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Introducing a puppy to an older dog

Introducing a puppy to an older dog

When you decide to bring a new puppy into your home, it’s an exciting time. However, your existing dog might not always feel the same. We look at some of the things you can do to make the experience a positive one.

It can be a stressful situation for your older dog. They may be used to time alone and enjoy the peace and quiet in their golden years. All of a sudden this whirlwind of fun, in the form of a new puppy, arrives. It’s no surprise your older dog may feel overwhelmed and upset by the situation.

There are times when the introduction of puppies and older dogs causes no issues. But, don’t take any chances. It is wise to consider how to bring the new addition into the family to avoid any problems before they occur.

Careful thought about the breed and type of puppy you choose is needed. A large, boisterous, high-energy puppy is not suited to an older, small breed dog who likes to spend hours curled up on the sofa. Don’t set the puppy and senior dog union up for failure.

Here are some steps to help the puppy and older dog introduction go smoothly.

What should I do before bringing a new puppy home? 

  • Provide a separate bed and water bowl for your puppy. Place it in a different area from your older dog’s bed and bowl, at least to begin with. Give your older dog their own space.
  • Ensure all vaccinations are up-to-date. Puppies are vulnerable to illness, especially before their vaccinations are complete. The same applies to flea and tick treatment and worming.
  • Hide all the chews and toys. Dog toys could cause a flashpoint for conflict so put them out of the way until your older dog and puppy have got used to each other.

Introducing your older dog to a puppy

Introduce puppies and older dogs outside in a neutral space, so your older dog doesn’t go into ‘protecting my home and garden’ mode. Don’t go too far or let them meet other dogs. Remember, puppies are vulnerable to infections until their vaccinations are complete.

Another option is to let them meet on the driveway before heading into your garden. Alternatively, let them meet and greet each other through a wire fence.

Keep both your puppy and dog on their leads. If either looks anxious or worried, take them away for a short break before you bring them back together again. Give them only ten minutes together before you take your older dog away for a break. Reward your older dog with a treat.

Bringing your puppy into your home

When you bring both your dog and puppy into your house, keep them on leads. Take some time before you let them off, carefully observing your older dog’s body language. Look for signs they are becoming fed up with the puppy. Don’t leave them unsupervised and if the puppy annoys the older dog, step in to avoid a problem.

Top tip: By investing in a baby gate, you provide your older dog with space away from your puppy. It can all get a bit much at times for your older dog. If they have time to rest and relax away from a pestering puppy, you are limiting the chances of them not getting along.

It’s essential to show your older dog they are still the number one in the dog pecking order. So, don’t ignore them in favour of a new puppy. You don’t want to put their dog nose out of joint!

Give your older dog time to adjust to the new situation. With careful management of the introduction, you give the new dog relationship the best chance of working out well.

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The Kennel Club Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Agria Pet Insurance Ltd, who administer the insurance. Agria Pet Insurance is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Services Register Number 496160. Agria Pet Insurance Ltd is registered and incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 04258783. Registered office: First Floor, Blue Leanie, Walton Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 7QW. Agria insurance policies are underwritten by Agria Försäkring.

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