When we got Murphy, I said a little bit about our reasons for adding a third dog to the family and why the timing made sense, and I expressed my optimism that with a little time and effort, our older dogs would be great friends and mentors to a pup. And if you're looking for advice on introducing a new puppy to a couple of established older dogs, I might have a chance to go into that in more detail at some point, but the short version is that:
- We make sure to always give the adult dogs a way to get away from the puppy if he becomes irritating.
- We interrupt the puppy and redirect him to something else if he plays too rough or if the adult dogs show any signs of stress or avoidance with him.
- We always supervise their interactions, crating or gating the puppy away from the adult dogs if we can't pay enough attention to them.
- We give the adult dogs plenty of individual attention in their own training and play sessions separate from the puppy.
What I didn't realize was how much and how quickly the the older dogs would take to Murphy. Comet, in particular, doesn't typically express a lot of interest in playing with other dogs—with the notable exception of Jax—and he seems to find puppies irritating a lot of the time.
But really quickly, Comet began seeking out Murph when Murph was at least moderately calm (earlier photo evidence from Instagram here), and by now, Comet will actively let him play, especially when Murphy comes to grab a toy that's in Comet's mouth for a game of tug. Instead of stiffening, dropping the toy, or warning Murphy away from it, Comet will actually entertain the game!
Jax is the one I thought would warm up to Murphy more quickly, and he has fallen right into the role of mentor and wrestling instructor like he was born to it. He'll let Murphy body-check him, nip at him, grab his tail, and he'll play right back. Even better, if Murphy overdoes it, Jax will stop playing for a second or even walk away, so Murphy is learning good boundaries without having Jax get to the point of really reacting negatively.
Seeing them all have so much fun on a beautiful afternoon in the back yard is just a joyful experience, and I feel really lucky to have such a lovely young dog to complement my wonderful older guys.