Are you considering a new puppy but are afraid of how your dominant older dog may react? Did you know that by simply knowing how to introduce a puppy to a dominant dog, you can help alleviate most future problems? In this article, we will explore the best steps to take when introducing a puppy to a dominant dog.
Considerations Before Introducing a Puppy to the Resident Dog
While getting a new puppy can be very exciting for everyone in the family, it is important to think the decision through and be fully prepared before the puppy comes home.
Adding a pet to your family is a lifetime decision. One should never bring home an animal just to “try it out and see if it works.” You could end up having to spend time with the dogs separately, which can become tedious and dangerous.
Instead, pet parents who are considering the addition of a new furbaby into a home should research and be prepared before they even pick out a puppy, and definitely before bringing a puppy home.
You should, first of all, know your resident dog to understand how he may respond. While some dogs may enjoy meeting new puppies and be happy to have a new friend to play with, others may not.
For example, if your adult dog does not like meeting other dogs for play dates or at the dog park, then chances are he most definitely won’t be thrilled at having a new puppy in his home.
You will need to take extra precautions to introduce a puppy to this type of dog. It may also be a good idea to hire a professional dog trainer to help you bring the new dog in to meet your other dog.
You also must ensure that your resident dog and the new puppy are up to date with their vaccinations. By thinking ahead, you can avoid issues that could be detrimental to the new pup, the other dogs, and the family.
Here are some steps to take when introducing your adult dog to a new puppy.
1 – Know the Puppy and How Well It Will Mesh With Your Dominant Dog
Just as knowing your older dog is an important step in how to introduce a puppy to a dominant dog, knowing the puppy that you choose is also vital to success. The size, gender, breed, and personality are all important factors to consider before bringing the puppy home.
In most cases, two dogs will get along better if they are breeds of the same size and temperament. Small dogs tend to be more active and may nip and bark at adult dogs or older, lazier dogs.
Large dogs could see smaller dogs as prey animals and hurt them, and toy breeds can sometimes act much more aggressively than their little bodies can back up. A dominant resident dog who sees himself as a family member can become very aggressive if they think the new dog is a threat.
Gender is also important since dogs of the same gender are more likely to fight over territory, and those of the opposite sex may get along better. Bringing dogs of the same sex together can work for a while, but aggression can show when the new dog reaches puberty.
Two female dogs will often become vicious, especially during their heat cycles, if they have not been spayed. Two males will also be territorial and can sometimes even fight to the death if they smell a female dog nearby.
Breed characteristics are also significant when choosing a lifetime partner for your first dog. For example, herding dogs can trigger aggression in dominant dogs by pushing them because of the instinctive drive to “herd” them.
Resident dogs or older dogs are not likely to appreciate new dogs coming into their space and trying to tell them where to go, as you can imagine. For this reason, special precautions may be needed when choosing a playful dog such as a Border Collie for a second dog.
2 – Preparing for the New Puppy
Once you have researched and found the right puppy for your family, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for the new puppy. Especially if your resident dog has lived in the house for a long time, there could be territorial issues like fights over food or beds.
To help avoid some of these problems, you can prepare before you bring the new dog home. Buy all new water bowls, food bowls, and dog beds for the new baby. He will also need his own crate for training and personal space.
Having separate rooms to crate-train the puppy is also a good idea. Until they are used to each other and get along well, two dogs should not be left in the same room.
Allowing both dogs to have their own room not only makes training easier without interference from the adult dog, but it also gives your older dog an escape when the puppy is too rowdy. For this reason, separate personal space is a must.
3 – Have the Initial Introduction on Neutral Territory
The first meeting between two dogs should never be in the house of either dog. In fact, proper introductions should not happen on your property at all. Any time a new dog or small puppy has its first meeting with your current dog, it should ideally happen in an enclosed space that neither dog is familiar with.
The entire introduction should be planned out well ahead of time. You might choose to have it at a dog park, but you should be careful to avoid interruptions from other dogs. You could also choose the fenced-in friend or neighbor’s yard or simply take both dogs for a short walk where they won’t be approached by other canines.
It is fine to have a second meet and greet in your yard if the initial meeting goes well. There are signs to look for that will let you know if the dogs are ready for this. It is also important to note that if you have many dogs in your house, you may want to introduce them to any new puppies one at a time.
4 – Introduce Puppies to an Older Dog Slowly
Older dogs should be introduced to a new puppy’s presence slowly. You will want to watch for red flags such as a stiff tail, raised fur, snapping, curled lips, or other aggressive actions. Tail wagging, bowing, yawning, and the older dog showing interest by sniffing and playfully pouncing are all examples of good signs.
Meanwhile, you should give your resident dog positive signs that everything is okay. Your older dog will watch your body language for cues on how to respond to the new puppy. Be sure to keep a relaxed posture and stay calm. Avoid putting your body posture in any position that will make your dog feel threatened or protective.
Don’t push them together all at once. Keep them within sniffing distance of one another until you see how they will respond to each other. By meeting on neutral ground and letting them get used to the other one slowly, a dog with a dominant personality has time to decide to accept the puppy.
Final Thoughts on How To Introduce a Puppy to a Dominant Dog
As long as you move slowly with the initial meeting, introducing a puppy to a dominant dog can go smoothly. The first few weeks are critical to how the dogs will get along as the puppy grows. They can quickly become best friends if certain behaviors are avoided.
You should also make sure you spend quality time with both dogs, especially with the top dog, to make him feel special. They will each need one-on-one time and time together with you. By taking these steps, you and your dogs can be close friends for life.