How to Introduce Dogs: Safely Introducing Your New Havanese
If you have existing pets at home, then introducing your new Havanese puppy to them safely is a priority!
Make Sure Your New Puppy Is a Good Fit!
While Havanese are an easygoing and hardy breed, it’s important to understand and respect the limitations of your current resident pets. For example, if you have a geriatric Chihuahua with a history of anxiety then a puppy of any breed may not be the right choice for you at this time.
Where to Introduce Dogs
You should not introduce your new puppy in surroundings where your current dog may be territorial or possessive. While introducing two dogs to each other for the first time, a neutral area outside of the home is ideal, but puppies cannot be on the ground in public places until their vaccinations at 16 weeks old. A friend’s home or your front yard can work as safe substitutes, but if those aren’t possible then choose somewhere indoors that your current dog doesn’t frequent.
How to Introduce Dogs
Regardless of where you introduce them, you should start off by having both dogs on leads. Dogs can sense tension through their leash so it’s important that you remain relaxed and keep the leash slack! Allow the dogs to sniff each other but watch out for any signs of stress or aggression. These can include whale eyeing (showing the whites of their eyes), excessive lip licking, turning away, or “teeing up” to the other dog by placing their head and/or paw above the other dog’s shoulders.
Be aware that a wagging tail does not always mean happiness! If a dog is wagging their tail above their back, that is a sign of high arousal and threat assessment. Since Havanese naturally hold their tail curled above their back, it can be hard to distinguish between their natural tail position and a display of aggression. You should instead observe how tightly their tail is wound above their back in comparison to your dog’s normal tail posture.
If both dog and puppy are behaving calmly or playfully, then you can drop their leads and allow them to interact with more freedom. It’s important to keep in mind that your puppy is still learning about the world and your older dog may need to correct their poor behavior at times. Growls and snaps are how dogs communicate and they should be allowed within reason. Never punish your dog for reacting to the puppy as this can create a negative association, but if your dog acts tense or is trying to escape from the puppy, then separate them. However, if the growls or snaps are followed up by more play behavior, then it is simply your older dog teaching your new puppy better manners!
Your existing dog will take time to adjust to sharing their space with your new Havanese puppy.
To start with, you should consider crate training your puppy so that you can give your older dog undisturbed time around the house. It’s also important to pick up your existing dog’s toys, chews, bed, or food bowl until both dogs are comfortable sharing each other’s space and possessions. It can take awhile for your dog and your new puppy to figure out peaceful coexistence, but it will come with time and patience! Remember that it is perfectly normal for your older dog to correct your puppy, but you should never allow it to reach the point of injury.
To avoid jealousy, you should make sure both your new puppy and your existing dog receive one-on-one time with you.