As if your family life wasn’t challenging enough, having to remember sports kits, after school activities and to walk the dog, let alone the basics of having everyone fed and clean – now you want to introduce a second pet into the scenario.
The family dog is going to have make way for the new kid in town, in the form of a small, cute but excitable puppy.
In this blog, we take a look at how you can integrate more than one pet into your household and how to ready existing animals for the arrival of a new roommate.
Have Realistic Expectations
It’s unlikely your dog is going to be delighted with their new companion and despite your hopes that they’d welcome them in with open paws, it’s unlikely to happen. Dogs are territorial and need to establish the pecking order with their new housemate.
So, yes, your dog probably will growl and perhaps even cuff the puppy a little, but they are unlikely to do the new arrival any serious harm, especially if they learn their place in the family pretty quickly and respect your dog’s seniority.
Your puppy has a whole different way of playing that doesn’t interest your older dog. The puppy play is how it learns about its’ environment, makes sense of the world and takes on board the rules that you gently introduce. Your dog is a seasoned pro at all of this and is unlikely to want to play with the puppy on his terms. A little impatience from your dog is entirely normal.
Be On It
Don’t let your pup have free rein over its interactions with the dog. Begin teaching him the social norms from a young age so the settling in part is fairly painless. This will also show your dog that he is still loved and valued in your family and doesn’t have to put up with having his ears nibbled and tail chased.
One method of giving your dog some space is to put the puppy out of a harm’s way for a little while. If you have a stair gate you might shut them off from your dog for a while. Alternatively, you might have a play pen you can use to place him in and distract him with some toys and a comfy bed.
It’s even possible to teach your dog to leave the room when the puppy gets too much. A simple act of leading your dog to his bed and giving him a treat will help him realise he can walk away when it all gets too much. Just make sure the puppy can’t follow him and annoy him further.
Reward Over Punishment
Puppies and dogs are learning and, as such, of course they sometimes get it wrong just as humans do. If your puppy messes up, don’t come down hard on them. Fear-based teaching seldom works in the long run and sends out all the wrong signals. Instead remember to reward the good or expected behaviour. This kind of positive reinforcement works wonders on everyone from puppies to small children, so be consistent and you’ll see positive results.
After around a month, you should start seeing some signs of acceptance and even affection between dog and puppy that will come as a huge relief. Your dog doesn’t really have any choice in the matter, he can’t call his lawyer, like the dedicated legal team from Hupy and Abraham, to have this squatter removed so he will, eventually, accept his fate.
Hopefully this acceptance will lead to a more and more harmonious living arrangement, but you will need to stay on top of the puppy’s behaviour even as he grows into a young dog and goes through the adolescent years. These can be challenging again with plenty of opportunities for your arrival to push his boundaries. Stay firm and consistent, rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad. Once you’ve pushed through, like having children, you’ll soon forget what a challenge those early years were and enjoy the fun and energy that having more than one pet can bring to a household.
Give your dog plenty of affection and reassure them of their place and importance in the family pecking order and they might even turn into the playmate you wanted for your puppy all along. Then you might just find yourself thinking about doing it all over again a few years’ down the line and have to begin the whole process right from scratch.