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The prospect of an addition to your family in the form a new pup is always exciting. However, if you already have a resident dog, you may have to make some effort to familiarize the two dogs with each other.
Once you have decided to adopt another dog, it is time to begin thinking up strategies to help them co-exist. Here are some effective ways to introduce a top dog to a new pup.
The best way to begin is to find a neutral ground to introduce the older dog to the new puppy. This can be a neighbor’s yard or a community park. A neutral area will prevent the senior dog from feeling threatened, fearful or protective of his turf.
Keep your resident dog on a leash and ask someone else hold the new puppy on a leash. Let them meet and sniff each other. Do not hold them tightly so that they may not feel restricted.
Make the introduction quick and stay calm. Remember that your dog will judge your emotions and reactions to understand how he should respond to a situation.
Another tactic is to let the two dogs roam unleashed, but with a fence separating them. This can be a chain-link fence or a tennis that allows them to see and sniff each other.
A new pup is likely to be considerably smaller in size as compared to an older dog. Even if your top dog is not aggressive, he may get over excited and harm the new puppy, making the fence a necessary precaution for their first interaction. Let them meet this way for a couple of times before they can interact unleashed.
Dogs have a sharp sense of smell, which is why sniffing is the best way for them to get to know a new dog. You can scent swapping as a technique both before and after you get the new dog.
Once you have booked your new puppy, ask the owner or shelter manager for a piece of fabric that has been used to rub the pup. Keep it near your top dog so that he can sniff it to get familiar with the scent of his new companion.
Keep your dogs separated but close enough to detect each other’s scents. Try keeping one’s items in the other’s area to get them used to each other’s presence.
You can keep the new puppy inside a crate so that the two dog s can see, hear and sniff each other without interacting physically. Alternatively, you can use a baby gate to separate their areas.
Keeping your new pet in a crate will also help potty train the pup. Having the puppy restricted to a crate will help make the older dog feel more secure as he will continue to feel in control of his territory.
Take the two dogs out for a walk and while you keep them parallel to each other. It is best to have a different person walking each dog to keep the two at a safe distance.
Make sure the leashes of the dogs are kept relatively loose so that they have space to move around and do not feel too tensed. In the beginning, keep the two out of the nose-sniffing range and hold a treat or toy to keep their attention towards the human walking them. After 5-10 minutes, allow a head-to-head meeting.
After you introduce a top dog to a new pup, closely monitor the body language of the two dogs to prevent any untoward incident. Make sure you keep the senior dog in his regular routine and establish a healthy routine for the new puppy.
Keep a check on the body language of the two pets to judge how they are reacting to each other. A senior dog’s body language may not register to a young new puppy. For instance, the pup may want to play even if the resident dog’s body language indicates apprehension.
Separate the two dogs immediately if your senior dog exhibits aggression, such as raised fur on the back/neck, growling, snarling, hunched back or baring teeth.
Make sure you have an escape route available for the both the senior dog and the new puppy. Teach your resident dog to move away if you see him getting perturbed by the new puppy.
You can start this training even before you bring in the new dog. Teach your dog to run to his crate when you exclaim “kennel”. Give him a treat there to make him stay there and close the door. When your dog would learn that rushing to his crate would mean a treat and freedom from an annoying puppy, he will soon begin self-crating.
Puppies are undoubtedly high maintenance, but don’t let the new addition to your family make you neglect your older dog. Do not change the senior dog’s routine and maintain the same schedule for his walks and playtime.
Make sure you prioritize the older dog in routine activities and attend to the pup after him. For example, greet the top dog first, keep his food bowl first, put on his leash first, etc.
When your older dog displays good behavior with the younger pup, reinforce it by giving him treats. Even if he simply ignores the pup instead of snarling at him, toss him a treat for tolerating the puppy.
Next, if the puppy lies down beside your top dog and he does not react by growling or snarling, he deserves a reward again. This creates a behavior pattern where your senior dog is encouraged to have a happy association with the puppy.
Make sure you closely monitor their behavior in the early stages to familiarize the two dogs with each other and prevent any fights from breaking out. Using the right methods to introduce a top dog to a new pup, you will soon observe healthy interaction between them.
by Maria A Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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