Are you considering getting a new puppy? Another dog to keep your current dog company is often a really good idea. Dogs are social creatures and love interacting with other dogs.
Introductions are important and the way you go about it is crucial for developing trust and bonds that will last forever.
Not all dogs are confident and some can be a little shy. Ensuring their boundaries are respected and known before introducing them to a new puppy or another dog is essential for a smooth transition.
Before we talk about the best way to introduce your new puppy to your current dog let’s go over some things to remember when it comes to a puppy.
Behaviors Of Puppies
Puppies are constantly learning. Everything in their world is new and they have no boundaries. Their communication skills are still developing, they are full of energy, and don’t have a stop button.
Puppies like exploring their surroundings and are often unaware of dangers and repercussions that can occur from their behavior.
We, as their owners, teach them, and their mothers teach them basic skills, but the majority of puppies learn from interacting with other dogs.
Supervising your new puppy with your current dog is vital for them both, as it may get too much for your current dog if your new puppy is constantly trying to get their attention and doesn’t understand when to leave them alone.
Don’t be alarmed if your current dog growls at your puppy as this is normal behavior for older dogs that are dealing with younger dogs.
Your older dog is teaching your puppy how to know right from wrong, how far it can push boundaries, and the social skills it needs to be a part of the family.
Make Preparations Before Bringing Your Puppy Home
Preparing your house for your new puppy and creating a routine will help develop good relationships with all that live in the household. Your new puppy and your current dog need to have their own safe spaces to relax and retreat when needed.
I often use baby safety gates to give safe spaces for the new dogs and puppies that come into the house as this helps them feel secure and encourages them to get used to a routine.
The barrier also allows them and my current dogs to view and sniff each other out in a non-threatening manner. If you don’t have access to a baby safety gate then you can always use a crate. Many dogs love their crate as to them it is their own little home.
Exchanging their scents in advance is helpful for preparing them to get to know one another.
Dogs use their sense of smell foremost for everything in their life, so giving them a toy or bedding from each other prior to your new puppy entering the house will allow them time to process the smells. This will aid in recognition and they will be more familiar upon meeting.
Removing any toys, bedding, and dog feeding bowls before bringing your new puppy into the house is also recommended as your current dog could be possessive of these things and it will only cause tension if your new puppy tries to go near them.
Make sure your puppy and your current dog have been dewormed, treated for fleas, and had any vaccinations required prior to bringing it into your house. This is important as it protects both your new dog and your current dog from parasites and viruses.
The Safe Way To Introduce Your New Puppy To Your Current Dog
Introducing your new puppy or another dog to your current dog needs to be done safely. It is natural to want your current dog to get along with your new puppy and for the introduction to go well.
Whatever you do, don’t stress, try to remain calm and positive. Dogs are very sensitive to the energy around them, so if you are relaxed and stress free then your dogs will feel this and behave accordingly.
The first introduction should occur on neutral ground. It could be an area just outside your house. Anywhere that your current dog doesn’t consider as their territory is fine.
Let them take the time to sniff each other as this is the way dogs introduce themselves. They may sniff each other for a short time or a long time. Be patient with this process as they need this time to process.
Walk Them Together
If you can then it is good to walk the dogs together. Have a friend help you so that you can control the situation. It is advised that you walk your current dog and your friend walk the new dog.
Walking them can be tricky when you have a new puppy as most puppies aren’t used to being walked and if they aren’t fully vaccinated they are at risk.
If you can walk them then make sure the area is free from viruses and parasites. If you cannot walk them then letting them be close to each other is often enough.
Let Them Enter Your Yard Together
Once they have met and are accustomed to one another let them enter your yard together. Here they can be free and unleashed, but only if your yard is enclosed. If it isn’t then it is best to keep the leashes on.
Maintain supervision at all times during these first few interactions as it may be too much for your current dog due to the puppy’s high energy levels.
Now It’s Time To Enter The House
Begin by ensuring your current dog is either outside or in an area that is blocked off from the rest of the house as this allows your new puppy the chance to explore and get to know your home safely.
Your new puppy will be sniffing everything and will be developing its knowledge and this is best accomplished alone and unhindered. Once your puppy has had the opportunity to explore the new surroundings you can bring your current dog in.
What To Watch Out For?
During the introduction phases it is important to watch out for signs that your dogs are getting along with each other. As dogs have different characters it may or may not take some time before you can be sure they will be okay together.
It is also important to restrict the time they spend together. Puppies can be very annoying to older dogs and making sure each dog has time out and away from each other is essential for them both.
Your puppy will need time to sleep and grow and your current dog will need time to relax and recharge as more often than not your older dog will have already established a routine.
Tail wagging, playing, and friendly licking are signs that a positive relationship is developing. Rolling over on their back and bowing are all good signs that your new puppy and current dog are getting along well.
If your puppy is showing submissive behavior that can be good as this tells your older dog that the puppy is letting them take the lead and be the boss.
Teeth baring, long growls, and raised hair are signs that there is discomfort. If there are prolonged stares or biting then these issues need to be taken seriously and the dogs need to be separated.
Puppies will often try to jump all over bigger dogs, nipping at them and playing roughly and sometimes don’t see the signs that the other dog may react aggressively.
Make sure you are always supervising the dogs so you can remove them and de-escalate the situation before an injury or dislike of each other occurs.
What Not To Do When Introducing Your New Puppy
We have covered what you should do when your new puppy meets your current dog, but you also need to know what you shouldn’t do when it comes to introductions as this will make the transition very difficult and can create negative issues and behavior.
- Don’t bring your new puppy into the yard for the first meeting whilst holding it.
- Don’t force the dogs to be together or to interact with each other.
- Don’t let your current dog bully your puppy.
- Don’t let them fight.
- Don’t make them share the same space, crate, or food bowls.
- Don’t punish them for not getting along, but do reward them when they do get along.
Introductions usually go well when following the information in this article. Some dogs may take a little time to warm up to another dog, so be patient and go slow. Remember puppies are full of beans and your older dog will need space from the high energy.
Ensure they have a routine and regular intervals alone. Rewarding them for positive behavior together will assert and affirm their relationship. Never punish them for not getting along and be mindful of their body language.
Written by Michelle Sinkinson
Michelle runs a small dog rescue facility. She loves helping, teaching about, and writing on dogs. She loves seeing dogs happy and doing well.