Bringing a new puppy home to join an existing family of dogs can be an exciting and happy event, if done correctly. Just like people, dogs all have individual personalities and temperaments, and the way dogs get along with one another will be based on their existing living environment circumstances and their personalities. You can make the transition of a new puppy into a pack a pleasant one for everyone by taking a few simple steps.
Ensure Adequate Resources
All dogs in a family need adequate time, attention and space in order to thrive, both individually and as a pack. Consider the logistics of your living environment to ensure you can adequately support the addition of a new puppy in your household. This involves having enough time available to train the new puppy, both by himself and with other pack members.
Consider the Gender Choice
Different genders of canines react differently to newcomers, based on the age and size of the new pup. For example, adult male dogs are more likely to readily accept the addition of a new female pup, whereas a female adult may initially see the addition of a female puppy as a rival. Likewise, adult male dogs may see the addition of a male pup as a rival, though males are much more likely to quickly establish a dominant hierarchy with a male newcomer.
Even the kindest, most gentle large adult dogs can inadvertently hurt a small stature dog or puppy. Carefully monitor early interaction between large breed dogs and puppies to ensure against injury and fighting. Puppies are full of energy and often want to engage their adult dog companions in play. While mature dogs will tolerate a certain amount of play, and be willing to give gentle reminders when they have had enough, younger adults or dogs with aggressive tendencies may not have the patience for exuberant puppy activities. Limit and monitor early interaction and give your older dogs time and space away from the puppy to recharge.
Introduce on Neutral Ground
When adding a new pup to the pack, introduce the dogs in neutral territory. This may be at an unfamiliar park or in a portion of your yard your resident dogs don't typically use. Initial introductions should be short and should include lots of attention from you, as well as positive reinforcement through treats. If dogs show aggression during this initial meeting, keep them kenneled separately until such a time they can get along amicably. For best results, introduce adult dogs to a puppy one at a time to ensure resident dogs don't gang up on the newcomer.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.