You just know that your beloved, older is going to love the new puppy! How could it not? A new playmate is coming home! But not all dogs are as accepting of a new puppy; even dogs who might love meeting up with other dogs in a social setting. After all, after their playdates they get to go home to their own house, their own toys, their own humans, and they don’t have to share.

Just think if you’re a ten-year-old boy who really likes to play with other kids on the playground, and the suddenly your parents just bring home another kid, only this kid is about five years younger, and you have to babysit this kid, and take care of this other kid. And worse yet, you’re required to share everything! You may be a really great kid and want friends, but this is not what you signed up for!

Some dogs will immediately adjust to a new puppy, but you still need to put some safety plans in place and make sure things will go smoothly, or as smoothly as possible.

First rule, even if they both love each other immediately and unconditionally like long-lost siblings, is to create a space where both your established dog and new puppy can have some time away from one another. Make sure DNO (Dog Number One) can get away from the puppy when it’s had enough play time and needs a break. At the same time, make sure the puppy, who is still very young and tires easily, doesn’t get overly tired or overly rough-housed by DNO, and can slip away to a quiet place to crash, or even under a piece of furniture or to a crate where the other dog can’t reach it when the play is getting a little too rough.

Second, keep DNO’s routine as normal as possible. Things are going to be different with the new puppy, but DNO still needs to feel like Numero Uno, and behavior issues can arise if their lives are too disrupted and, the things they expect to do at certain times of the day, aren’t being done or have been changed. This could cause lashing out in jealousy at the puppy, or peeing and pooping in places they know better than to go, or even a loss or appetite. Don’t let DNO feel like they’ve been downgraded!

DNO will most surely develop a healthy relationship with the new puppy, enhanced by your endeavors to make it happen. During this time, it’s ok if DNO growls at or pins down the puppy when it’s getting too wound up or is trying to take something from DNO. This is the older dog being the big brother or sister and laying out the ground rules. Don’t interfere unless it becomes aggressive. Not all dogs are this way, and many DNO’s will let the puppy just run all over them, and that’s when you might have to step in and break things up to teach the puppy that chewing on Rover’s ear brings about separation for a short while.

Like siblings, every dog is different, and their personalities are different. You need to take those initial cautions to ward off bad things from happening, but you can’t plan for every contingency. You may think you know your DNO well, but if you’ve never had another dog invade its space on a permanent basis, then it’s all new territory for everyone.

Once DNO and the puppy have found their rhythm, there’s nothing better than having two dogs to entertain one another! During those cold winter months, they will easily keep each other exercised while you sit cozy under blankets, fully amused by your happy dogs.

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