How to Approach Adding a Second Dog to Your Household

Posted by  on June 15, 2010

You’ve made the decision to become a multiple dog household, and you’ve found the perfect puppy to add to your family. Now that the easy part of the transition is behind you, it’s time to bring home your new pet and introduce him or her to the adult dog in your home.

Dogs who are accustomed to being the only family pet aren’t always overjoyed to have a new puppy enter their space. Older dogs who have never had to share their position in the family tend to be rather jealous of the new addition at first. However, if you’re careful about how you handle the change, the two animals are likely to become inseparable pals in no time at all.

Great Dane meets new puppy

Introducing your new puppy to the adult dog in your home.

Be Prepared for Jealousy

Puppies tend to demand more hands-on care and attention than older dogs. One of the best things you can do to keep your older dog from becoming resentful of the newcomer is to pay equal attention to both animals. Make sure that you don’t decrease the amount of time you spend with your adult dog when you bring the puppy home. It’s important for you to demonstrate that the new dog isn’t replacing the old dog in your affections.

New puppy shares treat with big dog

It's important not to force sharing between your first dog and the new arrival.

Don’t Force Sharing

Dogs tend to be very territorial creatures, and canines who aren’t used to sharing don’t like to be forced to do so. To reduce the possibility of extended animosity between the two animals, don’t force your adult dog to share things that have always belonged exclusively to him or her with the new puppy.

Make sure each animal has his or her own bed, food and water bowls, and play things. Once the two bond, they will probably start sharing naturally. However, if you force them to share before they get to know each other, you can cause lifelong conflict between the two of them.

Let Nature Take Its Course

One of the best things you can do when introducing a new puppy to your long time canine companion is to allow the animals time to get accustomed to one another. When you give your two pets time to form their own relationship, it’s very likely that they will become play mates who enjoy each other’s company as well as the company of the human members of the household.

Even if your two dogs don’t seem to take to each other at first, keep in mind that dogs are pack animals by nature. In the natural order of things, dogs are meant to be around other dogs. However, they are also creatures of habit, and it takes time for them to get used to change. The best thing you can do is to stay out of the way and let your canine companions establish the pecking order in their new relationship.