New Puppy Introductions

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New Puppy Introductions

by Chris Glatte

Introducing a new puppy to an already established household can be tricky. Introducing a puppy to the kids and other adults of the house is usually not difficult. However introductions to other pets, particularly other dogs can be problematic.

First I?ll talk about introducing a new puppy to the other people in your household. If you have young children you need to tell them what is and is not acceptable behavior. For example letting the puppy jump up on them in greeting is not okay. This will teach the puppy a terrible habit.

Obviously you don?t want the kids pulling on the pup?s ears or tail. This is a favorite pastime for kids in the 1 thru 5 age group. More than likely the kids will be nipped and that is no way to start a relationship.

Children should also be told that the puppy might not want to play with them when they first arrive in their new home. The new puppy will be anxious and curious and will need some time to get to know the new environment. One of my new puppies spent the entire first two days hiding beneath one of our living room chairs. When they?re ready they?ll come out and socialize.

Kids also need to know that when the puppy is in their crate it?s hands off. Give the new puppy his space let him sleep in peace. In fact it should be known by all people in the household not to disturb the sleeping puppy unless it?s absolutely necessary. Puppies play hard and need lots of sleep to remain healthy and happy.

Introducing a new puppy to an already established family dog is a bit trickier than human introductions. It isn?t a difficult task but it can go terribly awry unless you understand a few things about how dogs interact with one another.

Dogs are pack animals, and even dogs that live with no other pets fall back on their pack instincts when dealing with other dogs. Of course in the wild, dog packs are introduced to new puppies continuously as the females have litters.

Because of this pack mentality letting nature run it?s course is the best way to introduce a new puppy. In other words, you shouldn?t interfere too much if at all when the older, established dog acts aggressively towards the puppy.

Most likely the puppy will cower with its tail between it?s legs trying to look as small and pathetic as possible. He may lick the older dogs chin and even roll onto his back exposing his belly. The puppy may even dribble some urine in total submission.

The older dog will most likely tower over the puppy, bare it?s teeth and may even growl while the puppy cowers.

Important: This scenario assumes the older dog is properly socialized to other dogs. If this is not the case, careful attention should be given to the amount of aggression the older dog is conveying, particularly if it attempts to bite the pup. A bite is not unusual if the pup is being unruly, but an unsocialized dog won?t know the proper pressure to use in it?s bite and may hurt the puppy.

If, however you have a well-socialized dog the last thing you want to do is interfere in the first meeting. The biggest mistake you can commit is scolding the older dog when it growls or shows its teeth. The whole purpose of the aggression is to show the puppy that the older dog is in command. They are alpha over the puppy. By scolding the dog, and coddling the puppy you are sending a message that the puppy is alpha. This is unacceptable to both the puppy and the older dog.

Most likely the puppy will be terrified of the older dog, because the alpha dog will be constantly trying to establish the pecking order. As you foil each attempt with your intervention the situation will become more and more dangerous. Eventually the dogs won?t be able to be in the same room together.

The following is a list of things to do and not to do when you introduce a new puppy to an older dog:

  • Don?t ignore the older dog and only lavish love and praise on the new puppy
  • Always defer to the older dog?if your giving out treats, give the older dog the treat first. The same goes for feeding?always feed the older dog first. Let the older dog pass through doorways before the puppy. In short give the established dog privilege and priority over the new puppy.
  • Don?t get in the way of the older dog?s pecking order lessons. In other words, don?t freak out if your dog acts aggressive towards the puppy; let him establish himself as the puppies? superior.

If you allow Mother Nature to take its course, introducing a new puppy into your household shouldn?t be a huge ordeal. It only becomes difficult when we try to step in and alter the way things are supposed to happen. Keep your nose out of it and you should have two very happy and socialized dogs.

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