Preparing Your Family for a Second Dog
You will hear many differing opinions on how to properly bring a new puppy into a home that is already claimed by a dog. Can owners help prepare a current furbaby and kids for a new four-legged sibling? And, if so, what is the best plan of action?
Know Your Furbaby
Does your current dog like other dogs? How does it react differently to specific sizes/breeds/ages? Knowing your dog’s temperament will truly help you plan your transition and establish a strong relationship between the animals.
(If your child is super attached to your dog, make sure to spend time talking about adding in a new furbaby.)
If your current furbaby is not well-trained, now is the time. There need to be training words such as, “Off,” “Place,” “Outside,” and “Home” already in place and understood by the dog prior to bringing a new puppy home. You can outsource the training with a 2-week bootcamp, bring in a private trainer, or simply review previous training methods to ensure your loved first pup will have the comfort and support to handle your cues as you work with the newest furbaby.
Create a ‘safe space’ for your current dog to escape to throughout the days until the pack mentality kicks in. This can be a dog bed, crate, or even your bed. This area needs to be off-limits to the puppy.
New puppies chew on everything, including kid toys, socks, books, and shoes! Make sure you get things organized before investing in a new wardrobe. Instead of kicking shoes off by the door, set a basket out to toss them into. You can also work on keeping things off the ground so a puppy cant get to them.
Tensions may escalate quickly between the dogs, even when you think they won’t. Animals are very territorial, and the sweetest dog may not react in the most gentle of ways. Jealousy exists and should be expected, but you can do your damnedest to try for a gentle introduction. This can get scary when a child is nearby. Early interactions need to be closely monitored.
You know your current dog; would an on-leash intro be best, or a simple walk the puppy through the front door work? Should you introduce the puppy’s blanket and take a few days of outside ‘mingling’ before bringing the puppy into the house?
Let the Alpha Shine
There will be the issue of Alpha Dog that will naturally occur. Your current dog will need to establish this role and it may not be the quietest or easiest thing to watch. There will be necessary barking, butt-sniffing, and food-stealing. There will be a bit of growling (growling is actually good!) and excessive scared peeing.
Within the first month, though, each dog will know their place. (And you will be done cleaning the pee.)
We can't say which is easier - puppy potty training or toddler potty training. (At least toddlers don't growl?)
Watch the 14-21 Day Pack Form
It takes 14-21 days for your first dog to realize the puppy is staying. By the end of three weeks it should (hopefully) accept the new normal and soon after, start loving the pup!
How You Can Help
- Walk both dogs together
- Intervene when puppy energy is too high
- Separate food and water bowls
- Show preference to your first dog (and give it treats first)
- Separate ‘safe spaces’
- Get the puppy in training