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.
This article is 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 we’ll cover some steps that both you and your puppy 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 take the time to introduce your new puppy and your older dog.
The initial introduction between your new puppy and your older dog will play a significant factor in your puppy’s training; remember that young puppies are essentially learning about EVERYTHING.
Puppies are forming their overall perspective of the world at a young age, which will mold them into the adult dogs they will become. Whereas older dogs already have a comprehensive picture of the world. To learn more about socialization, read our socialization article
The proper way to introduce your puppy and older dog is gradual and dependent on how well mannered and trained your older dog is.
The reason I say it’s dependent on your older dog is that puppy’s are essentially a “clean slate.”
Puppy’s haven’t experienced anything negative if appropriately raised, so the puppy will most likely be curious about your older dog.
On the other hand, the older dogs 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, you want to ensure that your older dog can listen and 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 a bit too forward.
It may not be of malice and can be that your older dog is curious and a little excited about your new puppy. Regardless you want your older dog not to come off too pushy.
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 a game of fetch or run with your dog to burn off some of that extra energy.
The last thing you want is your older dog to release all the pent-up energy on your puppy!
After taking your older dog to burn some energy, I recommend using a puzzle toy like the kong, a 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.
Providing your dog with a puzzle toy does two things. First, it rewards your dog in your puppy’s presence so that your older dog has a positive association with your puppy. Second, it keeps your older dog preoccupied with mental stimulation.
Doing this also ensures that your older dog doesn’t just run up to your puppy and potentially give your new puppy a negative experience.
Taking direction can probably be considered the most critical aspect when training a new puppy with an older dog. 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 adequate socialization and exposure are, be sure to read our article on socialization.
Ultimately for your puppy, everything is a significant change, and your puppy may not know what to expect from this important change. From moving and living in a new environment to meeting new humans and dogs, all this is new to your puppy!
As a new puppy owner, your job is to make this transition in your puppy’s life a positive experience, to create 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 puppy’s 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 showing your puppy what to put his/her energy into.
In essence, redirection is 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 practice redirecting 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 rowdy with your older dog, your older dog may feel like he/she has to correct your puppy for his behavior.
That’s where you step in to prevent that early on and advocate for your older pup.
Eventually, once your older dog and puppy are introduced, your older dog may give your puppy a minor correction if your puppy is getting out of hand. That’s normal, especially if you have an appropriate older dog that s well socialized.
As for the initial introduction, the last thing you want is for your puppy to be corrected for his first experience. When you see that your puppy is getting out of hand, be sure to redirect your puppy by 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 because it allows you to start building good habits without letting your puppy practice bad behavior
The X-Pen is the second tool I recommend because it allows your puppy to feel included in what you’re doing without giving your puppy the chance to run all over your house and practice behaviors you don’t want.
Puzzle toys are fantastic simply because after taking your puppy on a walk or playing with him/her giving your new puppy a puzzle toy will provide him with mental stimulation, which will most likely lead up to a sleeping puppy!
Chew toys are essential for puppies. You want a variety of different chew toys because chewing is a natural behavior for dogs and is naturally reinforcing, chewing for dogs is like watching tv for us.
You also want a variety of chew toys 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 will 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:
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.
Suppose you’re able to spend all the time in the world with your puppy, that’s great! But if you never provide your puppy with some alone time, you can be developing a dysfunctional dog where once your puppy is older, he/she won’t be able to function when left alone.
So provide your puppy with some alone time in the crate every day, even if it’s 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 to entertain himself.
Socialize and Expose:
Puppies are constantly 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 if 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 because he/she 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 uncertain.
Forcing your pup will make your puppy more scared and nervous. Think about it this way, if you’re afraid of heights, forcing you to walk towards the edge of a high cliff will likely not get you over the fear.
Instead, use your puppy’s food to reward him/her near whatever makes your pup uncomfortable and gradually move closer and closer.
You are essentially showing your puppy that what he or she is afraid of is no big deal.
leave your puppy to run free with no supervisorsion
You don’t want to leave your puppy unsupervised and roam free. By giving your dog too much freedom early on, you are 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 figure things out independently.
Instead, be your puppy’s guide so that you don’t walk into a home that your puppy has destroyed!
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. Still, suppose you are not directly supervising both your puppy and older dog. In that case, you leave a window open for problems to arrive, such as your two companions competing for precious resources.
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 building your relationship with your puppy to love to pay attention to you around your older dog.
Taking the steps laid out in this article will ensure that your puppy and older dog have smooth transitions from a single dog home to a multiple dog home.
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