Will My Dog Be Sad if I Get A Puppy?

A couple people have told me they’re concerned I’m getting a puppy.

They’re worried about my 10-year-old dog Ace, that I’ll hurt his feelings, break his heart or that our puppy will be too much for him.

But I know my dog very well, and Ace will be just fine.

Ace has had a good life.

He is a very easygoing guy who goes with the flow. He is accepting of people and dogs and as long as he continues to get plenty of love and attention (which he will), he will adapt.

Remember, we’ve had over 60 dogs come and stay with us over the last 9 years. Ace and my cats are very good with accepting other dogs; they’re used to it.

Most likely what will happen is Ace will engage very little with the puppy, mostly ignoring him. They might play on occasion, and I’m certain Ace will snarl as needed but for the most part he’ll ignore.

This won’t be because of a broken heart or from spite or jealousy.

It will be because Ace is fine with his life as it is. He sleeps most of the day now; he’ll do so in April too.

Will my dog be sad if I get a puppy

This doesn’t mean all older dogs would be fine with a puppy. Some might be very traumatized by it. I’m just saying I know my own dog well as each of you know yours.

I have zero expectations for Ace and my cats. They are free to react to the puppy however they do, and that’s fine.

I have no expectations for any of them to play or cuddle. Most likely they will all ignore the new guy. It will be my job to entertain the puppy.

A puppy will demand a lot of my time and yes I will be stressed and tired and wondering what the hell I’ve done.

As long as I remember to RELAX, have fun and not get too upset with the puppy, Ace will be OK too.

We’ve had about 12 foster dogs and over 50 of my clients’ dogs stay with us over the years.

Ace is used to sharing his space with dogs of all ages and energy levels.

Sammi the cute pitbull mix and Ace

Perhaps he’ll wonder when the pup is leaving, but I don’t think dogs sit and ponder those types of questions.

The puppy is more about me than Ace. Maybe it’s selfish to get a puppy as my current dog is now 10, but I rarely do anything for myself and I want a young dog in my life again.

I don’t have a running buddy, hiking buddy or a dog I can take to agility or obedience classes. (Here’s a cute video of Ace and I during agility years ago!)

Ace is retired from these things and has been for more than a year now.

That’s OK, and he and I have other things we do like short “strolls” or sitting in the grass at the park.

But I miss a young dog.

Some have suggested Ace will see me with the puppy and feel he’s being replaced.

I can’t imagine my dog could comprehend that level of complexity. Those are human issues and emotions, not a dog’s.

Will my dog be sad if I get a puppy?

I doubt it.

Ace knows he is loved. He knows he’s safe and has the things he needs.

He is simply not capable of creating stories of drama and conflict.

Ace is a good boy.

Ace is loved.

That’s all there is to it.

Do any of you have “multiple generations” of dogs in your family?

Let me know in the comments!

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25 thoughts on “Will My Dog Be Sad if I Get A Puppy?”

  1. Sandy Weinstein

    i got a puppy when my oldest gal was 8 yrs old, she was not happy. she had been an only child for 8 yrs. then i got another puppy the following yr. she was really upset. she tolerates them but does not really socialize with them. she is almost 15 yrs old now and the other 2 gals are 5 and 6. she loves it when it is just us, playing or doing something together. she has always been a people person and never really socialized with other dogs any way. so i make time for just her and me.

    1. I love this post! It’s so important to be able to anticipate how your dog will react to a new pet. When I adopted Dakota as a playmate for Ella she was a little jealous at first, but we just had to reinforce that she was going to be given just as much love and attention before. Once she no longer felt threatened, she became best buds with Dakota. They play, sleep, and eat together now and are inseparable!

