First Impressions Count: Introducing a new puppy to your existing dogs

Posted by MyDogDoc on

If you are adding another pup to your family, getting the first meeting right ensures a better relationship between a new puppy and older dog. Most dogs will get on very well with a new puppy, but it’s important that your existing dog does not feel threatened or jealous.

  • Scent transfer before bringing your puppy home leads to familiarisation when they first meet.

  • Introduce in the garden if possible – use leads and/or barriers if necessary.

  • Do not allow either the puppy or your existing dog to feel trapped and unable to get away.

  • Go at the pace of the individual who is finding the introduction the most overwhelming.

  • Allow the puppy to explore the home without your existing dog being present to start with.

  • Use barriers such a baby-gates and pens to separate the puppy and your existing dog until they are on friendly terms

How should I prepare my dog for the arrival of my new puppy?

If possible, organise a ‘scent transfer’ with the breeder. Use a clean cloth to stroke your existing dog and either post this in a resealable sandwich bag to the breeder or take it with you when you visit the puppies. Ask the breeder to do the same with a clean cloth on the puppy and then let your existing dog have a good smell of the cloth – feed a favourite treat when they have finished sniffing it, so that the puppy’s scent is associated with good stuff.

Install barriers such as baby-gates or pens in the home as far in advance of the puppy arriving as possible, to get the existing dog used to the change of the home setup. Baby-gates and pens allow the dog and puppy to see each other and interact, but they feel safe because they can get away from each other.

Where should I introduce my puppy to my existing dog?

Introduce the puppy to your existing dog in the garden if possible, where there is more space. Use barriers such as a gate, pen and/or a lead on the existing dog if the existing dog is exuberant or anxious with other dogs, or there is any concern about how they might respond to the puppy. If there is no garden, introduce in the home using a baby-gate.

Allow the puppy access to the home without the existing dog being present to start with – leave the older dog in the garden with something to keep them occupied. Remove any of your existing dog’s chews or toys if there is potential for any guarding or possessive behaviour before letting the existing dog back into the home.

If necessary, keep the puppy and existing dog separated at home initially with a baby-gate, until both are completely happy in each other’s company.

What happens if they don’t get on?

Go at the pace of the individual who is finding it the hardest and do not rush them – you cannot take introductions too slowly! Ensure both are relaxed at all times. It can take weeks for some dogs and puppies to happily co-exist without any form of segregation.

Managing your new pup’s behaviour is often required to prevent a new puppy jumping all over an existing dog and annoying them. It is not the existing dog’s job to tell the puppy off – this is very stressful for the older dog and could result in damaging the puppy’s confidence and their relationship if not managed carefully. Barriers to segregate the dogs, using a lead in the house and training the puppy to come when you call them and to settle on a bed can be really useful.

Dogs can sometimes get jealous or fight each other over food, toys and chews and this can cause tension. Separate your dogs before providing them with these items that they may fight over, or make sure they each have the same toys and food at the same time.

Ensure there are plenty of beds for your dogs to choose from, so they each have their own space and have a break from each other if necessary.

One-to-one time is really important in multi-dog households so each dog feels loved and cared for. Individual training time, walks and games with each dog can reinforce the bond our dogs feel with us. Anything that means we spend more quality time enjoying our furry friends gets a big paws up from the team here at MyDogDoc.

Getting your current dog’s initial introduction to a new puppy off to a good starts means they will become firm friends and companions for a lifetime!

Behaviour and Training Dog Dog behaviour Doggy introductions Dogs and puppies Garden Harness Lead New home Puppies Puppy behaviour Resources Scent transfer Space Using barriers

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