We’ve already covered how we prepared our dogs for when Sam (our human furbaby) came home to stay at HHDB. It’s a really good read, you should check it out…!
What we haven’t spoken much about is how best to introduce a new puppy to a house that already has one or more resident dogs. For a dog used to being the centre of attention and able to do pretty much whatever he wants, having the addition of a new puppy to create havoc and cause chaos in every way imaginable can be quite stressful at best, traumatic at worst.
When we brought Indiana home to Sprocket, there was one guiding factor we adhered to:
Take it easy!
Don’t rush into forcing your old dog and new pup to become best friends straight away. You might be lucky and they’ll hit it off and become close buddies at first sight, but you’ll more likely find your older dog to be resistant to change and perhaps even a wee bit grumpy.
And that’s fine!
Imagine if your husband came home one day and told you he was taking a second wife. You’d be a bit annoyed (probably) and somewhat resistant to change (I imagine). Whilst you would have the opportunity to pack your bags, take the first flight to Vegas and sue for all the money he has, your dog hasn’t got quite so many options, so take it calm and easy and introduce the change slowly.
Make sure your dog has a safe place to go when it gets too much where the puppy isn’t allowed.
This could be a crate, your bed or even a separate room. Perhaps consider some plug in Adaptils to calm everyone down. Make sure your dog still gets plenty of cuddles from you - he needs to know he’s not being phased out or he might soon become anxious, maybe even some unwanted behavioural problems will emerge.
Don’t allow your puppy to overpower your dog by jumping all over him and taking his favourite spaces. Imagine if this new second wife drank out your wine glass, sat on your side of the sofa and hung off your earlobes? You’d be like, “Calm down Karen, you’re doing my head in.”.
We also wanted to make sure they got to know each other, so we made sure they could:
What is it they say - they who play together stay together? Well this is kinda like that. Puppies need to be socialised anyway - it doesn’t matter how many other dogs you have. They need to go out and meet people, hear new noises and see the world around them.
Even before they get all their vaccinations allowing them to go on the ground, consider carrying them around to get used to the outside world. This is also an exceptionally cute thing to do and you might get free drinks at the dog-friendly bar if you play your cards right.
It’s important that your dogs bond, and a brilliant way of doing this is through play. Whether it is fetching a ball or tug-of-war, the more they interact with each other in a positive environment, the better. Your pup will love learning how things are done from your older dog - that the ball should be brought back, or that paddling in the sea is actually awesome and cools you down and is nothing to be afraid of. Do make sure young pup doesn’t dominate and stop the older guy having fun though - keep it al fair and happy for both.
You can also consider puppy socialisation classes. These are great to let your dog get up close with other dogs and to let your puppy socialise in a controlled environment. It’s also a good idea to get them used to dogs who don’t want to play or interact with puppies - not all dogs want to have fun, and it’s important for pups to learn that not all dogs want to play!
It's not difficult introducing new puppies - just remember to do it on their terms, not your schedule. Overall, make sure it’s fun for everyone, dog and human alike.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help! You can reach out to a wide variety of sources, from dog trainers, behaviourists and vets.