“Gosh, I thought my dog would love to have a new boyfriend, but he’s so mean to the new little pup!”
I hear this from shocked owners all the time. What surprises me, however, is not the behavior of the resident dog. It is the fact that the people in question had the expectation of instant bliss.
Sure, that can happen sometimes – especially if the current dog is very young and absolutely lives for play dates with his neighborhood friends. Then the arrival of a new puppy could trigger one of those “You complete me!” Moments worthy of TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.
But this make-it-instant scenario shouldn’t be a dog owner’s assumption. To understand why, let’s try a little thought experiment: How would you feel if your parents decided you needed a new best friend? And then …
• Brought a stranger home to live with you 24/7.
• By the way, it turns out that her idea of a great friend is a toddler to you! What the hell?! This is not a game, it is babysitting. And it’s exhausting and boring at the same time.
• Also, the best parts of your day are gone because your parents are so intrigued by the new child.
• Also, apparently, you should let the strange toddler climb over you until you are injured and let him take your belongings until they are ruined.
• The heartbreaking final straw: If you accept the babysitting situation and actually try to teach the toddler good manners, your parents will be mad at you all the time, saying, “Don’t be mean!”
See? We shouldn’t be surprised if our dog isn’t right away excited with the new puppy.
Smooth the way
Typically, on the day a new puppy is brought home, local dogs range from slightly unsure to definitely not for it. Don’t worry yet! There will likely be incremental progress every day. While there are some sad cases where an adult dog may not be able to accept a puppy even if you do everything right, in My experience in the third week has leveled off well for most of the time.
This is not to say that I agree with the advice commonly given to people whose older dog doesn’t like the new pup that “just let them work it out”. Pooh. If there are half a dozen simple things we can do to smooth the start of that hoped-for friendship, why on earth should we subject our two supposedly beloved dogs to the fear, sadness, and frustration of working them out ourselves?
This can help make the transition easier for your older dog, create a safer, more developmentally positive scenario for your pup, and increase the chances of the two becoming real friends very quickly.
1. Manage the environment so that contact with puppies is always optional. An older dog should never be forced hanging out with a puppy. Use gates, boxes, benches, and anything else to create a situation where your older dog can escape at any time and go to another location in the house for a peaceful “adult swim” scenario.
Puppies can be rude. For your dog, playing with a puppy is not the same as playing with a fun adult dog. While some dogs are incredibly tolerant of all the mouthing and jumping – and even seem to enjoy the babysitting job – others are understandably appalled at first. If you catch your adult dog with the puppy, you are asking too much. Your dog will be stressed and sad, and your puppy may be injured.
Note that some of the most puppy-friendly adult dogs for new puppies can be a bit overwhelming, so the “no forcing” advice goes both ways. Make sure that a small puppy has some easy retreat – perhaps under couches and chairs – to help the puppy Likewise has the option of getting on or off depending on the comfort level. Let both of you choose all of this at their own pace. (Note that it may not be your preferred pace!)
2. Make your adult dog growl. I am shocked when I hear people instruct their older dog, “Shade, be nice!” in a threatening tone. shadow is being nice by agreeing to hang out with this toddler! The least you can do is give him the tools he needs to teach the pup some important lessons.
The quickest way to convince an older dog that this puppy is really a terrible turn is to associate the puppy’s presence with the feeling that he is constantly in trouble: “Whenever I interact with this puppy, I will Mama angry with me. “
If you’ve caught your older dog with ill-advised puppy, the resulting growls and cracks can actually be dangerous. However, if you’ve made the interaction optional, you’ll know that Shadow actually did it elected be with the puppy. In this case, his growl and that scary-looking little growl are part of a healthy boundary. It may look worrying to you, but Shadow’s good manners will make the pup safer with other dogs in the long run.
So here’s what to say instead of threatening your dog, “Be nice!” when you hear him growl. How about saying, “Nice job, Shadow! Thank you very much. “When your adult dog can feel your support, he will be even more solid with this pup.
3. Don’t change your dog’s best things. When people adopt a new puppy (or welcome a new baby into the home) they know it will be a week or two before they are completely disturbed. You are sure that normalcy will return at some point.
Do you know who doesn’t know? The house dog. The best thing you can do is identify the three most important things your dog has in life and make sure they are not bothered by the intruder’s arrival. Is it the morning walk with dad? Get the after-work game with mom? The daily game date with Rover across the street? Whatever your dog’s favorite, leave the cornerstones of a happy life in place when the puppy arrives. If the pup is paired with Shadow’s loss of his favorite things, how will he feel about the pup? If you give your dog stability, he can do his best with the new pup.
4. Exhaust your puppy elsewhere. Most of the time, the new pup’s favorite dog is the house dog. As flattering as it may look, it is very difficult to be the constant recipient of this much enthusiastically reproduced physical love all day.
Do your dog a favor and make other friends that your puppy can love. Ideally, there is another pup on the street, and a few times a week you can take all those sharp teeth and wild jumping and combine it with a like-minded buddy. If you’ve planned ahead, you may already have reserved space in the puppy kindergarten classes or puppy social events held by your local force-free trainer. Do you know what will happen next You can bring home a very cool puppy who may suddenly find your older dog a nice kid.
5. Two dogs = duck! Fish! Feta! Finally, start by giving your dog fun new experiences that only happen around the puppy. Find a reward you’ve never given your dog before. Maybe it’s those dried fish cubes in the pet store. Maybe it’s the feta cheese in your fridge. Whatever it is, bring it out a few times a day and only give it to both dogs when they’re together. Voilà! Even if your dog isn’t really enjoying the puppy’s company just yet, at least here’s a reason to want to be around the toddler every now and then.
TWO IS A MAGIC NUMBER
Most of the time, two dogs are really more fun than one. People who have lived on a dog friendship experience so much mutual joy that it is difficult for them to imagine having a dog at a time. The thing is, we humans tend to jump ahead. We get this pup and immediately picture the endgame – and forget to focus on how we get there. As a result, our trusted old friend and brand new friend are going through a rocky first stage. The whole house is stressed.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Just a little empathy combined with a solid initial plan can create a beautifully quiet driveway to that dream friendship.