Sometimes in life we find ourselves in a quandary, do we get another car or not? Do we go there for lunch or here?
Christmas seems to be the traditional time of choice for new puppies, but these are decisions to be made that can be changed.
The decision to get a puppy in a household that already has other dogs can not be so easily changed once the puppy arrives.
The first thing to remember is that when you have a stable pack, they don’t really “hate” anything, they just resent the change in their space, so to speak.
In an already established household 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.
Like us, as parents, they want to raise their children when they still have the energy to keep up with them.
It’s not that the puppies are “obnoxious” to an older dog, they just have another state of mind – think puppy hood versus senior hood.
However, in order to be around the older dogs, the puppy should already have his social skills in place.
So the day has come when you bring the puppy home.
The first advice is to have tired him out.
An older dog will always accept the introduction of the puppy if it isn’t tearing around and hanging off his ears.
Think about children visiting their grandparents.
Tired kids are the ones who are able to sit down and stay quiet while grandparents read them a book – sadly a dying act these days.
In order for them not to have a bad experience together, make sure you begin with the older dog in mind to guide and take this puppy under his wing because he can also prepare it.
Eventually the parenting instincts can kick in to make this dog feel that this is his puppy.
Constant supervision is an absolute must.
Please don’t get a puppy on Saturday and leave it with the older dog on Monday when you go to work.
There will be teething problems initially with aspects of jealousy and possible aggression and these scenarios can be diffused calmly by you, but only if you are there.
Make sure that the fuss is evenly distributed to both dogs.
If you remember, there is nothing worse than being the new kid at school when everyone sticks together leaving you feeling left out.
Make sure that the older dog can retreat to a quiet place when they need to.
Make sure that you don’t punish the older dog when or if he snaps at the puppy.
He will do this if the puppy is left to investigate, antagonise and generally annoy him for too long initially.
Also, make sure that feeding time is done in order initially.
The older dog will have his routine and he will not want this disrupted by a little one trying to steal his food.
Given time they will eat together, but for the first week or so it is best to feed the puppy in another room and let the older dog eat in peace.
Make sure that you don’t expect your older dog to suddenly take on long walks to accompany the puppy.
Again, think of the grandparents rule – they won’t want to go to the local fair and experience all of the rides but they might enjoy a couple.
Adjustment takes time so please don’t rush the interacting.
Give the dogs time to get to know each other and they should get along fine.
Finally, please give a lot of thought to the breeds.
A great dane could easily mistake a chihuahua as a small toy.
Equally a bouncy spaniel just might be a little too much for a geriatric labrador to accept.