How to Introduce a Puppy to Your Older Dog

Should you get a puppy if you have an older dog?

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
4-minute read
Episode #110

Question #3 – Will A Puppy Affect Your Older Dog’s Quality of Life?

By the way, before you decide that the villain is the older dog who dislikes puppies, remind yourself that she was there first. Life with a puppy wouldn’t be any more fun for her than life with her would be fun for the puppy. Of course, if you have a large house, plenty of open space for exercise, and terrific dog-management skills, you can raise a puppy even if your older dog isn’t a fan. And it’s okay to adopt a puppy for your own sake. Just make sure that the pup’s presence doesn’t diminish your older dog’s quality of life.

Question #4 - Will the Puppy Wear Out the Older Dog?

Make sure your puppy has plenty of outlets for his energy that don’t involve pestering your older dog.

So – your dog is basically healthy and loves other dogs, especially puppies; you bring her along to the shelter for introductions, which go swimmingly; your adoption application has been approved; you bring Puppalini home. Welcome to your new career as playground supervisor. Puppies have a lot more energy than middle-aged and older dogs do If you haven’t had a puppy in a while, it’s easy to forget just how rowdy they can be. Puppalini may well liven up Dogalini’s life, but don’t let him wear her out.

Make sure your puppy has plenty of outlets for his energy that don’t involve pestering your older dog. Schedule playtime and fun training time just for him and you. Take him to a well-run puppy play group, or a reward-based puppy manners class that includes play breaks. Better yet, do both! Provide him with satisfying chew toys so he has something to exercise his jaws on besides Dogalini’s ears and your hands. And a housetraining side note: Watch your puppy like a hawk when he and your older dog play together. Vigorous play stimulates poop and pee.


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).