How to Know If Your Dog Will Like a Puppy

You’re ready to adopt a new puppy. You want to bring them home, and so does your family! This article will show you if your dog will like a puppy:

Different dogs will respond differently to puppies. In general, it’s a better idea to adopt a dog of the same age. Younger, active dogs will do better with puppies than older, mellow dogs. Some dogs are nurturing and enjoy being around puppies.

In this article, I’ll discuss the factors you need to know:

  • Factors that will make your dog more likely to enjoy a puppy
  • Why you should consider adopting a dog of the same age
  • Tips for introducing your puppy and your dog
  • The benefits and drawbacks to adopting a puppy when you already have an older dog at home.


Your Dog is More Likely to Like a Puppy If They Are…

Below is a list of factors that can help your dog get along with a puppy. Keep in mind that there are exceptions to all of these, however!

Very different dogs can live happily together in a household, and sometimes very similar dogs still don’t get along.

This list is simply meant to help you determine whether your dog will get along with a puppy. Keep your own dog in mind while reading and make an educated guess based on this information and your knowledge of your dog.


Younger Dogs Get On With Puppies More

Younger dogs are more likely to get along with puppies than senior dogs. This is because their energy levels are higher, which allows them to keep up better with a puppy!

Dogs closer in age can also grow up alongside each other. For instance, if your dog is only one year old then by the time your puppy reaches adulthood, you might barely notice the difference in age.

Senior dogs might get aggravated with puppies who are always trying to play while they would rather nap. A puppy bouncing around your house can be an unwelcome addition for them.

A hyper puppy might also hurt a senior dog, especially if the puppy is large or the senior dog has health problems such as arthritis.

There are, of course, ways to stop your puppy from pestering your dog, which I’ll delve into below.


Active Dogs Get On With Puppies Better

Active dogs can keep up better with a puppy’s activity levels, and are more likely to enjoy playing with them. More mellow dogs might not like all the energy your puppy has.

Even breeds with lower energy levels tend to be more hyper than puppies, so it’s important to keep in mind whether your dog will love playing throughout the day, or whether you think this will bother them.


A Nurturing Dog Will Look After the Puppy

My dog Charlie loves babies—both human babies and puppies! He’s naturally a caretaker and will look out for the little ones.

If your dog is similar, they will be more likely to take to a new puppy in the house.


Used to Other Dogs

Dogs who have grown up around other dogs are more likely to get along with them because they’ve been socialized.

For instance, a dog living in a home where puppies are fostered, and who interacts often with the foster puppies, will be more likely to accept one moving into the home permanently.

A dog who’s been living in a single-dog home their entire life might not like the feeling of not being an “only child” anymore.

If you’re always bringing your dog to the dog park to meet others or they’ve lived with other dogs throughout their life, this is a good sign that they’ll accept a new puppy moving in.


Similar Breeds, or Size of Breed when Grown

Imagine a small breed of puppy barking and nipping at an older, larger dog’s ankles. Or a large breed puppy growing much bigger than a small breed dog and trying to jump on them in play.

You can see why the older dogs might not enjoy this!

Sometimes, dogs and puppies get along better if they’re similar breeds. They are the same size (when grown), enjoy the same activities, and are perhaps similar in personality. All of these things will help them to get along.


Consider Adopting a Dog of the Same Age

Sometimes it’s not the right time for a puppy. If you already have an older dog, it’s possible now is not the right time for you.

After all, you don’t want your dog to feel left out or constantly annoyed by the puppy.

Consider adopting a dog closer to your dog’s age instead. This will make them more likely to get along. It’ll also save a life—adult dogs are much less likely to be adopted out by rescues and shelters than puppies.

Remember that puppies only stay little for a short amount of time—most are fully grown by one year of age, except giant breeds that are fully grown by two years old.

Some benefits of adopting a dog of the same age as your current dog include:

  • Similar activity levels
  • Similar sizes since your new dog will be fully-grown
  • Rescuing an adult dog is saving a life!
  • Older dogs need less training
  • More predictable size, appearance, and personality than a puppy
  • Rescuing a dog is cheaper than buying a puppy from a breeder
  • You can be sure you aren’t supporting puppy mills or bad breeding practices


Tips for Introducing a New Puppy to Your Dog

The only way to know for sure if your dog will like a puppy is to introduce them.

