How to ensure your older dog gets on with your new puppy

How to ensure your older dog gets on with your new puppy

If you already own one dog, at some stage the idea might cross your mind to get a second, and for many people, this means choosing a puppy rather than a second adult dog. There are of course pros and cons to choosing a puppy instead of an older dog to add to an existing dog’s home, but puppies tend to be better accepted by older dogs than fellow adults, and picking a pup means that you can train them and establish their routine in the way that suits you best.

On the flipside, some older dogs will find puppies hard work, as they can naturally be quite boisterous and demanding of attention, which can lead to problems whilst settling a new puppy into your home.

In this article we will provide some tips and advice on how to ensure your older dog gets on with your new puppy. Read on to learn more.

Choosing the right puppy

Before you even get as far as bringing your new puppy home and establishing them in your home with another dog, you need to ensure that you choose the right type of puppy to buy. Picking the right puppy can take a long time, even when you’ve narrowed it down to dogs of a certain breed, and you need to factor in everything from the dog’s core traits to your own lifestyle, family dynamic, and what you want to do with your dog.

When you already own one dog, you also need to make a sensible choice of pup that will fit in with the household balance, accounting for the other dog too. All puppies tend to be boisterous, playful and demanding, but some breeds and types of dogs will be more so than others – and this may suit an outgoing, social older dog, but be a poor fit for a quieter one.

Additionally, think about the physical logistics of things too – if your older dog is a delicate small breed like a Chihuahua, choosing a large, dominant breed for your pup is likely to introduce more challenges that might be best avoided.

The older dog’s temperament should be considered carefully too when looking for the right fit – how social are they, how playful are they, how dominant are they? A good match between the two breeds in terms of intelligence and energy levels will also help to make life easier.

Introductions outside of the home

Before you commit to purchasing your new pup, it is a good idea to allow your older dog and the pup to meet on neutral territory outside of the home. This might not be straightforward to arrange for younger puppies, as they cannot be exposed to strange dogs until they have had their vaccinations. However, if you pick a puppy that will be ready to go at 12 weeks of age or older (as recommended by the Kennel Club in the best interests of the pups) this should not be an issue.

Discuss your plans with the breeder, be prepared to show proof that your older dog is vaccinated, and you should be able to arrange a first introduction to see how well the dogs get on before you give a final yes or no on the purchase.

Responsible puppy sellers want their pups to go to good homes, so whilst you should expect caution from breeders over potentially introducing a dog from outside, good breeders will help you to make sure you’re making the right choice in any way they can that doesn’t harm their own interests or the health of their dogs.

When you bring the pup home for the first time

Bringing a new puppy into an older dog’s home will often go off without a hitch and the pup and older dog will accept each other or get on immediately, but some older dogs will be rather more speculative, particularly when they realise the new dog is coming in and staying!

Don’t let the older dog greet the pup in the doorway, where they might instinctively defend the entrance from the pup – introduce them in a large-ish room or area of the home where the dogs don’t have to get too close to each other, and consider keeping both dogs on a lead initially, particularly the pup and if you are unsure of how the adult dog will react, them too.

If your older dog isn’t already tolerant of other dogs in their home, even with proper introductions and with dogs they know well, this is something you will need to work on and resolve before you consider buying a puppy.

Let the older dog approach the pup rather than the other way around and vitally, let the dogs get to grips with each other on their own and in their own time – do not interfere or intervene unless one of the dogs is in danger.

For your two dogs to get on, they need to establish their relationships with each other and determine their own rules, and human intervention usually hinders rather than helps with this.

Rules, routine and attention

You should set rules, parameters and a routine for your new pup from as soon as you bring them home, and doing this will make it easier for both the dogs and yourself in the long run. When it comes to feeding the dogs, make sure they are fed far enough apart that neither bothers the other, and feed the older dog first if mealtimes turn into a problem.

Ensure that you continue to give your older dog plenty of attention and that you don’t let the pup push them out, and split your time between both dogs equally when it comes to walks and play.



Pets for studWanted pets

Accessories & services

Knowledge hub


Support & safety portal
Pets for saleAll Pets for sale