Achieving Balance and Harmony

DOG CARE

Introducing puppy to older dogs

Dear Cesar,

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


Cesar Millan's answer

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. 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 you can do for the older dogs to coexist peacefully with the puppy is to tire out the little guy. Start walking and training the puppy as soon as possible. Make sure your puppy and senior dogs get along by matching the puppy 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 making this dog feel, ”This is my puppy.”

Constant supervision is absolutely a must, even 5-month old puppies still need to be supervised, so take the time and enjoy the journey. When you can’t be there to supervise, exercise the puppy before crating him. He will naturally want to rest. But don't over do it, crating a puppy all the time until it is big enough is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Crating doesn’t create social skills and social skills are what are going to get him through. Of course always consult a professional.

Stay calm and assertive,

Cesar Millan

How many dogs do you have and how old are they?

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