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How to Introduce Your New Puppy to Your Older Dog: Introducing a Rescue Dog

Updated on April 13, 2018
Healthyannie profile image

I have always been "owned" by a dog or two, and I certainly appreciate dog ownership can be a challenge.

Introducing a new puppy to an older dog can be challenging.
Introducing a new puppy to an older dog can be challenging. | Source

How to Introduce Your New Puppy to Your Older Dog

A new puppy can be an exciting but stressful experience for a resident canine, and the rest of the household. If you decide to introduce a new puppy to your home it is better to be prepared and to know what you are taking on and what to expect.

A multi-dog household is a different concept to just having one dog in your home and does need a lot more management. The most important factor is to keep the peace and do the best to keep your resident canine companion happy as well as the new puppy.

It is really important to be patient when introducing a new dog to other pets to prevent problems. Taking it slow is crucial, and be prepared to spend a lot of time supervising interactions to avoid any conflicts which may arise.

Do not expect your resident friend to be happy to share their home with new addition. Most dogs are territorial and the puppy will more than likely be seen as a trespasser. Dogs have different personalities, and some may experience the puppy as competition. It is best to be prepared for minor, or major, episodes of jealousy and some squabbles. The dynamics of the household will change very quickly once the new puppy arrives.

I recently adopted a new canine friend from a local animal shelter. Her name is now Sadie and she is a six-month-old German Shepherd cross. She was abandoned at the center together with her five brothers and sisters. Sadie's name at the shelter was Sheba but we have so many dogs called Sheba in our little town so I decided to change her name to Sadie.

She seems to be happy with her new name, and with the help of treats she has managed to learn her new name in record time. So far my other dog Gonzo seems to be happy to share his home with her but I did do a lot of preparation before letting her in on his "patch".

There are some basic principles to follow when introducing a new puppy to a resident dog. If you have decided to take on the responsibility of a new puppy you should, first of all, consider adopting, or buying, a puppy of the opposite sex.

The best rule of thumb is to take on a female dog if you already have a male dog and vice versa. Male and female dogs are much less likely to cause fights than dogs of the same gender. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered are also less likely to cause problems. I decided to adopt a female dog as my little Yorkshire Terrier is a boy.

Doggie Introductions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Meeting for the first timeA six month old puppy can be a handful for an older dogMy resident older dog Gonzo - 10 year Yorkshire Terrier
Meeting for the first time
Meeting for the first time | Source
A six month old puppy can be a handful for an older dog
A six month old puppy can be a handful for an older dog | Source
My resident older dog Gonzo - 10 year Yorkshire Terrier
My resident older dog Gonzo - 10 year Yorkshire Terrier | Source

Tips on how to introduce your new dog or puppy

I have had lots of experience with dogs, and I have introduced new puppies to resident dogs before so I knew that preparation is the all important factor. Over the years I have put together a list of what to do which I have share with anybody who would like to introduce a new puppy to their household.


You have visited your local animal shelter and fallen in love with that special puppy, but the question is if your resident will feel the same. First rule of thumb is to realize how important it is to let the two dogs meet on neutral territory. Neutral territory can be in the playground of the shelter or in a quiet corner in a park.

Keep both dogs on their leashes and let them say hello. Wagging tails is a good sign, and once you see wagging tails you know that they are more likely to get on. If it is a secure area you could try letting them off the lead. All dogs react differently so make sure you are in control.

Some dogs will fight, others will start to play and some will do what Sadie and Gonzo did - totally ignore each other. They happily wandered around the playground at the shelter and after a while met up again with some more tail wagging. This is was a very good sign, and I felt confident that they would get along.

Try to make sure that this first session ends on a positive note. If two dogs are playing happily together, it is better to end the session early. They will both have positive memories of each other.

Prepping to bring your new puppy home

There are a lot of things which need to be done before you go ahead and bring your puppy home. All puppies love to play so it is important to make sure you are ready to play. Gonzo is a lot smaller than Sadie and he has is own selection of toys, so I decided to visit the local pet store and invest in toys for Sadie.

Remember that puppies love to chew so hard wearing toys are the best. Also interactive toys such as Kong toys are some of the best toys you can invest in. Not only is there a huge range available but all Kong toys are very hard wearing.

Also invest in a good quality collar and leash. It is very tempting to buy inexpensive stuff for your puppy but better quality products such as an adaptable dog collar should last.
Your new family member also needs his own water bowl and food bowl.

If it is a small breed puppy you are introducing you may want to buy a dog bed as well, but sometimes it is better to wait as some puppies do have tendency to chew their beds.

The resident dog

Your resident dog might be feeling neglected so it is important to give him or her some extra attention, you certainly don't want your old friend to think that you are replacing him. There are different ways of solving this problem, you could try some extra special treats, personal walkies and lots of cuddles.

Dogs are very social animals and most of the time you will find that they start to enjoy spending time together. There may be some teething problems to start with but with the right guidance dogs normally settle down together. It is important to remember that dogs are pack animals, and you need to be the leader of the pack


The resident dog will feel very territorial towards his space so you may need to create a separate space for the new dog. Baby gates are a superb solution to the problem.
There will be times when both dogs will need time out, and a baby gate will let them see each other but there will still be a barrier in between them.

Take it nice and slow, and find out how you can best make both dogs feel comfortable and content. Night times can sometimes be the most difficult time. It could be a good idea to separate the dogs so both your family and the dogs get a good night's sleep.

