Kybra Kennels Blog


4 Tips for Introducing a Puppy to an Older Dog


Once you have your first pet, the others just seem to start rolling in without any forewarning or expectation. A little tail wag in the pet store window or a drenched pile of fur on your doorstep in the middle of a storm might be all it takes to take back your firm declaration of "no more animals". Dogs are territorial pack animals that can be reluctant to accepting new furry members of the family even if they're tiny, so we have a few tips ready for introducing a puppy to an older dog.


1. Tire Them Out First
The energy of puppies can annoy an adult dog as easily as the overwhelming activity of a toddler can drive a parent crazy. Play with the new puppy until they seem ready for a nap. With all of their energy exerted, introducing a puppy to an older dog will be much easier, as they will be far less likely to find ways to aggravate the adult dog.


2. Supervise Everything
Until you become certain that the adult and puppy are familiarized, don't leave them alone. It's unlikely that the adult will do more than growl and chase away the puppy, but unsupervised time gives them both a chance to develop poor habits when interacting with each other. If the puppy begins to make high-pitched squeals and the older dogs don't cease their aggression, separate them immediately.


3. Don't Be Afraid of a Little Conflict
Dogs have a social system that is learned through interacting with other dogs, much like humans and other mammals. A puppy, especially a young one who hasn't spent time with dogs other than his family, may not be fully aware that little things like biting on the big dog's ear might be taken poorly. If your older animals give the puppy a growl or a bark, don't be frightened or call off the meeting; this is the way in which older dogs instruct the pup on how to behave around others. Only step in if the conflict starts escalating.


4. Reinforce the Older Dogs Step by Step: Tolerate, Accept, Love
Your first goal should be to simply have the older dog tolerate the presence of the puppy. They may give you forlorn looks or growl under their breath, but reinforce the toleration like you would any other positive behavior. After they have started to tolerate the pup, you can move onto acceptance. Reward the adult whenever the puppy is around, and a quick correlation between the new addition and extra treats will have them wagging their tail whenever they see their new friend.


The final step is to have the animals play together and relax together. You can't force them to be friends any more than you can two humans, but present them with the opportunities they need to do so. One idea is to have a rope with three ends to use in a tug-of-war between you and the pair of dogs; let them win, and reward them both for the achievement.


Remember that your older dog may be feel threatened by the attention you give to the new puppy, and make sure you give both dogs equal attention. Introducing a puppy to an older dog can seem like a challenge, but before you know it they will be inseparable. Contact us to learn about our upcoming liters and to place a deposit on your new puppy.

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