Train an Older Dog to Accept a New Puppy

When you bring home a new puppy, your older dog may react with surprise or even aggression. But don’t worry! With the right tools and techniques, you can manage two dogs of different ages in your home.

The first step is to understand what your older dog is thinking when they see this new little creature running around their house.

You can manage two dogs of different ages in your home, with some good behavior management techniques.

You can manage two dogs of different ages in your home, with some good behavior management techniques.

  • Use positive reinforcement to train desired behaviors and set boundaries. If you’ve already started training your puppy, put him on a leash or tether so he doesn’t get into mischief while you’re working with the older dog.
  • Use positive reinforcement by praising both dogs when they are behaving well together and using negative punishment by removing attention (such as stopping petting) when they behave poorly together. For example, if the older dog growls at the puppy but then backs off when you give him attention again, this is an ideal way for both parties to learn how to interact with each other peacefully.

Introduce them on neutral territory.

A good way to introduce your dog to a new puppy is by taking them both to a neutral location, like a park or friend’s house. This way, the older dog can get used to the new pup without feeling threatened in any way. It’s also important that both dogs are leashed while they meet, so that they aren’t able to wander away from one another and have time on their own with each other.

Make it clear that the puppy is the new pack leader.

It can be tough to tell an older dog that he’s no longer the top dog. He’ll have been more or less running the household since he was a puppy, so it’s likely that he’s used to being in charge of his pack—and when you bring home a new member of the family, you’re basically telling him that he’s not going to be running things anymore.

To avoid these issues, make sure you set boundaries for your older dogs from day one: don’t let them boss around or bully your new puppy; don’t let them get away with bad behavior; and don’t let them steal food from their younger brother/sister!

Don’t let the older dog get too rough with the puppy.

When you first introduce your older dog to the new puppy, it’s important not to let them get too rough with each other. Older dogs are much bigger and stronger than puppies, so they can easily hurt the little guy if they aren’t careful. Make sure you have a good hold on both dogs so that neither gets away from you or accidentally hurts the other one.

Also keep in mind that some older dogs aren’t used to playing with puppies and may be afraid of them. Puppies are very unpredictable and don’t know how to interact with an old dog, so sometimes this creates fear in an older dog (and vice versa!).

How to tell if something is wrong.

If you’re seeing signs of aggression (growling, barking, or snapping) from your older dog towards the puppy, it may be time to consult a professional. Aggression is typically a sign that your older dog feels threatened and is unsure of how to handle their new family member. If this happens frequently, it can cause a lot of tension in the home and even lead to behavior problems in the older dog because he doesn’t know how else to communicate his feelings of stress or anxiety.

If you see signs of aggression towards people or other animals outside of playtime with their owner, this can also be concerning. It’s important that everyone understands what is acceptable behavior when interacting with both dogs so that neither feels threatened by another’s actions.

Keep an eye on their body language during playtime.

It’s important to watch your dogs’ body language during playtime. If you notice that one dog is getting too rough with the other, or if one dog is feeling threatened or anxious and not enjoying himself, intervene before things escalate further.

Use positive reinforcement to teach desired behaviors and set boundaries.

Dogs learn best through positive reinforcement. If you’re able to teach your dog what you want him to do, and provide rewards for doing so, he’ll be more likely to repeat the behavior.

Once you’ve established a bond with your new puppy, begin training him using positive reinforcement. Use treats and toys as rewards for desired behaviors like sitting or lying down; when the puppy lies down while on her leash, say “down” in an excited tone of voice and give her a treat.

Once you have established some basic behaviors like “sit,” “down,” “stay,” etc., introduce them into playtime with each other at first in short bursts of time until both dogs are comfortable playing together and sharing toys without getting tangled up in each other’s leashes—this may take several weeks!

How to tell if things are going well.

If things are going well and your older dog is accepting the new puppy, you may notice some of these changes in behavior.

  • Your older dog will be calmer and less likely to develop behavioral problems.
  • He’ll be healthier and less likely to get sick.
  • He’ll be less likely to get bored, so he may spend less time chewing on furniture or digging up your garden when left alone for long periods of time (or if you are gone overnight).


Congratulations on your new puppy! We hope you’re enjoying the happy times and furry snuggles that come with this new little addition to your home. Training an older dog to accept a puppy may seem stressful at first—but we know it will work out.