How Can You Prepare Your Dog for a New Puppy?
You will hear many differing opinions on how to properly bring a new puppy into a home that is already claimed by a dog. Can owners help prepare a current furbaby for a new four-legged sibling? And, if so, what is the best plan of action?
Know Your Furbaby
Does your dog like other dogs? How does it react differently to specific sizes/breeds/ages? Knowing your dog’s temperament will truly help you plan your transition and establish a strong relationship between the animals.
Also understand, some family dogs are not and never will be welcoming to another furbaby. Most can be worked with, but if yours is simply not a dog-loving dog right now, don’t be heartbroken, you can try again in the future!
If your current furbaby is not well-trained, now is the time. There need to be training words such as, “Off,” “Place,” “Outside,” and “Home” already in place and understood by the dog prior to bringing a new puppy home. You can outsource the training with a 2-week bootcamp, bring in a private trainer, or simply review previous training methods to ensure your loved first pup will have the comfort and support to handle your cues as you work with the newest furbaby.
Create a ‘safe space’ for your current dog to escape to throughout the days until the pack mentality kicks in. This can be a dog bed, crate, or even your bed. This area needs to be off-limits to the puppy.
Tensions may escalate quickly, even when you think they won’t. Animals are very territorial, and the sweetest dog may not react in the most gentle of ways. Jealousy exists and should be expected, but you can do your damnedest to try for a gentle introduction. You know your current dog; would an on-leash intro be best, or a simple walk the puppy through the front door work? Should you introduce the puppy’s blanket and take a few days of outside ‘mingling’ before bringing the puppy into the house?
Let the Alpha Shine
There will be the issue of Alpha Dog that will naturally occur. Your current dog will need to establish this role and it may not be the quietest or easiest thing to watch. There will be necessary barking, butt-sniffing, and food-stealing. There will be a bit of growling (growling is actually good!) and excessive scared peeing.
Withing the first month, though, each dog will know their place. (And you will be done cleaning the pee.)
Watch the 14-21 Day Pack Form
It takes 14-21 days for your first dog to realize the puppy is staying. By the end of three weeks it should (hopefully) accept the new normal and soon after, start loving the pup!
How You Can Help
- Walk both dogs together
- Intervene when puppy energy is too high
- Separate food and water bowls
- Show preference to your first dog (and give it treats first)
- Separate ‘safe spaces’
- Get the puppy in training