a senior dog in the home, there are some ways to make the transition gently, and to foster a rapport rather than a rivalry between your pets.
If you have an older dog, use these tips to introduce a new puppy to the family:
Find Neutral Territory
When first introducing a new puppy to an older dog, choose a meeting place that is neutral. If you try this in your home, your dog may become territorial and possessive. Choose a neighbor’s enclosed yard or a nearby park for the first meeting, preferably a new locale for both pets. Make sure that each dog is securely leashed and handled by a different individual during this interaction.
Give Positive Reinforcement
When you do have your puppy and dog meet, make sure to create a positive experience. Bring some treats and offer positive words of encouragement generously. Give the dogs time and space to sniff one-another and keep giving calm verbal reinforcement. They will associate interacting with positive experiences, like treats, and will be less likely to become aggressive or defensive.
Watch Body Language
Learn to recognize defensive body language that could precipitate a problem between the dogs. Growling, baring teeth, and a stiff gate are a couple of the signs to watch for- and that could indicate that trouble is brewing. Separate the dogs for a bit and try again.
Make sure to always supervise puppies and senior dogs- for everyone’s wellbeing. Crate them if necessary, to prevent problems when you are not able to keep an eye on them.
Be Wary Around Food
Even when things are going swimmingly, it can change in an instant when food is involved. Dogs are inherently protective of their food and problems can arise if you try to let a puppy eat from the same dish. Always provide separate food bowls, dog crates, and toys to minimize these issues and keep everyone happy.
Most dogs can and will learn to adjust and get along with other animals; be patient. It can help to choose puppies with personalities that will complement the other dogs in the home. For instance, if your pets are older and quiet, it may be more difficult to adapt to an energetic and rambunctious puppy. Choose a more-mellow puppy to make the adjustment easier in this instance. Most shelters have done assessments of the dogs’ temperaments prior to adopting them out, which can make it easier to find the right fit for your household.
Use these tips to acclimate both the new puppy and your senior dog to the new situation successfully. For emergency care in and around Columbia, SC, call on CVETS, a brand new, state of the art Emergency Vet and Surgery center.