Even if your dog has been around other dogs or puppies before, there is no guarantee they will like the specific puppy you bring home. It’s kind of like how even the friendliest people don’t like everyone they meet.

If you think your dog will do well with a new puppy, the tips below will help you reach success!


If Possible, Introduce Before Adoption

When adopting a new pet, the best-case scenario is that you can introduce them to all family members before they come home—including other pets! This makes the transition easier for the new puppy or dog.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible, so it’s best to come as close as you can.

If you’re able to introduce your dog to the new puppy before adoption, it gives you an opportunity to see if they’re a good fit. Just like you might be meeting multiple pups to find the right one for you, it might be nice to allow your dog to do the same.


Utilize a Neutral Setting

If you cannot introduce your dog and puppy before adoption, consider choosing a neutral setting to introduce them in. This will make them less likely to be territorial.

If your dog is growling at your puppy and sees them as an invader in their home, that’s not a good way to begin the relationship!

But if they meet at a dog park, they might be more accepting, and then the transition from park to home will become easier now that they’re acquainted with one another.

I know I once found a loose dog and hooked it to my dog’s chain until we could find the owner. My usually-friendly dog Charlie didn’t like this strange dog using his stuff and snarled through the door!

If this was a dog my family planned to keep, that would’ve been a problem. Charlie’s never had any trouble with dogs he met at the park, though, or even those that come into the yard while he’s on his leash.

The right first impression is super important!


Keep them Leashed

When making introductions, keep your puppy and your dog both leashed. This gives you control over both if they need space or become aggressive toward one another.

Consider letting your dog off leash first if all goes well, and letting them interact with the puppy at their pace.

An excitable puppy might be ready to jump all over your dog, but they might end up moving too fast, annoying your dog, or even hurting them unintentionally.

If the puppy is leashed, your dog can pull away when they like and move closer to sniff, interact, or play as they desire as well.


Set Boundaries

A healthy relationship needs healthy boundaries. Your puppy can’t be bouncing all over your dog 24/7. This will likely annoy your dog and might even damage their relationship.

A teething puppy must learn not to bite your dog.

An older dog needs to learn to be gentle with a puppy because they’re smaller.

On their own, your dogs will establish boundaries and make clear when they’ve had enough. Maybe your dog growls at your puppy when they climb on top of them.

Enforce this boundary by taking the puppy away and playing with them outside, or going on a walk around the block.

By enforcing boundaries in this way, you lessen the chance of your dogs not getting along, disliking each other, or fighting.


Give Puppy Plenty of Exercise

Both of your dogs should be receiving plenty of exercise, but if there’s an age gap, then it’s even more important that your puppy gets the exercise they need!

You don’t want them pestering your dog all day because they’re bored and hyper.

If you’re unsure how much exercise your puppy needs, research their breed (or a similar breed if you’re unsure) or ask your veterinarian for advice.

Typically, puppies want to play in short bursts through the day, while dogs have more endurance for longer activities such as a hike or a long walk around the neighborhood (depending on their breed).

Most breeds need at least one daily walk as well as playtime, but many need more than this!


Pay Attention to them Equally

It can be tempting to give all of your attention to your new puppy. First of all, they’re so fluffy and cute!

You also want to get to know them, while you already know your older dog. And puppies need more care when it comes to training, socialization, and exercise.

It’s important that you don’t forget to give your dog just as much love as they were receiving before—if not more! You don’t want them to feel left out, jealous, or neglected.

If they feel that way, they might associate those feelings with the puppy. This could damage their relationship. It’ll also harm their relationship with you if they are feeling like you’ve replaced them.


Benefits to Having a Puppy and a Dog

Someone to Socialize With

Adopting a new puppy can give your dog someone of the same species to socialize with, which can be very beneficial!

Dogs are social animals. Expecting them to never interact with other dogs is like expecting us not to interact with other people. (Though, sometimes living in a cabin full of dogs with no other people in sight does sound appealing…)


Playtime is More Fun

Our dogs love playing with us, but we aren’t other dogs—and many of them would prefer another furry friend to play with!

