How to Introduce a Puppy to an Older Dog: 6 Impawtant Tips

Dogs, like kids, are unpredictable.

It is impossible to know how one dog will react to another. And if it’s your grown-up pet meeting a new pup, expect some sparks to fly.

While it’s OK to be anxious about it, it is even more important to learn how to introduce a puppy to an older dog the right way.

The Challenge

One of the many challenges of introducing puppy to older dog is the nature of the seniors. Elderly dogs are known to be stubborn. Just like the older human generation, such dogs are set in their ways. It’s difficult to make them do things that are out of their normal routine.

Throw a puppy buzzing with energy and exuberance at them and it will certainly disrupt the senior’s everyday life.

How to introduce a new puppy to an older dog without angering your pet that has already marked its territory? Take a cue from the following points.

1. Ensure Both of Your Dogs Are Vaccinated

Your older dog must have already completed its vaccination schedule. To ensure its health and safety, make sure your puppy has also completed its vaccinations.

When can puppies be around other dogs? When they have completed their vaccinations!

The most important vaccines are for adenovirus or canine hepatitis, distemper, and parvovirus. The rabies vaccine is usually given when your dog is at least 16 weeks old, followed by another shot at one, and one more at four.

Both dogs must have a checkup with the veterinarian, separately, before the meeting.

2. Understand Your Dogs’ Temperament

Before mixing dogs at home, you must do your research. If the dogs are of different breeds, you must understand their temperaments will vary. If the older dog is of a bigger breed, it may bully the smaller puppy. It’s vital that you know how to deal with the situation. You have to be careful with how to introduce dogs because you don’t want to scare the senior. Diet can also play a big part in how your dog will behave, so making sure they’re eating the right food for them is important. Dr Marty’s Pets is a good example of a dog food company that make dog food formulated to give your dog the balanced nutrition they need. 

Planning to bring a puppy home? Research breeds that will easily get along with the breed you currently have at home. Look up all the information you need on The Upper Pawside, a blog dedicated to all things dog. And if the pup wasn’t planned, the blog will help you do your homework to ensure a happy home where both dogs can thrive! Ensuring they have the right surroundings is really important too –  a safe place to sleep, such as on a boutique dog bed, can make them feel secure and happy in their new home. 


“Focus your attention on your older dog before greeting your younger dog: feed your older dog first; put the leash on your older dog first… These small gestures can make a huge difference in the attitude of your older dog.”

– Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer, American Kennel Club

3. First Meeting Must Be in a Neutral Space

The best way to introduce dogs is within neutral territory. The older dog believes that your home is its territory. While that is true, it may give the older dog a reason to be territorial.

Choose a space that does not belong to either of the dogs.

It doesn’t have to be far from home, even your backyard will do. But steer clear of a place like a park where there might be other dogs that could interrupt the first meeting.

4. Leash and Walk the Dogs

Put a leash on both dogs. One person should walk one dog to ensure they will not come together to fight. Walk the dogs at a respectable distance—not too close and not too far: just enough so that they won’t smell each other.

Dogs have a powerful sense of smell and it allows them to gauge other animals. One of the best ways to learn how to introduce a puppy to an older dog is to allow them to smell and assess each other.


You might be wondering: How to get dogs to get along? That’s a matter of probability.

Some will get along quickly while others take time. You must give them time to get used to each other’s presence. When they are already friendly with each other, then you can drop the leashes and allow them to interact.

5. Take Them Home

Now that you’re done with the step on how to introduce new puppy to dog, it’s time to take them home. The work is not yet done but at least the hard part is over.

While they may have gotten along during their walk, you have to remember that the older dog considers the house its territory. You have to be observant. If you feel like the two are starting to be aggressive toward each other, you need to separate them immediately.

Part of learning how to introduce a new puppy to your dog is knowing they will need separate corners, temporarily at least. Allow the older dog to have its usual space and have a different area for your pup.

6. Treat Them As Individuals

Now that you have ticked the box for how to introduce two dogs, you must concentrate on treating them as separate entities. Whether your dog is a Yorkshire Terrier or from the same canine family as German Shorthaired Pointers, they’ll have their own, unique personality.

Allow your older dog to have its bed, food dish, and toys without forcing it to share with the puppy. The puppy must also have its own sleeping mattress, dish, and toys. This is about setting boundaries.

Since it’s the senior dog’s routine that has been disrupted, you must give it a bit more attention than normal. In fact, make your older dog feel like it’s the priority, while also being conscious not to neglect the little one.


How to Introduce Dogs to Each Other Without Fuss

It may be difficult, but it is doable.

If you want to make it work, then you have to understand the basics of how to introduce a puppy to an older dog.

It’s mostly about understanding a dog’s behavior, based on breed and age. A senior dog will have its quirks while the puppy is still adaptable. When their personalities clash and it’s too much for you to handle, call a professional to help you out.


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