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How Will Your Older Dog React to a Younger Dog in the Home? It’s Up to You!

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Jessie, the dog who thinks she’s a movie critic:  I just heard about a movie starring Jeff Bridges called “The Dog Year.” It is about a struggling and angry writer who brings a younger dog into his home that is already residence to two older dogs. The story primarily revolves around Jeff trying to tame and train this formerly abused dog who seems wildly out of control. The two older dogs look on with equal parts disinterest and intrigue. So…just how do you introduce a younger dog to an older dog? Here are a few tips:

Sometimes, when folks have an older dog, they like to bring in a younger dog to provide companionship for the older dog. You just never know, however, how things will turn out when you bring home a one-year-old dog and introduce it to your 12-year-old dog. That represents a huge gap in development. It could work out well, or the older dog could become quite annoyed with the new, loud, energetic addition.

Don’t force the two to become fast friends. Sure, have them spend time together, but if fighting ensues, do not tolerate that.

Provide ample exercise time for the younger dog. Be sure to schedule time to do activities with both dogs and reward good behavior. Take a short walk with them or have them both sit next to you while you watch a movie. If both behave well, be sure to give them lots of positive attention.

Be sure to teach the younger dog basic skills, such as sit, down, and stay. These will come in handy when managing his behavior.

Do not allow the dogs to be together alone at home until you are confident they will get along well.

(Thanks for Mary Burch at for this great information!)


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