Tips for Introducing a New Puppy to Older Dogs


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Introducing a new puppy to older dogs can be a bit tricky. Follow these tips for a successful integration of new puppies into your dog pack.

introducing a new puppy to older dogs

Tips for Introducing a New Puppy to Older Dogs

In May, we added a new Great Pyrenees puppy, Harry, to our family. You may have seen pictures of him on Instagram. Before Dan and I had kids, we raised puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Meet Harry the Great Pyr puppy

We had a new puppy coming in every year and we also had our existing, older pet dog, Montana. We have lots of experience introducing puppies to older dogs, so when we got Harry, I wasn’t really worried. However, we have learned tried and true tips that make the introduction process a lot easier.

Introduce on neutral territory

Let your new puppy and older dog sniff each other through the fence when first introducing them to each other

Depending on your current dog’s behavior, it might be a good idea to introduce your new puppy to your older dog on neutral territory like a neighbor’s house or a park. This is a good idea because you current dog might be possessive of her things aka your house. Bringing both dogs to a neutral territory for the first time can help the older dogs feel better about, and be more accepting toward, the new puppy.

Let them sniff each other through a fence.

Ideally, the dog and puppy would be off leash during their introduction as dogs are really good at picking up on human emotion, even through the leash. Your dog will pick up any tension you may have over the meeting, even if you don’t know that you’re anxious. Watch their body language and look for signs of aggression (postured bodies, hackles, tails straight up, barred teeth, snarling). If that happens, separate the dogs and try again another time.

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Give both dogs equal attention.

Sibling rivalry is not just for children! Dogs can feel jealous too, so try to give equal attention to both dogs to keep them both happy. It can be harder than you think when you’re so excited about a cute, fuzzy new puppy. But don’t forget about your other dogs. Love on them too. Maybe even more than you normally would.

Prepare the puppy a sleeping area not used by the current dog.

It’s just not nice to give your new puppy your other pet’s things. So make sure you let your other pets keep whatever sleeping habits they already have and make a new routine for the new puppy. You’ll probably want to crate the puppy in the beginning so just set that crate up in an area that your current dogs do not use.

feed dogs separately

Feed them separately

Dogs can be quite possessive over food, so it’s a good idea to separate them at first during feeding time. Feeding them separately just eliminates any potential problems. It’s also possible that your puppy will eat a different food than your current dog, so feeding them separately is another way to make sure they both eat the right food.

tips for introducing a new puppy

Finally, be patient

They may not like each other right away, but if you work with them, chances are good that they’ll come around and be buddies, if you can be patient. It’s hard to go slowly when you’re excited to have a new puppy, but the rewards will be great if you can. Take your time, work them up to each other slowly, and before you know it, they’ll be great pals.

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Tips for Introducing a New Puppy to Older Dogs

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. My dogs bonded a lot the more we walked them together and trained them at the same time – at first, they were not very trusting of each other around food, but soon realized that if one snatched up the other’s treat, another one was soon coming. I’m still trying to convince my lovely girls to cuddle with each other, it’s impossible to make them BFFS, lol. Good luck with your pups!

  2. These are great tips! We have two dogs who we adopted at different times and the shelter where we adopted the second one shared these same tips with us to ensure a smooth transition. This helped us rule out a couple of dogs who our first dog did not interact with well and find a “brother” for her that is now her best friend! Ironically, they both have different skin conditions which we cleared up by switching to a grain-free diet.

  3. I have a female Pyr and would love to get a companion for her. I’ve heard that two of the same gender don’t get along. Do you think this is true? I really don’t want a male Pyr, although I’m sure he’d be a sweetheart.

    1. Hi Rita, I honestly don’t know, since I have one of each. I do know that my female is the more aggressive Pyr and my male is just as mellow as he can be. Good luck to you!!