Bringing in a new puppy into your family with an existing older pup can be a big transition for both you, your puppy and your older dog. Heres a complete guide to training a new puppy with an older dog
Training your new puppy with your older dog doesn’t have to be a difficult or complicated experience here well cover some steps that you both can take to ensure that training goes as smoothly as possible!
Before jumping into training a new puppy with an older dog you first have to introduce your new puppy and older dog.
The initial introduction between your new puppy and your older dog will play a major factor in your puppies training, remember that young puppies are essentially learning about EVERYTHING.
At a young age, puppies are forming their overall perspective of the world which will mold them into the adult dogs they will become, whereas older dogs already have an overall picture of the world. more about this in our socialization article
The proper way to introduce your puppy and older dog together is gradual and dependent on how well mannered and trained your older dog is.
The reason I say its dependent on your older dog is simply because puppies at a young age are a “clean slate” puppies haven’t experienced anything negative if raised properly, so the puppy will most likely just be curious of your older dog.
Older dogs, on the other hand, have already had previous experiences both negative and positive and that will play a role in how your older dog perceives your young puppy.
Introducing Your Older Dog To Your Puppy
When introducing your older dog to your new puppy what you want to look for is that your older dog can take direction from you.
Meaning that if you were to communicate to your older dog that you want him to move away or leave something alone your older dog will respond and not ignore you instead.
What You Want From An Older Dog When First Introducing To Your New Puppy:
We have all seen pushy dogs, those dogs that have very little spatial awareness and are too forward.
It may not be of malice and just be that your older dog is curious and a little excited but young puppies you want your older dog to not come on strong
You want your older go to be calm and composed the best way to ensure that your older dog is more relaxed and calmer when you bring in your new puppy is by providing your older dog with sufficient mental and physical stimulation.
You can do this by taking your older dog to play fetch or a run to burn off some of that energy, that last thing you want is your older dog to release all the pent up energy on your puppy!
After you take your older dog to burn some energy I would recommend using a puzzle toy like the kong, beehive-shaped toy you can fill the toy with something like peanut butter and put it in the freezer while you get your new puppy.
Once you get your puppy you can give the Kong toy filled with frozen peanut butter to your older dog.
This does two things, first, it rewards your dog in the presence of your are puppy so that your older dog has a positive association with your puppy and good things occurring and second it keeps your older dog preoccupied with mental stimulation.
This also ensures that your older dog doesn’t just run up to your puppy and potentially give your new puppy a negative experience.
This can probably be considered the most important aspect when training a new puppy with an older dog, Simply you want your older dog to listen to you when you need it.
The last thing you want is your older dog coming on too strong to your puppy and not listening when you ask your older dog to give the puppy some space.
Introducing Your Puppy To Your Older Dog
Now that we established what you want from your older dog here’s what you should do when Introducing your puppy to your older dog.
With young puppies, you want to focus on proper socialization and exposure. If you’re wondering what proper socialization and exposure is sure to read our article on Socialization.
Ultimately for your puppy, everything is a big change and your puppy may not know what to expect from this major change, from moving and living in a new environment to meeting new humans and dogs!
As a new puppy owner, your job is to make this transition in your puppies live a positive experience making everything a smooth transition!
How do you make this a positive experience?
To make this a positive experience for your puppy here are some quick and easy guidelines to follow:
Reward, Reward, Reward
You want to reward your puppy every step of the way, remember that much of everything that is occurring in your puppies life may be his very first experience!
So from the moment you pick your puppy up, you want to reward your puppy, from picking your new puppy up to entering the car start building positive associations with everything your puppy comes into contact with.
With puppies, the name of the game is always redirection you’re telling your puppy what tout his energy into, in essence, a lot of “ don’t do this but do this instead, don’t chase the cat – play with me instead”
When introducing your new puppy to your older dog you want to be able to redirect your puppy from your older dog if your puppy gets a little out of hand.
Puppies are young and may not know their limits if your puppy gets a little too rambunctious with your older dog, your older dog may feel like he has to correct your puppy for his behavior, that’s where you step in to prevent that early on.
Eventually, once your older dog and puppy are introduced your older dog may give your puppy a little correction if your puppy is getting out of hand, that’s normal if you have an appropriate older dog that s well socialized.
As for the initial introduction, the last thing you want is your puppy to be corrected for his first experience so the moment that you see that your puppy is getting out of hand be sure to redirect your puppy y using his food or some treats and guiding his attention elsewhere.
