Bringing a new puppy home is one of the most thrilling experiences for any pet parent. Pups are especially suitable for households with smaller children and friendlier pets.
However, there are challenges to contend with if bringing a puppy to a home with a resident dog. That’s because dogs are naturally territorial and affection-seeking creatures. Your current pooch may not agree to the idea of sharing the same living space with another canine. At least not initially.
Fortunately, there are numerous techniques you can use to get the two strangers to live harmoniously in the same household. Read below for a step-by-step guide to introducing a new puppy to your dog.
1. Pick the Best Breed
One of the most important and commonly overlooked steps on how to introduce a new puppy to your dog is picking the right breed.
Any dog can become well-mannered if properly trained and socialized. However, you’ll have a head start by choosing a friendly breed for the new pup.
Common friendly dog breeds include golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Boston terriers, beagles, poodles, and border collies. In the same breath, avoid aggressive dog breeds like German Shepherds, Dachshunds, and Cane Corsos.
Since a puppy is easier to train than mature dogs, more focus should be on your resident dog and not the new addition to the family. Ensure the current dog has undergone due training and socialization, especially if he’s from an aggressive breed.
2. Be Up To Date With All Vaccinations
Having your puppy vaccinated is an essential step before bringing him home. That’s because several illnesses can be transferred from the pup to your resident dog. These include rabies, canine parvovirus, canine distemper, Lyme disease, and leptospirosis, to mention but a few.
One way to be sure the pup is up to date with his vaccination is to adopt him from a licensed breeder.
Remember to also check the dog’s medical profile to ensure he’s not suffering from any contagious or chronic disease.
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Doing the Actual Introductions
1. Have the Dogs in Separate Rooms
You’ve now brought your puppy home and are ready to formally introduce him to your resident pooch. Now, the first step is to have the dogs in separate but adjacent rooms.
The idea is to familiarize the two animals with each other’s sounds and scents. Ensure the dogs do not meet just yet.
2. Reinforce The New Dog’s Scent
After spending time in his room for a few days, your new pup must have deposited some pheromones on his bedding and toys. It’s time to reinforce his scent.
You can do that by having the resident dog interact more with the new pup’s toys. This will make the resident dog less anxious when he finally meets the new family member.
3. Go To a Neutral Location Outdoors
Once your resident dog is sure there’s another canine in the house, you can now arrange the first physical meet-up.
Select a neutral location that the current dog does not claim to. This could be in a secluded spot in your backyard or even in a nearby park.
It’s also best to have the resident dog on a leash and keep him from making physical contact with the pup just yet. This will prevent him from lunging at the puppy or otherwise threatening him.
Most importantly, keep the initial introductions short and brief.
4. Arrange The Second Meet-up Outdoors
After the first encounter, you’ll need to continue keeping the two dogs apart as you plan the second physical meeting. The second meeting would entail allowing the dogs to greet each other through licking and head-rubbing.
If this happens without a fuss, then you know you’re on the right track and can proceed to the next step. But if the resident dog still displays some aggression, you may need to arrange several physical meetings.
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5. Move the Introductions Indoors
After success with outdoor interactions, it’s now time to move the introductions indoors. The main purpose is to have the dogs understand that they’re all part of the same household.
Remember to choose a neutral space without the current dog’s items, such as toys, feeding bowls, and bedding. It’s also great to leave doors open in case the new pup feels so threatened as to run away.
6. Supervise the Feeding Hours
Dogs are masters at stealing food, especially if the one being stolen from is a young and defenseless pup. That makes it necessary to supervise feeding hours.
Ensure the two dogs eat in the same general location but not too close to each other and certainly not from the same bowl. In the final analysis, each dog would need to have his own feeding bowl, litter box, toys, sleeping area, etc.
7. Reinforce Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement is an essential concept in encouraging good behavior among pets. So, if everything works out fine so far, you might consider treating the dogs to let them know you’re pleased with their general conduct.
Insist on treating the resident dog more as he’s the one who has exercised a higher level of restraint. Simply reward the dog with his favorite treats. The treat could be a snack, toy, or even a back rub.
Introducing a new puppy to a resident dog isn’t a walk in the park. But with due diligence and following the above-listed expert tips, the process can be a lot easier than you could imagine.