My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

Is This Okay? Typical Interactions between Puppies and Adult Dogs


People are often concerned when their adult dog growls at or snarls toward their new pup. Chances are good this is a normal (and needed) canine exchange, but I thought that some guidelines might be useful. I share them here:

Puppy jumps onto older dog with paws or whole body

Typical response? Older dog spins and roars in pup’s face. The older dog may or may not bump or hold down the puppy with a paw. The puppy may squeal in surprise and/or run off. If the puppy comes back harder, jumping back up into the adult’s face, your older dog may need to make his point more firmly. All normal exchanges are brief and to the point. A very tolerant older dog may walk away the first few times but then may lose patience. This is also normal. Worrisome responses include chasing after your puppy and any reaction that lasts more than a few seconds or draws blood.

Puppy comes too close to adult dog chewing a toy

The adult dog may freeze, silently lift a lip, growl, then snap. This is an expected warning sequence that the pup will soon learn to respect. DO NOT SCOLD your adult for this; this is a normal and needed exchange.

Some dogs may leap up and go a step or two toward the puppy (especially toy breeds with larger-breed pups). This may cause the puppy to squeal, run away, cower, grovel back up to the adult or stay well clear. All are normal.

The rare older dog allows the puppy to take the toy. This may mean your adult dog is extremely tolerant or the puppy extremely powerful. Either way, it is not the expected response. Some adults will be very tolerant of pups under four months of age, but that may (and should) change as the pup grows up. The adult dog’s role is to teach your pup safe dog behavior, and that is best learned at home.

Puppy gets in adult dog’s face over and over and over

Intervene! Stop the puppy or let him learn about being a dog, if you trust the adult dog to teach him. If the puppy misses subtle signals, that can force the adult dog to “speak” more clearly. Our personal dogs have raised many a puppy. Any youngster who raced up, slamming into any of our adults, would be corrected for this wildly impolite behavior. If the pup is under four months these corrections will happen quickly and quietly; if he’s over four months, they’ll probably happen more loudly with more forward body motion into the puppy (but still safely). Please do not yell at or scold your older dog for setting reasonable, clear canine boundaries. He’s probably doing you and your pup a favor.

Puppy leaps onto sleeping adult 

Expected responses range from doing nothing to roaring, snapping, standing up and snapping, putting his mouth on the pup’s head or neck (without injury), or putting his paw on top of the pup to hold him down. What you get depends on the size, breed or mix, and age of both your puppy and your adult dog as well as the energy of the contact.

Older dog does harm to the youngster

Be concerned anytime your adult dog follows your puppy around with a stiff tail and low head, which is stalking behavior, or if one dog is deeply frightened of the other. Learning to read canine body language and intention is tricky. If the harm requires veterinary treatment, separate the two dogs while you seek competent professional assistance. If you aren’t sure, ask for help from an experienced dog professional.

Your pup’s “Puppy Pass” expired!

Most adult dogs give young puppies a lot of leeway in their behavior, much as we humans do with toddlers. But as the puppy matures, this “Puppy Pass” generally expires. When it does, frequently around four to six months of age, your adult dog will (sometimes quite suddenly) get down to the serious business of teaching your puppy how to behave in the world of canines. As long as these lessons are taught with restraint and are brief, with no one getting hurt, it is usually safe to let them happen with normal adult dogs. That said, I cannot know what is happening in your home so please – seek qualified professional assistance if you are concerned.

by Sarah Wilson

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


  1. I have an eight week old Maltese(Simba) and a six year old beagle/lab mix(Cole). Cole tends to grab Simba by his neck when they play. My wife thinks it’s getting too rough. Cole’s tail is wagging and it doesn’t seem to be aggressive. Our concern is the Simba is so small. What should we look for to make sure their play is safe? I know that we need to supervise them.

    • Hi Steven – You are probably right that Cole is having fun but the fact that he is having fun doesn’t make what he is doing safe for Simba. Dogs don’t generally gage size differential well and Cole’s play could injure or, yes, kill Simba. Your task is, as you know, to supervise but also to teach Cole how to play with Simba appropriately. Start by insisting Cole lie down when he plays with Simba and no grabbing. For Simba’s part, you need to teach him not to be a brat and to take Cole’s “no” as a “no”. That would be a start.

    • We have a 7 yr old female terrier/poodle mix that has never been with other dogs and has always had anxiety/separation issues, we just got a goldendoodle male 3 month old. We hoped this would help our elder have less anxiety. Our elder is very aggressive to pup but backs away growling and showing teeth at puppy. She does seem like she wants to bite but hasn’t yet. Any advice would be helpful.

      • Hi Maureen – Use crates and gates to separate them so she gets a chance to get used to hm without being hassled by him. As far as she is concerned, a stranger just showed up in her home uninvited. And, BTW, growling and showing her teeth is a solid warning but not “very aggressive”. “Very aggressive” is injuring the pup badly. She is simply trying to keep him at a distance, from the sounds of it. I always separate first so they can get used to each other without intrusion. Good luck!

