Whilst welcoming a new puppy into your home can be an exciting event for you and the rest of the human family, older dogs or other pets might take a slightly different view
First impressions definitely count. So it’s easier by far to create a positive association than it is to overcome a negative one.
Looking at the world from your older pets point of view is important here. If they are old or elderly then they may well not appreciate a young, exuberant puppy bouncing all over them. Think Great-Auntie Ethel coming over and having your toddler trying to bounce up on her lap and you get the picture!
Have some tasty treats ready for keeping puppy’s attention & reward for your older dog
Have one family member in charge of your adult dog with treats
Have one family member in charge of puppy with treats
Introduce them at a time when puppy is a bit calmer, so possibly after a play session or run in the garden
If you are worried about your adult dogs reaction, pop puppy in a crate and let them sniff through that or through a baby gate in another room
You’re aiming to balance the fact that your older dog has a right to tell the puppy off and get it to calm down, without scaring or worrying the puppy. And it’s important to note that older dogs don’t generally enjoy having to reach the stage where they need to growl or snap. It can be distressing for them to have to do that, so it’s important that you step in before that happens.
Some adult dogs don’t like to tell other puppies or dogs off at all and can be run ragged by a young puppy, so you may need to intervene on their behalf in that instance. Gently guide them away to something else, and be persistent – don’t allow them to choose to keep returning to bother your older dog.
Think parent occupying young toddler who’s trying to bother your teenage child – good audition for UN peace keeping roles
Getting your puppy to wear a collar or harness as soon as possible, potentially with a short house line attached is important so that you can gently guide them away from your older animals if they look like they’ve had enough.
Redirecting your puppy’s attention is a key way of avoiding lot so cross words, so having interesting toys and chews to play with in appropriate places around the house is essential.
Limit the amount of free time puppy has with your older pets until they have learned some self-control around them – for example it is hard to stop a dog from chasing a cat who has learned that it’s an enjoyable activity. However if they learn to eat close by a family cat, and do short training session when the cat is in the room then they’ll never learn what fun that might be.
Your puppy is likely to want to spend time with older dogs in the household as they already speak the same language. It is important to spend time individually with your dogs so that the bond develops between the two of you and not with each other.
Whilst initially things like recall can be much easier when a puppy likes to run alongside an adult dog (call the adult dog and you get puppy too!), when that puppy grows a bit older and ignores you when in the company of your adult dog it might become a bit frustrating