Adopting a Puppy When You Already Have an Older Dog

Adopt a dog-save a life.  That’s the motto I follow when I bring a new puppy into my house.

But what if you already have a dog, and it is quite a bit older than the puppy?  That can be a problem. 

We had this issue several years ago when we adopted Romeo from a pet shelter.  He was a cute little fellow.  We considered buying a purebred dog at the time.  But to adopt a dog-save a life, we knew we were doing the right thing.

We found out that the shelter was within a couple of days of ending Romeo’s life.  He was a lucky dog that we adopted him.  But we are very, very lucky to have him today.

Princess, our older dog, was between 2 and 3 years old.  Although this wasn’t very old, she was slightly overweight, had little energy, and enjoyed sleeping most of the day.  At that time, we had not found the best quality dog food to feed her.

So we knew that bringing an energetic dog like Romeo into the house with Princess, a fairly lazy dog, might be a problem.  By accident, we found that giving Romeo a lot of exercise before being with Princess helped them get along better.

In fact, Romeo was ready to lie down after some serious exercise outside.  Princess was happy to lie down with him.

Of course, we couldn’t exercise Romeo all the time.  But when we saw him starting to bother the older dog, it was time to take Romeo outside for a game of fetch.  After a while, both dogs became super buddies.

I read an article that discusses adopting a puppy when you already have an older dog.  It is entitled, “Getting a New Puppy with an Older Dog” by Andi Andersen.  The author quotes dog training guru, Cesar Millan.

Here is a quote from the article:

So you’re thinking about getting a new puppy with an older dog in the house and wondering how your old dog will feel about it. Dog training guru Cesar Millan provides great insight into why your old dog may initially be less-than-accepting of a puppy. Understanding this will help you create harmony between them much more quickly.

The nature of dogs is that they don’t raise puppies when they are advanced in age; just like us, they want to raise their kids when they still have the energy to keep up with them. It’s not that the puppies are “obnoxious” to them – it’s just that they have another state of mind – puppy hood vs. senior hood. In order to be around the older dogs, the puppy has to already have his social skills and his energy drained so they will accept him into the group. Think about kids who are raised by older parents or children visiting their grandparents. Those kids are the ones that are able to sit down in grandma’s lap and stay quiet while she reads them a book.
The best thing we can do for the grandparents to coexist with the children is that we have to get the children tired.
Constant supervision is absolutely a must, and when you can’t be there to supervise, tire the puppy out before crating so it feels more natural to rest. Crating a puppy all the time until it is big enough is absolutely the wrong thing. Crating doesn’t create social skills – and social skills are what are going to get him through. Of course always, always consult a professional, and if your gut feeling tells you there’s a real danger for the puppy, then don’t do it. Always listen to your gut feeling.” Read Cesar’s entire post here.

The entire article can be read here.  Mr. Millan brings up another good way to have a new puppy meet an older dog.  Dogs should be introduced outside.  Then immediately go on a long walk.  The puppy should be on a leash and may need to be carried part of the way.

After the walk, let the older dog go into the house first followed by the puppy.  Give the older dog some water, and then the puppy.  Feed them both by hand.  Act in a very natural, relaxed way.

Let me know what you think of these 2 methods.  How do you feel about “adopt a dog-save a life?”

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