How to Prep Your 'Top Dog' Before Bringing a Puppy Home

By PetMD Editorial on Sep. 2, 2009

Updated on May 20, 2019

A new puppy is an exciting addition to any household. But if you have been a one-dog family up to this point, then you might need to prepare for the big meeting to ensure an easy transition for your current pup.

Here are some key tips for introducing a new puppy to your dog.

Consider Your Current Dog’s Temperament

Before bringing a puppy home, think about your resident dog’s personality. If he’s a friendly dog who loves to play with other dogs on a regular basis, the introduction could be very easy.

If, however, he’s more of a lone wolf without much experience with other dogs, it could take a while for him to adjust. You know your dog best, so you will need to keep that in mind when deciding how to introduce your dogs.

Remove Any Dog Items to Prevent Tension

When introducing a new puppy to your dog, it should always be outdoors on neutral ground. However, it’s still a good idea to do a quick check around your house and temporarily remove potential sources of tension, like food bowls, toys and bedding. This will help stop any possessiveness, which could lead to dog-dog aggression.

Have a Friend Help With the Introduction

When introducing a new puppy to your dog, you will want to have a friend present to help create a controlled and safe environment. Once you reach neutral ground, you can have your friend hold the leash for your new puppy while you have control over your current dog.

Take the dogs on a walk together while keeping them several feet apart. If both are exhibiting appropriate body language, gradually bring them closer together.

Go slowly, and let them get used to being in the same space with each other. Then, if both dogs seem happily interested in one another, drop the leashes and let them say hello.

Expect Your Dog to Give Corrections to Your Puppy

Puppy play can be overwhelming for some adult dogs, so don’t be surprised if your resident dog disciplines your puppy’s overzealous requests with a snarl or snap.

A quick canine correction when your puppy gets too pushy is acceptable, but watch out for excessive force or an unwillingness to back down when your puppy retreats.

Take a break and separate them if your resident dog over-disciplines your puppy.


Remember That Playtime Is Important

It’s important to let the dogs play together as they adjust to each other, as well as have separate playtimes. Even if your dogs adore frolicking together, you should schedule breaks, as exuberant, nonstop play can quickly tip from fun to inappropriate.

Give Each Dog Some One-on-One Time With You

Remember—your top dog is used to having you to himself, so don’t forget to spend time with just him on a regular basis. You don’t want your dog to become jealous of the new puppy.

By making sure he has one-on-one time with you, you can help ease any resentment towards the new puppy. And, you’ll need to spend time with just the puppy, too. Of course, you should not forget to spend time with them together, either.

Follow these easy tips for introducing a new puppy to your dog, and you’ll soon have two happy, well-adjusted dogs to love and play with.

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