I know when my dog sees other dogs playing, he gets very jealous and wants to join them immediately.

While you’ll still have to interact and play with both your dog and your puppy, they can keep each other entertained when you’re busy.


Can Keep Old Dogs Active

Sometimes adopting a puppy can bring new life to an adult dog. It’s like they thrive with the energy the puppy brings into your home!

They may begin to play more, or maybe they want to go on more walks because your puppy is going, and they don’t want to miss out.

Of course, staying active is good for any dog’s health, especially as they age. Just be sure not to let them overdo it!


Some Dogs Enjoy Caretaking

Some dogs just love puppies. They want to take care of them and don’t mind if they’re a little bothersome. These dogs are happy to lie down and let the puppy climb all over them or gnaw on their ears during the teething phase.

They’re gentle with the puppy and tolerant. These dogs are the best dogs to introduce a new puppy to because they will interact kindly!


Drawbacks to Having a Puppy and a Dog

A Puppy Might Annoy Your Dog

If your dog is well past the puppy stage, having a hyperactive bundle of fur might annoy them more than anything.

They might prefer a dog their own age or even to be left alone entirely. Maybe they’re fine being single dogs, especially if it’s been this way their whole lives!


They May not get Along

When we adopt a new pet, we sometimes have this rosy picture where they become the best friends in the world.

It’s important to acknowledge that this might not happen.

Maybe your dog and puppy won’t get along at all, and you have to interfere to ensure boundaries are enforced, and no one gets hurt.

More commonly, your dog and your puppy will be just okay with one another. An older dog will keep their distance from the puppy and enforce boundaries to teach the puppy to do the same.

This is an excellent thing! Your dogs really don’t have to be best friends; they just need to coexist peacefully.


More Expensive

Of course, having two dogs is more expensive than one. Your food costs and veterinary bills will double. If you bring your dogs to the groomers, be sure to account for this cost as well.

Having two wonderful pups is worth the cost if you can afford it! But if your budget can’t handle it at the moment, maybe hold off on adopting a new puppy.


More Time Investment

A puppy isn’t just a financial investment. They will take time and energy as well—likely more so than your older dog.

Puppies need to be trained and socialized. They’ll need to learn potty training, basic commands, and how to walk on a leash.

They also need plenty of exercise and playtime with you, and will demand a lot of attention.

Young puppies can’t be left alone for long periods like your older dog can. For instance, a two-month-old puppy can only be left alone for a maximum of two hours.

Leaving for a full work day can’t be done with a puppy unless your family can be home caring for them. 

In addition to all of this, you’ll have to ensure you’re still paying attention to your older dog and meeting all of their needs.

Sometimes this can be difficult to balance, especially if you have a busy life already.


Behavioral Problems

It’s possible that your dog will develop behavioral problems due to the stress of having a new puppy in their life.

They might become territorial, which can result in potty training regression, resource guarding, or in some cases, aggression.

They may fear the puppy, which can cause anxiety and the behavioral problems that come with it.

Major life changes like bringing a new puppy home can sometimes throw a dog off, especially if they’re older and unused to change.


Puppies Take Up Space

If you live in a small home or yard, it might not be a good idea to adopt a new puppy.

For instance, my family hasn’t adopted a second dog because we live in a small home with multiple pets already. Our yard also isn’t fenced, meaning letting two dogs outside would pose a challenge.

Think about all the things your puppy will need, such as toys, bedding, and a crate (if you’re crate training them). Make sure you have room for all of this and for your puppy and dog to have fun indoors and out!


Clean-Up is Doubled

Think about all of the work you do to keep your house clean with one dog: vacuuming, sweeping fur off the furniture, washing their bedding, wiping their dirty paw prints off the floors when it rains…

This will be doubled if you bring a new puppy home. In fact, your new puppy might even be messier because they haven’t learned household rules or manners yet!


Playtime is Noisier

My dog Charlie has a friend who visits us occasionally. When she’s here, playtime gets way noisier than when he’s on his own!

They jump around, growl playfully, and sometimes bark at one another.

This might be too much for you, others in the household, or the neighbors. For instance, my cats sometimes get scared by the play-fighting and run to hide!


Writer: Katelynn Sobus

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