Training A New Puppy With An Older Dog
Now that the initial introduction has been completed some tools you may need when training a new puppy with an older dog are:
The first training tool I recommend for training a new puppy with an older dog is the crate simply because it allows you to start building good habits without allowing your dog to practice bad behavior
The open is the second tool I recommend because it allows you to make your puppy feel included in what you’re doing without giving your puppy the chance to run and practice behaviors you don’t want.
Puzzle toys are great simply because after you take your puppy on a walk or play with him giving your new puppy a puzzle toy will provide him with mental stimulation which will most likely end up with a sleeping puppy!
Chew toys are essential for puppies the reason why you want a variety of different chew toys is simply because chewing is a behavior that is natural for dogs and is naturally reinforcing, chewing for dogs is like watching tv for us.
You want a variety of chew toys simply because you want to start teaching your young puppy what objects are appropriate to chew on and which are not. The more you make a habit of showing your puppy what objects are appropriate to chew objects the better off you will be!
Early on especially with puppies, you are going to be using lots of food when training a new puppy with an older dog. From socialization, exposure, to teaching new behaviors and redirecting your puppy.
Having a good selection of food or treats to give your puppy will make training easier.
Training your new puppy with an older dog
Do’s and Don’ts
Train Your Puppy Individually:
Yes, you want your puppy to spend time with your older dog but you also want to be more relevant to your puppy than your older dog. So when it comes to training you want to spend time training your puppy individually so that YOU build a relationship with your puppy.
Give your puppy alone time:
when training a new puppy with an older dog you want to give your puppy some “alone time” every day, that way your puppy becomes comfortable with being alone.
If you’re able to spend all the time in the world with your great puppy but if you never provide your puppy with some alone time you can be developing a dysfunctional dog where once older won’t be able to function well when left alone.
So provide your puppy with some alone time in the crate every day even if its just 15/30 mins a day to get your puppy comfortable being alone, be sure to leave your puppy with a chew toy or a puzzle toy yo entertain himself.
Socialize and Expose:
Puppies are always learning so be sure to socialize and expose your puppy to everything so your puppy will grow into a confident and balanced dog you can read more on how to socialize and expose your pup here****LINK
Structure and Routine:
With puppies, one thing you should prioritize is providing your puppy with consistent structure and routine.
Think about it this way, the more structure and routine you provide your puppy the more good habits you build for your puppy and the more your puppy will adapt to your lifestyle.
Dogs and puppies are creatures of habits and the more the better for your puppy!
Force Your Puppy
Don’t force your puppy to do something of your puppy is hesitant, puppies and dogs a “black and white” meaning that what they show you is what you get if your puppy looks scared it’s probably because he is, dogs and puppies don’t “act”
If your puppy is scared or hesitant the last thing you want to do is force your puppy to interact with whatever is making your puppy hesitant, doing this will make your puppy more scared and nervous
think about it if your scared of heights, will forcing you to walk towards the edge of a high cliff get you over the fear? probably not.
Instead, use your puppies food to reward him near whatever is making him uncomfortable and gradually move closer and closer, essentially showing your puppy that its no big deal.
leave your puppy to run free with no supervision
You don’t want to leave your puppy unsupervised and roam free, by giving your dog too much freedom early on you are simply allowing your puppy the opportunity to get into trouble
Remember puppies are a “clean slate” they don’t know anything, it’s up to us to teach our puppies rules and boundaries, by leaving your puppy to roam free unsupervised you are letting your puppy to figure things out on his own.
Instead, be your puppies guide so that you don’t walk into a home that has been destroyed by your puppy!
Click here to learn more about how much freedom your puppy should have.
Leave Your Puppy And Older Dog Alone
Having your new puppy and older dog interact is great but if you are not directly supervising them you leave a window open for problems to arrive such as your 2 companions competing for resources they deem extremely valuable.
Training A New Puppy With An Older Dog
When training a new puppy with an older dog you have to keep in mind to spend individual time with your puppy!
Spending individual time with your puppy will teach your puppy that your relevant so that when your puppy is around your older dog, your puppy will learn to take direction from you.
Ultimately training a new puppy with an older dog is about making the initial introduction positive and also building your relationship with your puppy so that your puppy loves to pay attention to you around your older dog. Taking the steps laid out in this article will ensure that you your puppy and older dog have a smooth transition from a single dog home to multiple dog home.
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