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So you’re thinking about getting a new puppy with an older dog in the house and wondering how your old dog will feel about it. Dog training guru Cesar Millan provides great insight into why your old dog may initially be less-than-accepting of a puppy. Understanding this will help you create harmony between them much more quickly.
The nature of dogs is that they don’t raise puppies when they are advanced in age; just like us, they want to raise their kids when they still have the energy to keep up with them. It’s not that the puppies are “obnoxious” to them – it’s just that they have another state of mind – puppy hood vs. senior hood. In order to be around the older dogs, the puppy has to already have his social skills and his energy drained so they will accept him into the group. Think about kids who are raised by older parents or children visiting their grandparents. Those kids are the ones that are able to sit down in grandma’s lap and stay quiet while she reads them a book.
The best thing we can do for the grandparents to coexist with the children is that we have to get the children tired.
Constant supervision is absolutely a must, and when you can’t be there to supervise, tire the puppy out before crating so it feels more natural to rest. Crating a puppy all the time until it is big enough is absolutely the wrong thing. Crating doesn’t create social skills – and social skills are what are going to get him through. Of course always, always consult a professional, and if your gut feeling tells you there’s a real danger for the puppy, then don’t do it. Always listen to your gut feeling.” Read Cesar’s entire post here.
Expanding on Cesar Millan’s advice, Darcie at SitStay.com offers this very specific tactic when getting a new puppy with an older dog already in the home.
Here’s how I’ve always introduced new dogs into my house, pups and older dogs. We all meet outside in a more neutral place and go for a walk. It’s that simple. Everybody is headed in the same direction. And we walk and walk. For at least 40 minutes. No stopping to sniff or pee, should have done that before you left home. Walking, walking, walking. No time to growl or snap, no bad manners, no dogs talking to each other or looking at each other. We’re walking all in the same direction. Dogs get this, they don’t feel threatened when we’re all going the same way.
The new puppy or new dog should always be on a leash, you don’t know them very well yet. Better to be prepared for anything.
Relax on this walk. Breathe normally. Stay calm. It’s a good walk. Don’t concern yourself with problems that haven’t happened. Walk as quickly as the slowest or smallest can go. Little puppies can’t walk fast for a long way, pick her up and carry her every now and then, when you do, walk faster for your adult dog. (It’s always nice to have another person along for this walk but I’ve done it alone lots of times.)
End the walk at the door you normally enter your house through. Everyone goes into the house and you must act like this is the most normal thing ever.”We’re home. Let’s get a drink and some supper.” Let your older dog get a drink, then the pup gets a drink. Then go get something for everybody to eat. Hand feed. Keep the pup on leash.
I like to end the walk with a drink and a meal then a nap for the dogs. Do have a crate and a pen set up before you bring the new dog home. Pup goes into her crate. Your old dog sleeps where she normally does.
Hopefully this helps you realize that getting a new puppy with an older dog at home isn’t bad or wrong for your old dog. She won’t feel like you’re trying to replace her. She just needs your help controlling the puppy and channeling his energy, much as your mother needs your help when you bring your young children to her house for extended stays.