Q: How do I introduce my older dog to a new puppy?

Mary T.

I’m afraid our older dog will be jealous — and might even hate — the new puppy we’re getting. What’s a good way to prepare for introductions?

Chosen Answer

Introducing an older dog to a new puppy should happen first on “neutral” territory, away from the older dog’s home territory.

Your older dog has a lot invested in defending its home. Acceptance of newcomers is possible — it happens all the time — but let’s start gradually. Even before the introductory meeting in a park or wherever, familiarize Old Dog with New Dog’s scent. Rub a piece of cloth on the puppy, bring the cloth home and leave it around the house for a few days. Designate a small area of the house as New Dog’s territory, and start keeping Old Dog out.

On Introduction Day, keep things low key (but keep both dogs on leashes) and let them get acquainted at their own pace. Ideally, New Dog will lick Old Dog’s face, then roll over, belly up, in the traditional sign of submission. A certain amount of growling and posturing is to be expected. Tail wagging would be nice. If things go wrong the first time, repeat at a different neutral venue. Then, on the big day, bring New Dog home.

You want Old Dog to think, “Hey, that cute young thing I met in the park is here to play.”

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