Introducing a Labradoodle puppy to an older dog should be done carefully. Keep meetings short to begin with, and pay close attention to the older dog’s reactions.
Even the most social adult dog might not take too kindly to a new puppy. Puppies aren’t great at reading other dogs’ body language. So, you need to be ready to step in if your older dog is feeling stressed or annoyed.
Following the tips in this guide will stop older dogs from feeling resentful, and help your Labradoodle get along with your older dog.
Introducing a Labradoodle Puppy to an Older Dog – Step by Step
- Arriving home
- The first meeting
- On leash meetings
- Supervised backyard time
- Calm time indoors
- Other useful tips
You can click the links above to jump straight to the step that you’re working on. But, if it’s your first time reading this guide, we would recommend reading the entire thing through.
Why Would My Dogs Not Get Along?
Puppies are adorable! Especially Labradoodle puppies. So why on earth would your older dog object to the family’s new addition?
No matter how friendly and loving your current dog is, they may not get along with your Labradoodle puppy straight away.
Because puppies are annoying! They shove, they bite, they have no sense of personal space or when to stop a game.
And they fail to read other dogs’ body language, or verbal cues, which should let them know their companion is fed up.
So, you need to be ready to help make sure that your older dog doesn’t end up feeling resentful. Or worse.
Introducing two dogs is a process that should not be rushed, and might even end up taking a couple of weeks to do in a steady and controlled manner.
When your new Labradoodle puppy arrives home at 8 weeks old, she will feel quite nervous and overwhelmed.
She doesn’t know how lovely you are yet, just that she’s been taken away from her family and plonked somewhere new.
Don’t make introductions straight away, even though this is obviously a very exciting moment.
For now, you should keep your Labradoodle puppy and new dog in separate parts of the house, where they can’t see or interact with one another. Especially without your supervision.
Older dogs often already have access to the full house. But, with puppies, it can help to restrict their access to one room.
Let the puppy settle in, have a pee in the backyard and get accustomed to the room she will be staying in for now.
Where to Keep Your Puppy
To make your puppy’s transition home as easy as possible, set up a crate inside a puppy playpen in the room they will be spending most of their time in for now.
Kitchens are ideal for this as they have wipe-clean floors!
At each entrance to the room, put a baby gate or another barrier.
The First Meeting
A great way to do initial meetings between dogs is with a physical barrier between them.
Baby gates are ideal for this as dogs can see through them, but most can’t or won’t jump over them in an indoor setting.
Wait until your puppy has recently peed, so that you don’t risk any accidents. Then, with them at one side of the barrier, let your older dog into the room on the other side.
Watch how they behave.
The puppy might whine or bark asking to get to the older dog. Don’t worry, just ignore any noise she makes.
Watch your Older Dog’s Reactions
The most important thing in this initial meeting is how your older dog is reacting.
Are they watching the puppy with a loose relaxed posture and wagging tail, or are they stiff?
Rigid body language and watching the puppy out the corner of their eye is a sign that your older dog isn’t happy.
If your older dog is unhappy, then keep these gate meetings short. No more than five minutes at a time, periodically throughout the day.
When the older dog looks relaxed and happy, you can move on to on leash meetings.
A Quick Guide to Dog Body Language
Knowing the warning signs when introducing a Labradoodle puppy to an older dog is vital.
Here are some common warning signs that your dog might not be happy with your Labradoodle puppy’s behavior.
Some are obvious, some are more subtle:
- Showing teeth and gums
- Looking at the puppy out of the side of their eye
- Showing the whites of their eyes
- Stiff posture
- Rigid legs and/or back and/or tail
- Attempts to escape or hide
If you see any of these signs during their interactions, keep meetings very short and make sure that the puppy is contained or the older dog is able to escape.
Some signs that the process of introducing a Labradoodle puppy to an older dog is going well include:
- Play bowing
- Puppy doing it’s own thing when warned with a growl
- Relaxed wagging tails
On Leash Meetings
Once your dogs are happy and calm meeting each other through a physical barrier, you can introduce them in the same room.
Put a harness and leash onto your puppy and let the adult dog into the room.
Sit on a chair at the far end of the room, allowing the adult dog the opportunity to approach the puppy if they choose to do so. They might only want to watch from afar at first!
As long as your older dog doesn’t have any resource guarding issues, then treat streaming them both in this scenario can be really helpful.
Get a friend or another member of the family to help, or throw kibble pieces away from the length of the puppy’s leash towards the older dog at the same rate as you are giving the puppy kibble.
If your older dog seems happy, and shows no signs of upset then move onto some backyard meetings.
Backyard Meetings – Five Minutes Supervised
Let your adult dog into the backyard, then carry the puppy out to meet them.
Pop the puppy by your feet, and let them greet the adult dog. At this stage, you shouldn’t need the leash any more.
Watch your adult dog’s body language carefully.
Most dogs are fairly tolerant of puppies, but even the most chilled out adult finds toddlers irritating after a while.
So keep this first session short.
Increase the Length of Sessions Slowly
If all goes well you can ramp up the time over the next few sessions.
Do them no more than once an hour to give your older dog looks of breathing room and time to get her head around the change!
Up the time no further than 15 minutes in total, supervised.
Calm time indoors
The first few times your dogs meet indoors, make these meetings a few minutes after they have exercised or had some play time, individually.
Not immediately so that they are still fired up, but close enough that they have expended some energy already.
Give each dog a kong filled with something tasty and frozen to distract them.
Have a third spare filled Kong on hand, for when one dog inevitably tries to take both!
Tips for Introducing a Labradoodle Puppy to an Older Dog
Successfully introducing a Labradoodle puppy to an older dog is unlikely to happen immediately.
But you can make the transition as smooth as possible by keeping a few things in mind.
During this period remember to:
- Reinforce calm behavior (with treats and encouragement)
- Separate if either dog is over excited
- Keep crating the puppy at nap and night time
- Give the adult dog space if they need it
- Always train them apart
Over the next few weeks and months your puppy and dog will get used to living together, and hopefully will form a firm bond that will last for years to come.
Are You Introducing a Labradoodle Puppy to an Older Dog?
If you’ve had to introduce a puppy and dog together recently, we’d love to hear if you have any tips to add.
What was your favorite part of the process?