  2. Our older dog is about 10ish now (age is anyone’s guess as she was an adult rescue, but we’re saying “10ish” as that seems closest). Last summer when she was 9ish, we decided to get a second dog. We didn’t get a puppy only because I didn’t want a puppy. But we adopted an adolescent high energy Border collie (maybe mix). I remember worrying about how my older girl would do. She had been an only dog for 7 years. But she moped for one night when he was really stressed out and out of control. And the next day he got her to play a game of chase with him. And that was it. They’ve been best buds since.

  3. I HAVE A 14YR OLD LAB SHEP MIX, WHEN MY PIT DIED LAST YR MY BOOMER WAS LONELY,SO WE WENT TO BKLYN ACC AND FOUND A NEW BEST FRIEND , IT GAVE BOOMER A NEW LEASE ON LIFE HE IS LIKE A PUPPY AGAIN,SO GOOD TO SEE.LOVE THEM BOTH.

    1. This was our experience as well. When our boy Marley was a Senior, my son adopted a very rambunctious pup. My wife and I were worried that Marley might feel upstaged or angry. I’ve never been so happily proven wrong! At first Marley tried to ignore young Dante similar to how Lindsay anticipates Ace will react. Dante proved to be “unignorable” and pretty soon we started to notice Marley showing Dante the ropes around the house and yard. Like Maryann’s pups, the two became best friends and when we lost Mars two years later, Dante was as heartbroken as the rest of the family. I believe this scenario is way more common than most ppl think. Don’t sell your Senior Pup short! Even grumpy old men have a soft spot for kids. Wishing you all the best with your new pup! Look fwd to hearing Ace’s opinion!

  4. Here is what stresses out some older dogs about puppies: Puppies can be annoying. They invade your space. They jump on you. They nip at you. They zoom around like the idiot babies they are.

    It is the person’s job to make sure that their older dog has space and is not forced to interact with the puppy if they don’t want to. It is the person’s job to correct the puppy so it can learn appropriate behavior. Yes, it is fine for the older dog to snarl or ‘teach’ the puppy what to do or not. But if your calm, mellow older dog is resorting to snarling more than in the rarest of instance, you are probably not stepping in soon enough when you dog is being bothered or pestered.

    Behavior that people see as jealousy or sadness may actually be annoyance and being bothered by the specific actions of the puppy, not its existence in the home.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I think some people even scold the older dog for snarling! You’re right, it’s best to intervene before it gets to that point. In the past, puppies have actually ignored Ace because he typically won’t acknowledge them. We’ll see what happens with this pup. He’ll be on a leash a lot, that is for sure.

  5. When we brought home Scout and Zoey, the biggest issue we had was that Rodrigo wanted to let them know immediately that he was top dog and Sydney didn’t like the noise and drama of two puppies.

    What we found was that we needed to give our adult dogs a break from puppy madness. J would take them outside or in another room. And when they were big enough (and vaccinated) on walks. And I’d stick with our adult dogs. Or vice versa.

    We did this until we created a new, cohesive pack. It took two weeks for Sydney and Rodrigo to realize the puppies were there to stay; it took another month or so for us to develop a solid routine.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Ace is more like Sydney. He might be stressed by all the energy and noise. I think he will be “shocked” at some of the naughty things a puppy will do too like peeing on the floor or chewing things.

  6. Ace and you will be just fine with your new pack member – so enjoy puppyhood and perhaps Ace will even take it upon himself to help you train the pup once he realizes the pup is there to stay 🙂

  7. We have always had multiple animals in our home. At one time, my big girl, Tank, a lab/golden mix, was 13 years old. She was a huge dog, 130 pounds, hence the name, but we all called her a gentle giant as she was accepting of everything. My husband was walking in our neighborhood one late evening when he came across a puppy about 8 weeks old, no owner anywhere, and so he brought the pup home. The little guy immediately navigated to Tank, crawled up on top of her, and fell asleep. Tank took one look, gave a lick, and laid back down and went to sleep herself. As you said, not every dog will react with enthusiasm, but I knew my dog and knew she would be just fine. Also like you, unless imminent harm is expected, I let my animals accept new ones however they see fit.

