How to Introduce a Puppy to an Adult German Spitz?


Adult German Spitz with a German Spitz puppy

Raising a puppy while you already have another dog is not easy, and it is something that should be thought through a million times before you make the final decision. However, once you do make that decision and you are actually about to bring the puppy into your home, that’s when the real fun starts!

I have done this the wrong way and I have done this the right way, so I have some personal experience that I can share with you. Hopefully, with this post I am able to help some of you and prevent you from making mistakes from the very first moment you introduce your puppy to your adult dog.

So, let’s begin.

Let your dogs meet first on neutral ground

Letting your dogs meet on neutral ground first is really important. Do not simply walk into your home with the puppy in your lap while your adult dog is there waiting for you. No, that would be the mother of all mistakes.

I have two examples of how you could do this: the wrong way and the right way. I will simply give you two real-life examples which should illustrate on how you should introduce the puppy to your adult dog.

Don’t do this

When I got my first German Spitz Mittel puppy I was really excited. I had spent the past five months without any dog at all, so you can imagine the happiness I felt for having this cutest little puppy with me. My sister wanted to see the puppy of course so she invited me over. They had a 3-year-old Miniature Schnauzer and since he was a pretty nice fellow it didn’t even occur to us that he might not like the puppy.

So I went to their house, got in carrying my puppy, and I was greeted by their Schnauzer growling angrily at us. He was not happy with the puppy. Needless to say, things didn’t go very well from there. The Schnauzer simply didn’t accept the puppy into his house once we had started the process in the wrong way.

What we did then was that we took a break and didn’t let these dogs see each other at all for the next couple of months. Then we started the slow re-introducing process by taking them for walks and letting them get to know each other on neutral ground. It was hard. I thought we’d never make it. But you know what? The two dogs, my sister’s Miniature Schnauzer and my German Spitz Mittel – both male dogs – became the best of buddies in the end.

Do this instead

Two years after the incident I described earlier I was about to get a second German Spitz Mittel. My first puppy had become a 2-year-old young adult and I thought it would be the right time for a new puppy.

When I went to get the new puppy from the breeder’s house I took my adult Mittel with me, so that he would get to meet all of the puppies of the litter and see what was going on. This was a good idea as he could clearly see that we took one of the puppies with us.

Then when we came to our home we didn’t go straight inside even though the two dogs had already met at the time. I wanted to do everything by the book so I first took my dogs in a place where they could meet on so-called neutral ground.

Then when everything went well and looked fine I thought we were ready to get inside the house.

There were never any problems. My adult German Spitz accepted the puppy right away. In fact, it looked like he was happy to be getting a buddy to play with.

I have a video clip of the two. This is filmed about a couple of days after my puppy had come to live with us.

There is no such thing as ‘too careful’

As you can see in the video the German Spitz puppy is really small. Well, so is a puppy of any breed when you compare them to the adult dogs of the same breed. This means that you should always be careful when you introduce a puppy to an adult.

If the adult dog doesn’t like the puppy – and not all dogs do – he could even end up physically hurting the puppy. Not to mention the psychological consequences that an unpleasant encounter with an adult dog could do to the puppy. Imagine: you are supposed to socialize the puppy and then he ends up being scared of other dogs!

Even when it seems like everything is going well you still need to remain careful. For example, for several weeks I never left my two dogs in the house unsupervised. Whenever I had errands to run I either took both or one of them with me or I had someone in the house taking care of them. As my puppy grew bigger and I had seen in the course of several weeks how they behaved together, I was finally able to trust in them so that I could leave them in the house by themselves.

You shouldn’t rush this process. Take as long as you need. You need to be 100% sure that nothing bad will happen if you leave. There is no such thing as ‘too careful’.

Give the older dog some personal time with you

When you get a puppy it brings a lot of work. You know how you need to train the puppy, and the potty trainingOpens in a new tab.! Oh, it takes months! 

But while training a puppy requires a lot of your attention it is crucial that you do not forget the older dog. He still needs time alone with you, and now especially so. Your older dog needs to feel confident that he is not going to be left out because of the puppy. This helps with your relationship with the adult dog but with the relationship between the adult dog and the puppy, too.

When your older dog feels happy about the living situation it is more likely that he accepts the puppy, too.

This applies to everyone that visits your house. Everyone obviously wants to meet the puppy and people are all over him. Of course, everyone loves puppies! However, it is crucial that the older dog does not feel left out. You might want to remind your visitors that they should always greet the older dog first and only then cuddle with the puppy. Maybe it would be a good idea if somebody took the older dog out for a walk while your visitors could then spend time with the puppy and cuddle as much as they liked?

Getting to know each other

What if things don’t work out?

I was lucky with my two German Spitzes: my older dog immediately accepted the little one and took him under his wings. Plus, having made a mistake in the past I knew at least what not to do, so I was a little bit more experienced at the time.

It could be that you are not as lucky as I was, and there could be problems even if you did everything right. Well, then what?

Most likely your older dog will learn to accept the puppy as time goes by but you need to patient. If things don’t seem to work out for you right away, you could try introducing the two dogs to one another through a fence first. Then you could switch their places so that they could sniff around each other’s smells and get to know each other this way. The sense of smell is the most important one of the dogs’ senses; you could use it to your advantage.  

What’s really effective is called ‘parallel walking’; that’s what we did with my Mittel and my sister’s Miniature Schnauzer over and over again. We went for walks and simply kept on walking together in the same direction.

Dogs are really easy and simple this way. As you keep walking together your dogs will form a bond. They will start thinking that they belong to the same pack. For us, this was by far the most effective way while trying to get our dogs to become friends. And it worked! It took a couple of months but what came out of it was truly amazing: our dogs became the best of friends.

Conclusion

It is a delicate situation when you bring a new puppy into your lives while you already have a dog. There’s so much you need to take into consideration. You need to protect the puppy and make sure he is safe, but at the same time, you should never forget the older dog. In fact, you should give extra special attention to your older dog so that he will not feel left out.

You should be able to read the body language of your dogs. If you know how to, you will be more confident trusting your dogs to play together. If you keep seeing positive signs (like your dogs wanting to play together) you are doing well! My older dog also kept licking the puppy’s face and ears as if taking care of him. That was so endearing!

In case you want to read more about the body language of dogs, you should definitely add this book to your list: On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. It is an excellent book that will most likely open your eyes in a completely different manner. Even if you’ve had dogs a long time you should read this book. You will learn something new.

Anyway, I hope you all the best with your new puppy. If both of your dogs are German Spitzes the chances are that everything will go just fine, because they usually love the company of other dogs.

Recent Posts