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How to Introduce a Young Puppy to an Adult Dog

I am a lifelong animal lover! If there's a dog around, I'll pet him. I hope you can benefit from my experiences.

Not only are these dogs several years apart, but they'll be different sized dogs once the puppy is grown.

Not only are these dogs several years apart, but they'll be different sized dogs once the puppy is grown.

You may have an older dog and want a new puppy, either to provide companionship for the older dog or to help him feel young again. No matter the reasons, bringing a young, energetic, playful puppy home to your seasoned older dog can bring with it numerous possibilities.

Expect Different Scenarios

You can expect several different scenarios when introducing two unfamiliar dogs of different ages:

  • Your older dog may welcome the new puppy without hesitation.
  • Your older dog may simply ignore the new young pup.
  • Your older dog may snap and growl at the little puppy.
  • Your older dog may become aggressive with the new little one.

Let's discuss the possibilities, both best case and worst case scenarios, that might happen.

Good and Bad Possibilities

#1: Your older dog may welcome the new puppy without hesitation.

You may end up lucky and the two get along very well. Even if this appears to be true, do not leave the two together when you are not constantly supervising. My daughter had a four-year-old German Shepard. She brought home a little eight-week-old Corgi. At first it wasn't a warm welcome, but it didn't seem like much cause for concern. But a day or so passed and she left the dogs alone as she went to handle laundry. The German Shepard attacked and nearly killed the Corgi puppy. It took surgery and a long recuperation for the puppy to be considered healthy again. Adult dogs may behave themselves with you in the room, but do not leave them alone for a long time, even if you've watched them and let them gradually get used to each other.

#2: Your older dog may simply ignore the new young pup.

If your senior dog is trying to ignore the little one, let it. Do not let the little puppy trample all over him. The senior dog could get very annoyed at the playfulness of the puppy. Remember to give each one attention apart from the other.

#3: Your older dog may snap and growl at the little puppy.

If this happens, take a step back and crate the young puppy or remove him to another room. You may try taking one on a leash and having someone else have the other several feet away. Let them walk outside with you and a friend. This way they can observe each other, but not be close enough to be an issue.

#4: Your older dog may become aggressive with the new little one.

If this happens, you will definitely need to get them on neutral turf and extremely slowly let them see each other with the distance between them. You may have to do this in increments. This will allow them to see the other as not a threat. The senior dog might just be jealous or trying to protect you. Use wisdom and take baby steps toward them being even in the same room with the puppy in a crate.

Extreme patience might be needed. Take it slow and gradual and let them learn about each other without feeling threatened in any way. The patience will pay off when they are best buds later on in the future.

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Introduction Do's and Don'ts

The introduction of the two dogs is crucial and will go along way in how the rest of their relationship will go and set the tone of the two furbabies' future together. Let's discuss the possibilities, both best case and worst case scenarios, that might happen.

If the introduction goes well, that is great. If the introduction turns into a power struggle with a jealous, territorial adult dog, you may never succeed with them accepting each other.

Here are a few things to try to make the introduction go well.

  • Before you go to pick up your new puppy, pick up your senior dogs toys, food, rawhides and anything they might be territorial about.
  • Take a blanket or something with your senior dog's scent on it to let the puppy smell it before meeting the adult dog. Likewise, take something that has the pup's scent on it to your senior dog before they even see each other the first time.
  • Some say they should be allowed to meet in neutral territory, but that is not always possible. I recommend that you have the two smell each other from one room to another under the door first. If that goes well, then move the puppy to his crate and let them sniff each other and touch their nose.

Stay with each stage of introduction until each dog is comfortable with the other. By comfortable, I mean no aggressiveness or restlessness showing up in either dog.

It is very important to always show your senior dog love and attention first before the puppy. Senior dogs get jealous, much like a toddler does with a new baby. They need to know that they are still valued and loved by you. They need to realize that they are not competing for your love and attention.

Best buds: It took a lot of time and patience in the beginning, but these three have grown to love each other.

Best buds: It took a lot of time and patience in the beginning, but these three have grown to love each other.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 April McMichael

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