Some dog owners are under the impression that their older dog will roll out the red carpet for a new puppy and welcome him with open arms. Needless to say, they become rather disappointed when things do not go as planned. It is typical for an older dog to be cautious of a new arrival. You may know that the new puppy is completely harmless, but your older dog is not so quick to be trusting. Expect some growling and snapping. While the situation may look grave, more often than not the older dog is just trying to stand their ground. They really have no interest in hurting the puppy.
Give Your Puppy Time to Learn the Ropes
Puppies have yet to learn the rules. Thus far, they have spent all of their time with their littermates and their mother. They have not fully learned how dogs interact with each other. As far as they’re concerned, the world is their playground. It is perfectly acceptable for a puppy to pounce on another puppy’s head. In the adult dog world, however, this is a big “no-no.”
The adult dog in your home will play the role of teacher for your youngster and will help to train your puppy. It may take a few weeks or even longer for your new arrival to learn which behaviors are okay and which ones are inappropriate and for your older dog to learn to tolerate the pup.
Set up a Successful Meeting
In order to avoid as much conflict as possible, take the time to prepare for your puppy’s new arrival. Use the following tips to create a successful meeting:
· Teach your older dog to sit and stay, and keep him under verbal control in the early stages of their interaction.
· Supervision is key. Always keep an eye on your puppy and the older dog. If the puppy’s behavior is becoming too much of a nuisance, your older dog needs to be able to rely on you to give them a break. It is especially important to supervise during feeding time as puppies have a tendency to eat out of any bowl they choose. Your older dog may tolerate it for some time, but may eventually snap.
· Give your older dog and the new puppy a safe haven. Both dogs need to have a place to run to when they are feeling stressed or fearful. Kennels and crates work well as safe havens for dogs.
· Keep the two separated from time to time. Give the two dogs some quiet time away from each other by placing one or the other inside of a crate or behind a gate. These breaks allow the older dog to enjoy some peace and quiet.
· Do not be so quick to punish. There is a good chance your older dog will growl at your puppy. Keep in mind that this is how dogs communicate with one another. Puppies are not yet fully competent at the subtleties of dog communication. Growling can help your puppy to learn proper dog manners.
· Use positive reinforcement. Whenever your puppy and adult dog behave in a positive way, reward their behavior with a tasty treat. This will encourage good behavior and help them both to learn to live harmoniously together.
Keep an Eye Out for Warning Signs
Always be prepared for the possibility that your older dog just does not like your new pup. Keep a close eye on the body language of both dogs to prevent the situation from escalating out of control. If the puppy squeals and your older dog is refusing to let up, separate the two immediately.
If all goes well, the two will begin to get along. Your puppy will learn how to behave properly and eventually improve their communication skills. Your older dog will also grow accustomed to having the puppy around and will come to appreciate their new playmate.
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