Introducing Your New Puppy to Your Dog


Are you planning to get a new puppy and worried about introducing him into a household that already has a dog as the long-standing family pet? This can be a stressful time for the dog that has already established his territory with both the home as well as all members of your family.

When you add another dog or puppy to your household, you should be prepared for the work ahead. You’ll have to juggle a balancing act between housebreaking and behavior training your new puppy while at the same time keeping your resident dog in a state of comfort and love. Here are a few tips to make the job easier:

  •  Introduce your dog and your new puppy in a neutral place. If you’re getting the puppy at a shelter, ask if you can bring over your dog for a meet and greet. Alternatively, when you arrive home with the new puppy, have someone take your resident dog out for a walk while you take the puppy for a walk then just happen to meet up along the way!
  •  In order to keep things from getting out of hand, you might want to separate the dogs for a period of time. Your pet will know there is another dog in the home by his scent. Create an atmosphere that is conducive to them getting to know each other.
  •  Establish a routine that involves both dogs. Try not to favor one over the other but treat them equally. If you give one dog a treat, make sure you give the other dog a treat–but, when you see a hierarchy developing, honor that hierarchy by giving the treat to the “boss” dog first.
  •  Do not feel you have to intercede in everything they do. Your resident dog not only asserts his dominance, but may growl at the new dog, eat his food, and generally play in a rough manner. This is normal. The new dog will have to play a subordinate role until the hierarchy is established.
  •  Try to let the two dogs establish a hierarchy the natural way. Sometimes it’s best not to get too involved with this process because it may affect the way your dogs relate to each other. When dogs establish their hierarchy, they do not care who was there first, who is the oldest, or who is the toughest. Instead, they base it on which one is more responsible.
  •  Take your resident walk out for a walk. Let him know that you are still there for him and you have not changed his routine simply because there is another dog in the house. If he acts out against the new pup, call to him to come to another room. Play and interact with him. Use constant praise when he listens and offer a treat when he obeys your commands.
  •  Be prepared for your dog to start acting like a puppy when you bring home your new dog in terms of jealousy and attention. A perfect example of this behavior can be seen when you are playing with both dogs. One dog wants to grab all of the toys and not let the other pup have any. You need to understand that this is just the way the dog is attempting to establish his hierarchy. It’s best not interrupt this process by taking the toys away from the more dominant dog and giving them to the other one.
  •  Don’t yell if a fight breaks out; you’ll feed that tension and make it worse.If it doesn’t look like a dangerous fight, simply get up and walk right outside as fast as you can, audibly shutting the door as you leave. Do not say anything, do not yell, just get up and go. Your dogs are fighting for your attention and once you leave the room, they have nothing to compete against each other for and will stop fighting. The only time you should become involved is if they constantly fight.
  •  Feed your dogs separately for a time. They don’t have to eat in different rooms but at least place the food bowls at opposite ends of the room.
  •  Feed your older dog first while using a leash to hold back the new dog until you can get his food bowl on the floor.

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits,, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.

  • AliceCass

    My grandson just got an adorable new puppy. Old pet has been barking nonstop since new puppy came into house. Family read all the hints about introducing on neutral ground with leashes, but old dog continues to viciously attack new puppy, and barkd all nite. They are ready to give new pupppy away already. Situation seems undoable. Please help. Boy needs the new puppy. Thanks.

    • I’ll pass this question along to our Ask the Trainer columnist, Colleen Safford! In the meantime, I’d say be sure they give the older dog plenty of attention (not just shared fun with the puppy but attention just for him), a separate space, and keep the food and water bowls (and other things they value such as toys and beds) far apart. Long walks will help, too; as the dogs walk together, they’ll bond (and the long walks will tire them out so they’ll be less likely to be annoyed with each other.) A baby gate might be necessary for a while to keep the dogs out of each other’s way if the attacks are physical and not just fussiness!

  • Kim N

    We just got a new puppy. He is a male. We have a two year old male. They are getting alone but will not stop humping each other. What can I do?

  • Jenn

    Hi. We have had our dog Scooter since he was 6 weeks old. He is now 4 and has been our “baby” and center of attention since he was a puppy. We just rescued another dog like Scooter. He is also a terrier. He is a 6 month old male puppy. Our dog scooter has been very sad and mooping around. We are trying to praise both dogs and show scooter we still love him even though the new puppy is here. Do you have any advice to help scooter adjust to a new puppy in the home? Thank you so much.