Your Questions: How can I make sure my 7-year-old Labradoodle gets on well with our new puppy?

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Q. I have a very well-behaved 7-year-old Labradoodle. She is great and has been part of the family since she was a puppy. We are getting a new puppy which is exciting and worrying at the same time. How can we make sure that all runs smoothly? Lee, London

A. It has been a long time since you have had a puppy in the house and many people forget how much work you have to put into them to get a well-mannered dog. Like people, no two pooches are the same. Your new pup may react totally differently to how your old dog would have done, so be prepared for new situations to overcome.

The top priority is your older dog. If you get consent from the breeder, I would take her along to visit the new addition. This meeting should be handled carefully; let the breeder hold the pup, keep your dog on the lead, let them sniff for a few seconds and then lead your dog away. This is great because when the new member of the family arrives at home it will not be an intruder since they will have already met. It is important that both dogs have separate areas.

The puppy has its playpen and crate where you can put him if he is getting up to too much mischief or needs to crash out. Your Labradoodle will already have her bed somewhere in the house; I would restrict the puppy access to it until they are completely comfortable with each other.

Canines will fight over resources so make sure there is enough for both of your pets. Get lots of new toys, have them in easy reach for your dogs so they don't have to fight over them. Also add another water bowl so if one runs out there won't be squabbles over the other one. Never, ever feed your dogs out of the same bowl! This is a recipe for disaster.

Another resource is your time and love. Most of your time will be taken up by the new puppy and your older dog may get jealous so you need to spend quality time with her as well. Always remember who came first.

Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended

petscorner@independent.co.uk

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