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Help Your Dog Deal with a New Pup Arrival

PetSmart Terry McManus / myPetSmart.com

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Let’s say you want to bring home an irresistible little puppy for your child. Great - except for one potential problem: You’ve already had a dog for years, and he has never shared his space with another pooch.

Suddenly, your old friend may wonder why he has to compete for attention and love from you. Will jealousy get the better of him and cause him to act out?

Liz Simpson is the owner-manager of a dog wash salon in Glendale, Arizona and a longtime Pet Parent of multiple dogs with experience in introducing new members to the family pack. She says patience, commitment and consistency are needed at all times, and offers some tips to help make the new arrangement a happy one.

1. Educate yourself about dog behavior, especially their confrontation warning signs. Simpson recommends two books on the subject: How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind and How to Speak Dog, both by Stanley Coren.

2. In a neutral spot, such as a neighborhood park, and with each dog on a leash, begin the introduction slowly. Allow only a few minutes of interaction at first. Then walk the dogs home with you in the middle as a separation.

3. Be sure that you've removed all toys, chews, bones and any favorite items of the resident dog before allowing the new one into your home. You may reintroduce those items gradually after a couple of weeks - making sure the dogs are not together when you do. 

4. Your new pup will need to learn the house rules and pack hierarchy, Simpson says. So let your older dog teach the newbie, but don't let confrontations escalate into attacks. Make a loud noise or use a forceful voice to stop a fight. If this fails, put a chair or other large object in between them. Never use your hands to separate your dogs at their heads, as they may accidentally bite you.

5. Be sure to give your dogs plenty of one-on-one attention away from each other so they feel special. Also, designate a neutral space (such as a crate or room) for each dog, so they can retreat there as needed. Give food, bones and treats in this space only.

6. Last, says Simpson, praise positive interactions in a happy voice, but use a stern tone to interrupt growling or bullying behavior. Separate the bullying dog for a few minutes of time-out and then try again.

More information on how to introduce your new dog to other pets including cats.

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