Dear Sarah,

We are getting a new puppy and want to make sure we do the right thing when introducing him to our current dog. Are there things we should or shouldn’t do? What’s the best way to introduce them?

Simon H

Hi Simon,

Some dogs eagerly welcome a new puppy into the home – excited to have someone to play with and keep them company. Others find it incredibly stressful – and working out how your dog might respond to a new canine brother or sister is an important first step.

If your dog is good with other dogs (and in particular puppies), then you haven’t got too much to worry about. Make sure your current dog doesn’t overwhelm the puppy (especially if there is a large size difference between them), and make sure that you monitor the interactions between them closely so that everyone is enjoying themselves. Puppies by nature can be a little annoying, so make sure that your current dog has the ability to have some alone time away from the puppy if they need it.

Even though you may be getting the puppy for company for your current dog, getting the puppy used to being alone is still important. Take the dogs for some walks separately. Take one dog for a drive and leave the other at home with a nice juicy bone. Enrol your puppy in puppy preschool so they have the opportunity to socialise with other puppies their own age. By doing some things separately and spending one-on-one time with each dog, it ensures that your puppy develops their primary bond with you rather than your other dog. It also enables you to spend some quality time with your current dog, who has had all of your attention up until now, and ensures that both dogs are confident without the other. This may be important if one of the dogs needs to spend the night at the vet.

Remember – be patient. It takes a little while for everyone (both human and canine) to settle in to the changes that a new puppy brings to a household. And above all – have fun!