SO "how do I introduce a New Puppy to my Dog in Residence?" This event, while captivating, is quite common in the lives of many families.
How can I ensure that each family member and pet feels at ease with the new addition?
Proper planning beforehand can significantly ease the introduction process.
If you are adopting or buying a puppy from a reputable, registered breeder, it can be helpful to ask them for an item, like a blanket, towel, or piece of clothing, that carries the new puppy’s scent. This can assist in acclimating your current dog to the new puppy's presence.
If close enough, visiting the puppy before bringing them home is a good strategy. Many of our clients have done this and have enjoyed significant long term benefits from doing so. During the visit, you can bring an item to collect the puppy’s scent, along with the other siblings and mum, where possible, which can then be used to introduce the new puppy to your resident dog and of course the family.
It’s important to keep the introduction low-key; simply place the item carrying the new puppy’s scent within the bedding of your existing dog. Given the acute olfactory abilities (Scent capacity) of dogs, your resident dog will likely detect the new puppy’s scent even before they arrive. This method of introduction, although not always feasible, is highly effective when possible, as it allows your resident dog to familiarise themselves with the new puppy in a non-confrontational manner.
We recommend applying the same technique when introducing a new baby to a household where a dog already resides. That is Bring home the scent of the new baby from the hospital and add this to their bedding or crate. It works really well too.
It’s completely natural for many people to want to constantly hold their new puppies, but we advise allowing the puppy to be on the floor, driveway or footpath when introducing this new puppy to their new Best Mate to prevent creating any barriers between the resident dog and the new puppy.
How can conflicts or potential aggressive behaviors from the resident dog be avoided?
We recommend introducing the new companions in a neutral environment initially, with both dogs on leashes. Your driveway or a nearby sidewalk can serve as ideal spots for initial introductions. Handle the introduction in a relaxed and casual manner, with both dogs on leashes. Having two people, each managing a dog, can facilitate a smoother introduction. It’s crucial to maintain a calm demeanor as any anxiety displayed can potentially influence the resident dog or indeed the new puppy too. If you've managed to obtain an item with the puppy's scent beforehand and have placed it in their crate or bedding, it can significantly ease the introduction process. The resident dog may display a recognition mixed with uncertainty, as if to say, "I recognize your scent, but I don't know you," facilitating a smoother acclimation.
Avoid forcing any interactions; allow them to roam and smell each other, but be cautious to ensure the resident dog doesn’t snap at the puppy. This reaction is especially likely if the older dog hasn’t been well socialised. You might observe the new puppy retreating; this is a normal reaction and there’s no need for concern. We advise that the handler of the older dog prevents them from pursuing the puppy when it's retreating. Puppies, unfamiliar with such interactions, might be quite reserved. The resident dog might also experience some apprehensions. Remain relaxed and prevent them from pouncing on each other.
This process is fundamentally about paving the way for success for both your resident dog and your new puppy, rather than setting them up for failure.
How can I set them both up for success?
You've initiated a wonderful beginning. It is now crucial to ensure that the new puppy doesn't overwhelm and irritate the resident dog by being overly invasive in the subsequent weeks and months. It's essential that each dog has their individual safe space. A playpen should serve as the primary space for the puppy when you are not with them, where possible. On occasion or in certain circumstances you may not be able to do this due to a lack of space. A unit or townhouse for EG. This separation is ideal for maintaining a peaceful and tranquil household environment, which we all need and want too. The presence of a new puppy shouldn’t be a source of distress but rather a joyful addition. It’s appropriate to let the puppy interact with the resident dog under your supervision when they are calm or engaged in play. If things escalate, return the puppy to their playpen. I have a simple rule with this. If I am not with the puppy, the puppy is in their playpen.
It's important to keep everything, like feeding and crating, separate. Never crate them together or feeding them next to each other. It’s crucial to acknowledge the hierarchical nature in the dog world. Therefore, greet and feed the resident dog first upon arriving home. Bestowing them the 'top dog' treatment can significantly impact their immediate and prolonged reactions to the new addition. It is simply - respecting their position in the house'.
The usage of crates and playpens is crucial. We’ve witnessed the repercussions when they are not utilised appropriately. Dogs should be treated as individuals and must always have their distinct safe place. Additionally, instill in children the importance of respecting these boundaries. The crate and the playpen should be off-limits to young children; they are not permitted to enter the puppy's crate or playpen. These are spaces designated for dogs, not humans. To reinforce this rule, I have a sign on the fridge. Although it’s dated, as it’s been years since I had a puppy or young children, it serves its purpose well.
Maintaining strict supervision is paramount when introducing a new puppy to a resident dog. Allocate quality one-on-one time for each dog, ensuring they aren’t vying for your attention simultaneously.
Be very mindful about potential possession aggression or anxiety in either canine but can manifest more in the older dog in residence. They should have individual toys; for instance, if the resident dog has a favorite ball, it belongs solely to them; buy a new one for the puppy.
Additionally, it is advisable for the new puppy to have new collars, leashes, and other items to avoid the scent of another dog being embedded in them. Incorporating the resident dog's scent into the new addition’s crate can acclimate the puppy to its new family and establish a sense of belonging.
It’s not uncommon for the new puppy to assimilate habits, good or bad, from the resident dog. For example, a well-leash-trained older dog can instill the same discipline in the younger one.
Early and frequent training is crucial. While treating them as individuals, mutual respect should be fostered between them. Their behavior is reflective of your training. There are reputable dog clubs, like the Metropolitan Dog Club in Chermside Brisbane, and various resources on sites like Dogs Queensland, particularly beneficial for those in Queensland. As recognised and awarded experts in Dog Training Brisbane, Bonnies Dog Obedience and Puppy School has been a beacon of support for dog owners throughout Brisbane, maintaining a distinguished legacy for over fifty years.
Wherever you decide to go, inquire about their experience before enrolling your new furry companion, ensuring a well-informed and suitable choice is made.
DO's and DON'Ts for Introducing a New Puppy to a Resident Dog
Introduce the dogs in a neutral environment, such as a driveway or footpath or friends yard.
Keep both dogs on leashes and allow them to sniff each other at their own pace.
If the dogs seem to be getting along, you can try taking them for a short walk together.
Once the dogs seem comfortable around each other, you can bring them home.
Setup a crate and a playpen for the puppy.
Get them NEW items which are theirs. Collar, leash, toys, bedding, cratye, playpen etc.
Treat them both as individuals
Continue to supervise all interactions between the dogs, especially during the first few weeks and months.
Give both dogs plenty of individual attention and love.
Force the dogs to interact with each other if they're not ready.
Introduce the dogs in your resident dog's territory, such as your house or yard at first.
Let the dogs play together off-leash until you're sure they're comfortable with each other.
Get rid of your resident dog's favorite toys or belongings to make the puppy feel more welcome. Whats theirs is thiers.
Punish either dog for growling or barking at the other. This is a natural behavior that they're using to communicate with each other. You should however use a calming voice correction to mange their interactions.
Consider introducing the dogs to each other's scents before they meet face-to-face. You can do this by giving your resident dog a blanket or towel that smells like the puppy, and vice versa.
Be patient and consistent with training. It may take some time for your dogs to learn to get along.
Remember, every dog is different, and some dogs may take longer than others to adjust to a new puppy in the household. Be patient and consistent, and eventually your two dogs will become best friends.
Best of luck to you all.