Introducing a new puppy

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How to introduce a new puppy: behaviourist Claire Arrowsmith advises a reader on how to introduce a puppy to their existing dog...

(Q) Please can you give me some information on introducing a new puppy to my existing dog? Should my existing dog be made to feel she is top dog or should they both be treated as equals?

(A) Behaviourist Claire Arrowsmith says: It's important that your bitch is made to feel secure and happy when the puppy arrives. The dogs should both be given plenty of choices over sleeping areas and toys so that your bitch doesn't feel stressed at suddenly having to share.

Eventually, they should bond and may choose to sleep together, but this shouldn't be forced upon them. It can be useful to have a separate area to place your puppy so that your bitch gets a break at times during the day in addition to her normal walks. This is important for your puppy too, so that he avoids growing up too dependent on your adult dog.

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Usually consistency is the most critical factor in maintaining good relations with dogs. Prior to getting your puppy I would make sure that you instil some good ground rules that you would like both dogs to follow. Think about reducing any extra fussing or attention your bitch gets from you so that she feels less change when the puppy arrives. Make sure you then praise your bitch and provide her with nice things when the puppy is around so she builds up good associations with him.

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