Once you have established how well they get on you can decide if you would like them to sleep in the same room. Remember that your sleep, and your family's rest, is just as important as the dogs. A lot of people forget about this and let the new puppy exhaust them.

Feeding time

Feeding time can be a flash point so you need to supervise feeding time. It is always best to feed the dogs at the same time, but if food causes a conflict they may need to be fed in separate rooms.

Always prepare all dogs' food at the same time, and put the bowls in separate ends of the feeding area. I always give the resident dog his food first, and then go on to feed the new addition.

Puppies might need to be fed more often and you need to allow for this when planning feeding times. When you feed the new puppy always give your resident dog a little snack. It does not have to be much – just a gesture really.

Home alone

Home alone for the first time might also be a trigger point for problems. If you do need to leave the dogs you may want to leave them in separate rooms. I have been very fortunate with Sadie and Gonzo but some people are less fortunate.

Initially, leave the dogs for only very short period of time and come back quickly. Once the dogs are more settled, and you know more about their behavior you can have more time out. Don't make a big fuss when you leave the house or when you come back. Making a fuss would make the dogs think it is an abnormal event and should not be happening. It is better if they accept it as part of daily life.

Play time

Your new puppy will need some extra play time but make it easy for the other dog to join in. Make sure you have plenty of toys around which are suitable for both dogs. They may be different sizes so being able to fit the same ball in their mouths could be a problem.

If you are taking the dogs out to play in the park make sure you take enough toys for both dogs, and always invite both to play. The same thing with treats – take treats for both dogs.


Going walkies is an essential part of social behavior. This is where your new puppy will meet other dogs, and more importantly where your new twosome will meet other dogs together.

Your resident dog might already have some canine friends he likes to meet and play with, and your new puppy needs to be introduced. There could be a few problems but most of the time introductions face few problems as the dogs meet on neutral ground.

As a matter of fact, this is an excellent way to socialize and establish new relationships, and hopefully leads to improved and better doggie friendships.

Our new puppy Sadie loves to play
Our new puppy Sadie loves to play | Source


Have you ever introduced a new puppy to a resident dog, and what was your experience?

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Adopting A Dog from Animal Shelter

Sadie was adopted from a local animal shelter called SCAN. They do an amazing job of finding new homes for cats and dogs. Adopting a dog from an animal shelter can be different than bringing a new puppy home from a breeder.

First of all, your puppy may have spent more time in a kennel outside and may not be used to the indoors. House training may be more of a challenge but given time, and patience, all dogs will learn quite quickly.

Don't expect your new puppy to have had any basic training such as walking on a leash, or simple commands. Consider your new puppy as a work in progress, and be ready to spend lots of time on training.

Dogs adopted from shelters may also eat quicker and be keen to eat your other dog's food as well. Supervise feeding times carefully, and make sure your resident dog gets all the food he needs.

Enjoy your new puppy

A new puppy does need rest.
A new puppy does need rest. | Source

Enjoy your Puppy

Taking on a new puppy may be daunting at first but it is really just about problem solving, or anticipating problems before they happen. Most of time things work out okay, providing you have done a bit of planning and are prepared to spend lots of time with both dogs.

Puppies grow up fast so enjoying your puppy is important. I am sure your puppy will keep you entertained, and you will have lots of memories of this special time together.

Dogs love swimming

Dogs and water

Swimming is an excellent exercise especially for larger breed puppies. Not only does swimming give them a lot of exercise but it also good for puppies.

Swimming is a gentle exercise which helps larger breeds such as German Shepherds build strong muscles and healthy bones. Dogs that go swimming on a regular basis suffer less from arthritis and health problems such as hip dysplasia.

Sadie is One Year Old Today

Sadie is the puppy on the left hand side, resting her had against the side of the basket.
Sadie is the puppy on the left hand side, resting her had against the side of the basket. | Source

Sadie at One Year Old

Sadie still likes a pillow or headrest when she sleeps but she has taken over the sofa.
Sadie still likes a pillow or headrest when she sleeps but she has taken over the sofa. | Source

Sadie at One

Our puppy Sadie is today, March 17 2014, one year old. Time has gone past so quickly, and Sadie has grown up a bit but she is still very playful.

Her favorite game is hide and seek, and she has discovered hiding her daddy's golf balls is great fun. She has a secret stash under the bed in the spare room.

I don't know if she is fully grown but she is now 21 kilos, and our little Yorkie can stand underneath her tummy. Sadie has also discovered that the sofa is the most comfortable place to be, and has taken over our two seater sofa.

Sadie's birthday present will be a new bone, and an extra long walk.

The kennels where Sadie was born has recently won an award. It was well deserved as the entire team work so hard.

If you like to know more about the SCAN kennels you can check out SCAN here. If you are concerned about animal welfare, you can make a donations on SCAN's website using Paypal.


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    • profile image

      Abby 19 months ago

      i love it

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 3 years ago from Spain

      Thank you and I hope your new puppy is all settled in. Sadie is 18 months, and still full of energy.

    • nadinelopo profile image

      Nadine 3 years ago from ohio

      Ahhh, I wish I would have read this when i got my new dog. This was really helpful. I still might try a few of the tricks now!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Lots of very good suggestions. It can be a bit tricky but with effort and taking the time to do it right the new pup can be integrated into your home. Lucky you for having a newbie

      Angels are on the way ps


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