Introducing a New Puppy to a Senior Dog

I was asked a good question today….

“May I ask your opinion about introducing an older puppy/young adult to our 10 year old dog?  In your experience, is a 10 month old still “puppy” enough to successfully integrate with an older dog?”

In general, it is easier to introduce an older puppy/young adult to a home with a senior dog than it is to introduce a young puppy.  As I sit here this morning with six 8 week old puppies running around the room, nipping at my feet, actively playing with each other…doing what 8 week old puppies are supposed to do…I have my 9 year old male safely in his crate in the other room so that he will not have to suffer the indignity of socializing with the “unsophisticated”.  Some seniors are tolerant but most are more sedate and set in their ways and the introduction of a young puppy is a harsh disruption to their daily routine.  An older puppy/young adult has gone through those rowdy early months and is more settled, more “civilized”, and if it has been raised by a breeder, you can be assured that it has been well-raised and well-trained.  It will be much more likely to make an easy transition to a new home with a senior dog.

Adopting an older puppy or young adult can be the perfect situation for many people but not an option that everyone is aware of.  As breeders, we will frequently have young dogs that don’t quite turn out the way that we hope and rather than keep them on in the breeding program, we choose to find them a great “forever home”.  We may have a lovely bitch that has given us a litter or two but she has now earned her “forever home” and while we love her, we can only keep so many dogs.  Where I live, a kennel license (and a lot of “hoop jumping”) is required if you have four or more dogs so I try to keep my numbers under four.  For the breeder, it means making some very difficult decisions.  For someone looking for a companion dog, it means an opportunity to purchase a dog that has been well-raised and well-trained.  You may miss out on those cute, early weeks when your dog is a puppy but you also avoid housebreaking issues, chewing, and other negative aspects of raising a puppy.  If your home includes a senior dog, it may thank you for bringing home a more civilized new friend.  🙂

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