The Pets Doc

Dr. Kevin Watkins, DVM

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The Puppy Diaries Part 2 – Introducing New Pets To The Household

In case you didn’t tune in last month, the Watkins family has a new puppy. We’ve spent the last six weeks with our newest family member teaching him the rules of the house and, of course, falling in love. Jovie has had a lot of successes and a few mistakes. But so far, I’m extremely happy with his progress.

A common challenge facing many families with a new puppy is an older dog’s jealousy, and ours has been no exception. Until now, Danny Boy, our 6-year-old border collie, has never had any canine competition for our attention or affections, and he was less than enamored with our new addition.

When Jovie first arrived, Danny was clearly feeling jealous. Whenever we gave attention to Jovie, Danny would place himself between us and Jovie, insisting that he be petted instead. Our response to this situation was to give Danny extra attention in Jovie’s presence, reassuring him of his privileged status.

It has taken a few weeks, but Danny seems to understand that Jovie is now part of our family, and he has actually become pretty tolerant of his exuberance. In fact, I fuss more at Jovie for abusing Danny than Danny does, although once in a while, Danny does lose his patience with him.

This morning, in fact, Danny gave Jovie a little warning growl because Jovie kept walking back and forth underneath him while he was trying to eat his breakfast. I don’t interfere when Danny asserts himself a little bit. I think it is important that both Danny and Jovie view Danny as a higher ranking member in our pack hierarchy.

All in all, Danny has done an extraordinary job of accepting our new puppy. Jovie thinks Danny is the greatest. They’ve started to play together when they go outside, and they’ve even taken a couple of naps together. I am pleased to see that Danny has become a positive canine role model.

For the past several weeks, we have been focusing on toilet training and getting Jovie to “go” outside in our designated toilet area, also known as “the Danny zone” before Jovie came along. Diligence has been key.

For those of you who get frustrated with the toilet training, I have to admit that we have experienced our share of “pee-pee accidents” on the kitchen floor. But we simply correct him immediately by taking him outside and admonish him to “go pee pee outside” every time. He’s getting the idea.

The important points in this month’s installment are:

Margo Watkins, Pet Behavior Counselor

Pawsitive Pet Behavior Blog