How To Socialize A Puppy With Your Senior Dog

Welcoming a new puppy into your life can be quite a fantastic experience, especially if you adore dogs as much as your own family. However, getting a new puppy can come with a few challenges. For example, if you already have older dogs in your household, you might be wondering how you can introduce them to each other. Young, wide-eyed dogs have zero socializing skills, making it difficult for them to understand how they should relate with other dogs around them. Older dogs, on one hand, tend to be territorial and protective over his/her belongings.

So, how can you build a harmonious relationship between your newly rehomed puppy and your senior dog? Check out the basic techniques you can use as you read on.

Making the necessary preparations before your puppy’s arrival

Before taking your puppy home, it’s absolutely crucial to make a few adjustments to prevent unwanted aggression. For example, you should consider putting up a fence. It will help you create a separate place where your pup and dogs can stay while they get used to each other’s company. You should also temporarily put away your older dog’s favorite toys to prevent him/her from being territorial.

Besides adding new features to your home, it’s also helpful to have your puppy checked before introducing them to the rest of your dogs. It will prevent introducing diseases or other transferable health problems to other dogs. Check if your puppy received vaccines for common dog diseases such as:

  • Rabies
  • Adenovirus
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Canine distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Bordetella

Choosing a neutral space for the introduction

It’s good practice to do the introductions in a neutral space in the house. This way, you can prevent your older dogs from turning aggressive on the younger pup. You should also consider using a leash to guide your older canine buddies when meeting the new member of the pack. Note that you shouldn’t tug on the leash too much when they start sniffing out the little one, so they don’t feel restricted. More importantly, you should remain calm during the entire process.

Keeping up with your dogs for the first few weeks

Some dogs take time to get used to new canine family members, so you should be extra patient throughout the journey. Pay close attention to the behaviors of your dogs and the puppy. It will help if you look out for signs of aggression among your older dogs, such as:

  • Growling
  • Snarling
  • Hunched back
  • Raised fur, especially around the neck and back
  • Prolonged staring at the smaller dog

If you spot any of these signs, it’s best to separate them as soon as you can. Also, you should help your younger dog to learn how to respect the elders. You can do this by teaching basic commands like sit, stay, down, and come. Exercising with your puppy can also help tire him/her out, so they don’t end up being too playful around the others. You can also use other forms of distractions, such as toys.

Giving your dogs equal time and attention

Taking care of puppies can eat up a lot of your time. However, this shouldn’t force you to spend less time bonding with your older canine babies. As much as possible, you should show them equal love and affection. By doing so, your older dogs won’t feel jealous or overly protective. It will also help you create a more harmonious bond between every member of the pack. Ideally, you should spend time with them separately until they get used to each other’s presence.

Giving them their own toys and crates

Some dogs can be quite possessive, causing them to act highly aggressive when you introduce someone new, including an innocent puppy. So, to ensure that they can get along well, you shouldn’t push them to share things such as feeding and drinking bowls, crates, and toys. It’s best to have dedicated items for each of your dogs. You may also find it helpful to establish a routine for your dogs, to help them cope better with the new changes.

Pairing your puppy with one of the youngest dogs in the pack

Once your puppy learns some of the basic commands, you can start pairing him/her with one of your dogs. Ideally, you should pick the youngest one from the group. This would help you strengthen your puppy’s socialization skills. It will also help your puppy pick up new skills from his/her older counterpart.

Doing parallel walks

Parallel walks help you introduce your dogs to each other without forcing them to have direct interaction. It also doubles as a great bonding activity you can do with the rest of your family members during the weekend. The idea is to walk the dogs side by side and offer them rewards if they behave properly and interact positively with each other. Allow them to sniff each other and have brief encounters. Do this until you feel that they’re well-adapted to the new situation.

Training your new puppy to stop biting

If your puppy attempts to bite other dogs, this could result in conflicts, especially if the other dog isn’t in the mood to play. Sometimes, it’s OK to let them learn on their own. However, if it results in the severe aggression of the other, you should intervene fast. One approach you can use to correct the problem is by training your puppy to stop biting or chewing. You can also use cues like clapping or calling out your puppy’s name loudly to discourage the behavior.

Enrolling your pup in puppy training

To help your puppy learn the essential doggie skills, you can enroll him/her in puppy training classes here at Delaware K9 Academy. Some of the things your puppy can discover in the program include:

  • Socialization
  • Basic obedience
  • Environmental exposure

It may be a bit challenging to introduce your pup to the rest of your fur babies, but with the tips listed above, you should be able to do well.

Interested in setting up your puppy for life with the proper training? Enroll your newly rehomed pup in a training class at Delaware K9 today. Feel free to contact us at (302) 409-0654 or through our web contact form.