introducing new puppy to dog

Will My Dog be Jealous of a New Puppy? Yes or No?


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Introducing a new puppy to your older dog comes with lots of moving parts. Not only do we mean eight legs and two wagging tails (hopefully!) by that, but also the familiarisation process involving all the personalities. Your big dog could very well be jealous of your cute puppy, for example.

We’re here to help you make sure that doesn’t happen.

Thankfully, dogs are far from random and follow fairly precise social rules. If you’re ready to structure this social order for a well-balanced pack, you’ll already be 50% percent there. Thereafter it’s all about perseverance, patience, application and continued supervision. And these seven steps below…

How to introduce your older dog to a new puppy properly

It’s natural to ask yourself ‘will my dog be jealous of the new puppy?’ You certainly don’t want your darling dog to suddenly feel like they’ve been booted out of the roost. Nor do you want puppy to get a snarl snap or growly greeting that turns their friendship sour even before it’s taken root.

Gaining some simple knowledge about what to expect then following our steps slowly and patiently will reap the rewards of a happy pack. Every pack needs a good leader to prevent chaos and rivalry from breaking out…

take your time when introducing a new puppy to your dog because it pays off like this happy family

You are leader of the pack

As we mentioned earlier, dogs thrive on a well-structured social order. If you can give them that they’ll do more than just love you, they’ll obey you as well. At the pinnacle of their social structure they need a leader.

And that’s you.

This isn’t exactly the same as human leadership. It’s more that dogs want someone to rely on and believe in… (OK, perhaps it’s a little like human leadership). Every healthy, happy pack of domestic dogs needs a human leader.

We’re raising our dogs to behave according to human standards in human environments, after all. This is why they need to clearly know it’s you and not each other they look to for direction. That doesn’t mean your puppy won’t also learn lots from its older canine buddy but rather that you need to decide when, where, how and how much.

Since positive reinforcement for dog training works best this also isn’t about being domineering or snappy with your dogs. Rather, it’s about being authoritative and setting clear boundaries through the seven steps below.

Wisdom with age

If your older dog is well socialised and wisened they’ll most likely give your puppy a lot of slack. They may be more forgiving of your puppy romping and playing all over them than they’d be with adult dogs.

They’ll probably even be a little sensitive to your puppy getting overwhelmed. At first, your big dog might do this by acting calm and casual and kind of staring off at something else while letting puppy approach them and sniff them (though not on day one!).

They’re literally being the bigger dog and letting puppy get closer without feeling swamped. After all, if you’re a wee pup, a big dog snuffling at your ears and nose can be a bit daunting. 😊

introducing new puppy to your older dog should be done step by step

Do you need a trainer or behaviourist?

If, however, your older dog has any history of aggression or nervousness consider bringing in a trainer or pet behaviourist for the first introduction. You might also consider this an option if you have a breed that’s prone to behaving more aggressively without the right training.

You could be saving yourself lots of grief in the long run. Not to mention added spend on make-up sessions to get both dogs back on track once they’ve lost the footing to a good friendship.

Stay out of my room

Until your dogs meet, and potentially even after, they should have separate places in the house. You’ll keep them separated at first, with each having their own feeding areas and toys.

Now onto the seven furbulous steps of introducing your puppy to your dog.

7 steps for introducing a new puppy to your older dog

First time introductions are the most important ones. Like the good old saying goes, first impressions last. Try to be calm and relaxed so you can set the tone for your dog and puppy. Also have another keen human, preferably someone who knows your older dog, to help you.

We’ve outlined how to introduce an older dog to a new puppy in seven steps because we want you to have a happy pack. Here they are:

when you're introducing new puppy to dog make sure they each have their own feeding area and toys

#1. Take it slow

When introducing a new puppy to your dog you’re building a miracle, AKA a friendship for life. These types of connections take time; same for people. If you suddenly have to go to the toilet and brush your teeth around a total stranger, you’re going to feel nervous.

Take your time and do each step a few times, spreading them over a week or two. Ideally the more time you give yourself and your puppy and older dog in the beginning, the easier everything will be thereafter.

#2. Exercise beforehand (the dogs, not you)!

Dogs are highly energetic and sensory. Avoid introducing them when they’re full of beans by exercising them both separately beforehand. This is a great step to do before each interaction.

#3. Say hello in neutral territory

Dogs are territorial by nature, some to a lesser and others to a greater degree. Either way, try for a first introduction in neutral territory. Pick a quiet park or street somewhere where there aren’t other dogs and that’s not too noisy then begin with step three.

#4. Smelly introductions

Before letting your dogs interact take them on a walk separately. You’ll have one dog and the person helping you will walk the other (adult) dog, both on a leash.

Meet up on route but keep the dogs apart. They might be as much as a couple of metres apart or less, provided both walkers stay between both dogs.

You’re introducing your puppy to your adult dog via smell. A dog’s smell can be up to 100,000 times stronger than ours so simply smelling each other is as good as you and shaking hands. Or even hugging.

#5. Fenced off hellos

Now you’ve begun introducing your new puppy to your adult dog via smell, let them get closer while keeping them separate. You can use a baby gate or fence with your dogs on either side, each with a human supervisor.

Watch how they interact and look for any signs of aggression. Hopefully there are none, but if there are then pause the interaction and come back to it again later.

Once you’ve seen them safely and happily meet through a barrier and they’ve had a few days of these distant encounters it’s time to bring them into the same space in this next step.

#6. Closer encounters

Keep both dogs on a leash each with his or her own handler. Depending on your level of confidence, you can try this at home, otherwise pick a neutral spot for this step too.

The idea here is not to bring your puppy to your adult dog, but simply to bring them into the same space and keep puppy moving around without getting right up to your older dog. Both puppy and dog may even appear not to be interested in each other and that’s fine. They are certainly aware of each other’s presence!

After a good five to ten minutes of circling in the space and only if both canine companions are calm, then you can allow puppy to get closer. Let them interact for about 30 seconds to a minute before separating them again.

#7. Well done! You’ve integrated your new puppy with your older dog

After several weeks of short but sweet encounters you’ll start letting your dogs spend more time together naturally. Take walks together, spend time playing together and generally strengthen everyone’s bond.

Don’t scold your adult dog (even if they’re behaving inappropriately). You’re creating positive associations and even if your big dog lags behind you must lead this process.

What if my dog starts growling at my new puppy?

If there are any signs of aggression during these five steps, fall back. Don’t move on to the next step until both dogs are happy. That might mean repeating the step you’re on over several more days or even going back a step.

Don’t pursue any aggressive behaviours by letting the dogs get closer because then you’re simply endorsing them.

introducing your new puppy to kids and other pets is important for getting along

How to introduce your new puppy to other members of the household

Now that you’ve got the steps in check for introducing your new puppy to your adult dog, what about other members of your home? If you already have cats, kids or you’re about to bring a new baby into the world, you’ll want to make these introductions as smooth as marshmallows too.

That’s why we’ve put together these top tips for introducing your new puppy:

Also find out about preventing or stopping dog bites dog aggression between your and others’ dogs when in parks and public spaces.

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