  8. Nonsense, my mom has had two different puppies now with at least one senior dog in the house and there was no sadness. Actually, the only issue she has had was with Katie when I came home. Katie got seriously depressed, but after a week of mild doggy valium, she and I totally bonded. She was only 4 at the time. The senior dogs do just fine with the puppies.

  9. dear Lindsay
    with all of the experience you’ve had and the expertise you’ve achieved, it seems puzzling why other people would judge your decision. it’s obvious that you know your dog Ace extremely well and given that each situation is unique, you have considered the impact that a new puppy will have on him and have decided on the best course of action for YOUR family. best of luck with this. i’ll look forward to seeing posts of your new pup 🙂

  10. Every dog is different. Stetson is probably most like your Ace. He’s 9 and ignores the puppies when they come into the house. Linus is 11 now and he still likes playing with the puppies, but on his terms. Linus also regulates the house and when the puppies get the zoomies he’s usually the one to shut them down.

  11. I’ll think Ace and your family will be just fine. My only advice is to take lots of photos. The puppy will grow up so fast you will hardly believe it! I wish I had taken more photos with my two. I’ve got mobility issues now so puppies I have to enjoy vicariously through others. My favorite photo is of my two little ones after their first outing which included their first puppy vet check. Once home they zonked out, and I have the best photo of them. It seems like yesterday and it was nine years ago.

  12. I’ve thought about this exact issue with Haley because we’re so bonded but Ace is already used to other dogs, like you mentioned and as long as he gets his special time with you, I bet he’ll be totally fine with the new puppy. Who knows, he might really enjoy having that youthful energy in the house sometimes too. You know your dog best! 🙂 I absolutely LOVED watching the video of you and Ace doing agility!!

  13. I’ve had dogs of all ages living together in past years. Just one now, but we have frequent dog guests. Everyone adjusts, people and animals. Enjoy your new puppy and Ace, as i know you will.

  14. I think, that like many things, it depends. I remember when we took in Bruin (he was not a pup), the first night, Jasmine standing on our bed, staring at him, back at us, back at him, saying, “Ugh, guys, this THING is still here. Can’t you see it?”

    I think accepting any changes boils down to whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Will the older dog’s life improve or get worse? E.g. will he lose some attention and love he used to be getting? Will he lose privileges? Will he be bothered by the puppy, unable to get a moment of peace? OR will he gain something?

  15. Last fall, I brought a 12-week-old puppy home to my 5-6 year old male and my 9-11 year old female. There was no time to prepare because a friend rescued him and he needed a place to crash. I knew my senior girly didn’t particularly enjoy other dogs, but I’d seen her patiently interact and “mother” a neighbor’s puppy. Puppy was pushy at first and he still has no off button at almost 9 months, but between redirects from me and corrections from the girly, he’s learned to respect her HUGE personal space bubble. He loves his crate, so to ensure his safety and her comfort, he is crated to eat and anytime I can’t immediately supervise them, because let’s face it: he’s still a puppy with annoying puppy energy who sometimes forgets his manners when his ball rolls near her. He’ll bark at the ball and as others have said, the “screaming” ticks her off. On the other hand, my older male and the puppy get along great for the most part and spend their days wrestling, playing tag, and playing tug. We actually named the puppy Shadow because he followed his new brother around so much in the first 2 weeks when he didn’t have a name. Shadow has taken the pressure off senior girly to play with the other dog all the time and she seems to be enjoying her “retirement”. She still plays occasionally, but she gets tired faster and get snappy faster if middle boy doesn’t listen to her when she wants to stop. Redirecting him to the puppy and taking girly out of the equation has been great for everyone. The boys will play and wrestle while girly and I will spend some quiet time together watching (she gets belly rubs or brushing). I wasn’t ready for a puppy, but thankfully, it’s turned out to be a great decision for our house. My older male is more active, the puppy is learning manners, and my girl is enjoying her twilight years.

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