We’re Getting a Puppy: What Will Our Three Dogs Think?


Q: We have a new puppy coming to the house on Wednesday. we have three older dogs that are here and we don’t know how to introduce the puppy to the three dogs. Should we have the puppy in a crate outside and have the three dogs discover the puppy or do we just bring the puppy into the house with the three dogs already there? Do you have any suggestions?. Our one rescue dog is possessive of me and growls at the other two. But no previous puppy experience. D. W., Cyberspace

A: Wednesday? This week? Ideal if your dogs have prior positive experiences with puppies. No time to make that happen now. I assume that at the very least your trio are friendly or at least benign when it comes to seeing other dogs on the street. If your current canine family isn’t positively predisposed to dogs they’ve never previously met, you will more likely have a problem. Especially, if that’s the case – and either way, you may consider heeding additional help from a certified animal behavior consultant or dog trainer.

Introduce the dogs on leash at a novel but fun location, such as a park the dogs don’t typically visit. Ideally, the puppy arrives in a separate car.And they all are given rewards (likely high value treats) for appropriate behavior near the puppy. Insure the introductions are controlled, but do you best to make it all fun!

Once you arrive home, keep the puppy inside a second bedroom, kitchen (behind dog gates), den, office or another room that a human is frequently in. Periodically, supervised and with other dogs on leash and getting treats, they are briefly and frequently re-introduced. If every time you see me, twenty dollars falls from the sky – you’d want to see more often. That’s the idea, as your threesome get amazing treats only when the pup is in sight.

The puppy should be crate trained. Being inside the crate the pup is protected; the crate will assist in house-training, and inside the crate the puppy can’t get into trouble when you’re not supervising.  However, think about it from you puppy’s perspective, the crate is not a place like a jail. And treats for the puppy are always associated with the crate.

More on crate training, and puppy rearing 101.