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Introducing a Puppy

Dogs fighting over a bone

Cyndi writes:   I currently have a 3 year old neutered male Golden Retriever. I am planning on purchasing another Golden puppy. Does anyone have tips for introducing a new puppy? My golden has been the center of attention for three years. I do not want him to resent the new puppy. I have never owned two dogs before, so I am hoping that someone who has done this before can provide some helpful hints. Thanks in advance

Hi Cyndi,

Congratulations on owning my favorite dog breed. I absolutely love Golden Retrievers. Some of the things we like so much about puppies are their cuddling, innocence and playfulness. However, adult dogs may lack the unbridled enthusiasm of a puppy and therein lays a problem.

Well-socialized adult dogs with good temperaments, like Golden Retrievers, may shrug off a puppy's energy supply with a growl or snarl. These behaviors are normal and should be allowed. Adult dogs that aren't well-socialized, or that have a history of aggression towards other dogs, may attempt to set limits on the puppy's playfulness with more aggressive behavior, such as biting.

This is why a puppy should not be left alone with an adult dog until you're confident the puppy won't be terrorized. The most common mistake owners make is to leave a new puppy alone with the established pet or pets. Older dogs should never be allowed to harass or terrorize a pup and vice versa! Be sure to give the adult dog some quiet time away from the puppy and definitely give him, lots of individual attention by taking him with you on errands and long walks. This special time will pay off in the long run.

You can begin your preparation long before you bring the puppy home. For example, and if possible, visit the puppy's breeder and take a cloth. Rub the new puppy with it then bring it home and put it somewhere that your adult dog will frequent and be able to smell.


You might think about taking your dog to meet its new little buddy while it is still quite young, away from both dogs' home territories. If possible, a week or so before the new puppy comes home, take your older dog to visit the new puppy. To prevent jealousy, when the two first greet, the puppy can be held by the breeder. Before you bring the puppy home, have them meet again at a park or other neutral location.

Prepare the puppy's own personal space in your home - a crate and exercise pen - where he can escape and adjust to his new lifestyle and family. Give him a place to eat in peace, and a place where he can enjoy his toys safely. Puppies are used to sharing food with their litter mates but an older dog may not appreciate this. Feed the dogs with separate bowls in separate areas and have a toy or toys on hand just for the new puppy.

If your puppy is being crate trained you can put him back in the crate and continue to take him out for short intervals to spend time with your other dog. Make sure the amount of time you let them spend together is increased gradually. A good rule of thumb in introducing a puppy to an older dog is to give them a month to peacefully co-exist.

I would be surprised if you have any problems but just in case, contact a professional animal behaviorist immediately if things run smoothly. Dogs can be severely injured in fights, and the longer the problem continues, the harder it can be to resolve. Punishment won't work, and could make things worse. Fortunately, most conflicts between dogs in the same family can be resolved with professional guidance.

Puppy brings a bone to a dog

Sam writes:  Hello, I really do hope you respond as your site has helped so far with introducing a new puppy to my 3 year old Maltese. My Maltese Lola has always been the center of attention and was not upset yesterday when we brought a new puppy home, moreso confused and a little jealous. At one point they did play for a bit, but otherwise she just stares at the pup in her pen. Today my Lola is very very sad and upset and will not eat. We've never seen her so sad and really do need some help in adjusting her. Please do advise and let us know this is possible, we would be heartbroken to give up our new puppy but really do not want Lola to be so depressed - we're giving her plenty of individual time and special things but she's very territorial when it comes to my mother and does not seem ready to share the limelight.

Thank you,
Sam

Hi, Sam

When new puppies are present in the house, the dog simply wants the same love and attention you give to your new puppy. If there is a new puppy in the house, dogs feel replaced, neglected or usurped from their order of rank. In addition, they may actually get upset by new sounds, rearrangements and smells. Rarely does a dog behaves in a dangerous manner when he is jealous.

When a dog behaves in a jealous manner reassure him with added attention and espression of affection. This should be done when the object of the dog's competition is present. When the new puppy is absent, ignore your dog. Your dog will soon learn to associate the presence of the new puppy with increased attention from you.

Feed your resident dog and the new puppy together, but make sure there is no eye contact between them. Feed the older dog as often as the new puppy, without increasing the total quantity of his food.

Hope it will help.

 





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