Introducing a Puppy Bitch to an
Adult Bitch - Please Help?
Two Beautiful Cocker Spaniels!
I have a 14 month old bitch and I'm about to get another female puppy, can anyone tell me the best way to introduce them?
And what are two female dogs like together?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
Depending upon the dog, adulthood is normally reached at 12 months but could take as long as 18 months to 2 years.
Adolescent puppies living in the same household, can be quite unruly and 'squabbles' often break out - twice the mischief, twice the work.
If you feel your existing bitch has fully reached adulthood, go for it!
If you decide to go for another puppy, there are one or two things to consider:
The gender of your puppies shouldn't really be a problem, however, their individual personalities may influence their behavior towards one another.
It's often recommended to have the bitches spayed; apart from the health benefits, it may help them to become calmer. I recommend that you speak to your vet for further advice on this.
It's important that your existing puppy is well-trained and well-mannered. Dogs and puppies learn from each other and if one is behaving badly, the other may emulate this behavior. On the positive side, if both dogs are well-trained you'll have less to worry about.
If the older puppy is not trained as well as you might like, then I'd recommend you begin again now, before you bring another puppy into the household.
I strongly recommend you take care to remain the 'alpha' in the family so that your dogs follow your lead; they must understand and respect that you are their leader.
Thereafter, your puppies should be allowed to settle the remaining hierarchy between themselves. As you see a hierarchy develop, I recommend you reinforce it, for example, by feeding the more dominant puppy first and giving your attention to her first.
Be aware of how much attention you give your new puppy - don't leave the existing puppy 'out in the cold' as this may cause her some anxiety and aggression or behavioral problems may develop.
If one of your puppies is always getting into 'trouble' it may be that she's displaying such attenting seeking behavior because she's feeling left out.
Time For The Puppies To Meet
When it's time for the puppies to meet, I recommend you do so in neutral territory, however, with an un-vaccinated puppy this is not always easy.
Perhaps you could arrange a meeting at the breeders first? If the puppies appear to get on well together - good! If not, it may be a time to re-think the choice of puppy, and/or an indication of how much work you've got in front of you.
The way you behave will have an influence on how the dogs react to one another. Remain calm and in control, don't get excited or try to cajole the dogs into 'liking' each other.
They will pick up on your feelings and emotions. If you're anxious, they'll know it, and will become anxious themselves.
Stay positive and let them get on with it unless things get a bit rough, in which case you should quietly intervene.
I hope this has been helpful, and wish you luck!