Achieving Balance and Harmony

DOG CARE

Introducing Puppy to Older Dogs

Dear Cesar,

Hi there. I have a question. I have a stable pack of three older adults. Since they are getting so old, my husband and I want to add a puppy. We have babysat the puppy of a friend for a weekend, and our dogs hate puppies.

Puppies are ignorant and absurdly brave and curious. Is there any direction on how to get the pup to learn to respect the big dogs without him getting hurt? I am sure, if I leave a pup unsupervised with my geriatric neutered male, the old man will joyously get rid of the puppy problem. I have not found any guidance on this issue. I have not yet got a puppy but want to. The older dogs are not mean, but puppies tend to be obnoxious and old folks still have tempers. I am guessing constant supervision or crating until they are big enough?

Thanks

Deborah Longtin


Dear Deborah,

The first thing to remember is, when you have a stable pack, they don’t “hate” anything. You or someone you know may have caught the episode of Oprah where I showed her how to introduce her new puppies to the very dog-aggressive Sophie. That’s a good visual for you to focus on. In a stable pack, there is always room for growth and change.

The nature of dogs is that they don’t raise puppies when they are advanced in age; just like us, they want to raise their kids when they still have the energy to keep up with them. It’s not that the puppies are “obnoxious” to them - it’s just that they have another state of mind - puppy hood vs. senior hood. In order to be around the older dogs, the puppy has to already have his social skills and his energy drained so they will accept him into the group. Think about kids who are raised by older parents or children visiting their grandparents. Those kids are the ones that are able to sit down in grandma’s lap and stay quiet while she reads them a book.

The best thing we can do for the grandparents to coexist with the children is that we have to get the children tired. In order for them not to have a bad experience together, make sure you begin with the one pack member who is youngest in mind to guide and take this puppy under his wing because he can also prepare it. Eventually the parenting instincts can kick in make this dog feel, ”This is my puppy.

Constant supervision is absolutely a must, and when you can’t be there to supervise, tire the puppy out before crating so it feels more natural to rest. Crating a puppy all the time until it is big enough is absolutely the wrong thing. Crating doesn’t create social skills – and social skills are what are going to get him through. Of course always, always consult a professional, and if your gut feeling tells you there’s a real danger for the puppy, then don’t do it. Always listen to your gut feeling.

Stay calm and assertive,

Cesar Millan

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