My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

Multi-dog Household: Your first dog not liking your new addition? – See more at:


Is your adult dog not liking your new pup/dog? Not sure if what you are seeing is normal or not? Look at “Is This Okay? Typical Interactions between Puppies and Adult Dogs.”

If you are still concerned, here are a few things you can try that should help smooth over the introductory period:

• Separation
Keep your dogs separated until they don’t care about each other. This may be a few hours or days. When one is out in the house with you, the other is crated. If crating is tough, use a gate or close him in another room; just be sure no one will be opening that door unexpectedly.

• Near Is Dear
If your adult dog is none too sure about this new addition, play the My Smart Puppy game, “Near Is Dear.” The short course is, put your dog on leash, grab some treats and, standing out of sight of your new companion, ignore your unhappy dog. Stand still, don’t look at him. Then step into view of your new addition (at a distance please) – wake up, smile, praise, treat, your dog is the best dog ever! Then step away/out of sight and turn off your attention like a faucet. Ignore him. Do not look at him or touch him. Keep the leash fairly short so he can’t wander, count to ten then do it again!

Message to the adult dog? Being near this puppy makes good things happen. When your dog is happy with that, start working him on his basic commands—sit, down, come, back up—this prepares him to listen in the presence of this new, wonderful distraction.

• Puppy equals praise
Or… ignore your resident dog totally for the next few days except when he happens to be near the puppy’s crate. Then praise him warmly.

• Common scents
Take two towels. Rub each down with both then put that towel on a favorite sleeping spot, under the food dish or, if your dog doesn’t rip things up, in his crate.

• Get help
In the rare event that your adult dog is persistently aggressive toward the puppy—standing tail up, staring at him growling, barking hysterically or standing with his head low, and tail stiff, and motionless (how he looks when he sees a squirrel)—please get some hands-on coaching on how to manage the introduction from an experienced dog professional.

Warning: Toy breed dogs need special consideration. They must be protected from a larger dog’s responses. Greeting through baby gates, keeping the smaller dog on your lap, putting your larger dog on leash, taking things slow, and interrupting vigorous play are all ways of keeping your tiny toy safer. Also, back him up. If your toy breed tells your larger dog/puppy “Enough, Stop” you block your larger dog away from him. No means No.

Also, dogs of wildly different sizes need to be separated when left alone. This is not optional. When a simple playful action from a larger dog can injure a toy dog, then separation is the only way to ensure safety.

Here at My Smart Puppy, many of use live with and love multiple dogs. It can work really well. Even dogs who aren’t completely sold on the idea often come around with time.

Good luck and stop by the forums with any specific issues you may be having.

by Sarah Wilson

Author of handbooks: My Smart Puppy (book with DVD) and Childproofing Your Dog

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