    • Hi Sarah,

      We have a five year old boxer (Amos) and just got a eight week old boxer (Angus). We tried to do introductions on neutral ground, but Amos kept trying to bite Angus on the face and when we pulled him back would jump and go wild. We then did a fenced meeting, Amos was jumping up and down, panting furiously and very frothy at the mouth. We then did another session without the fence and Amos sniffed but had a happy wagging tail, however he would pin Angus down with his paw and not let him move. Angus rolled over and showed his belly, which was good but if we went to move pup Amos went to bite his face again. how to we make sure Amos doesn’t bite him? Is he meant to pin Angus down with a paw? We are too afraid that he hill hurt pup. Thanks!

      • If you’re nervous, take him for walks together – someone handling each dog and let them get to know each other through a gate in the house so they can see, smell and get used to each other. How socialized is Amos? How trained is Amos? I’d probably start with those two questions.

    • Hello Sarah
      I have a 13 week old puppy poocheon/Yorkshire terrier female while we was at my sons house my puppy got out my son has a staff was very play full with my puppy but pup kept running away now we are home my pup seem very scared keeps crying and sleeping hide between or under our legs wanting to be picked up plz help
      Me and tell me what is wrong with
      My pup

      • Hi Mandy – A larger, enthusiastic dog can hurt a puppy even while not meaning to do harm. What you describe could be pain. I’d check with her vet.

    • We have two older dogs, a Morkie male 10 years old and a Yorkie, female 7 years old. About two months ago we brought home a Male puppy, a Shepard Husky mix. The first few weeks our puppy was pretty mild mannered, and when he wanted to play the older dogs didn’t really enjoy it, but they tolerated it. More recently, he has started to become more rough in his play and is specifically targeting our female yorkie. Our puppy goes for her neck and nips and sometime will push her with his hips. She will bark and try and defend herself but to no avail. We obviously do not let it get out of hand and he does not play with our Morkie male the same way. He paws at him but does not go after his neck. The Morkie and yorkie are basically the same size.

      • Time for training of your pup (class or private work), a leash on in the house so you can get a hold of your pup when things get too rough and giving your little ones safe harbor from your now much larger pup. Good luck – Sarah

    • Hello Sarah,

      This is such a useful article. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I tried browsing through the comments to find a situation more similar to mine, however can’t seem to find one.

      I have a 7 year old male golden retriever who acts like a grumpy old man around hyper puppy dogs. He recently snapped at a 5 month old lab who was jumping at every human and dog. I tried to keep the puppy away from my dog earlier, and the owner said just push the puppy away if she jumps on you. And when we weren’t looking, she got snapped by my golden.

      Next thing we know she has two wounds from the snap. She was taken to vet and thankfully no stitches. We’re paying for the vet bill.

      I’m trying to understand why the snap was that bad. Was he trying to correct the puppy or lost his patience. How common is a puppy/dog getting accidental injury from being corrected? My golden is so sweet to humans and doesn’t care too much about other dogs. But an active puppy at his face is a no go. And how would we correct or train him out of it when we don’t have a puppy to trigger that?

      • Hi – Well, if your dog had “told” the pup multiples times to quit and the pup did not then he told the pup in a stronger way. Or, if the pup, after multiple warnings, lept on your dog or on you, that might have triggered a loss of some patience. 5 months is the age when adults often start expecting more from a pup and tolerating less inappropriate behavior. The answer? Avoid any dog of any age that out of control. Imagine how you’d feel with a preteen leaping at you, touching you and getting in your face after multiple requests to stop? You’d get away from such a situation. Do that for your dog.

    • I have a 7 year old Jack Russell who has beef our only dog, we got him when he was about 12 weeks old. And about a week ago we got a 6 week old German Shepherd, and my Jack Russel hasn’t been the same since. He seems to be mad at me. The puppy goes to play with him and he runs away, he does growl at him he won’t let the puppy near him, however he walks to the puppy and smells him. I don’t want the Jack Russel to be mad, or not be happy. And I don’t want my puppy to feel like he’s not loved because the Jack Russell won’t play with him. Is this normal? What can I do?

      • Hi Jessica – Give your Jack Russell a minute. He may never have seen such a young pup nor did he request a roommate. In a couple of weeks, they will probably be playing nonstop. If you do training and games every so often and for a few minutes when your pup is crated for a nap, that should help your JRT feel better.

        • Hi, I just got an 8 week old mini golden doodle. I currently have a 6 year old weimardoodle as well, both females. Upon meeting, the older dog just wanted to sniff the puppy and wouldn’t stop following and sniffing. When the puppy is in her kennel, the older dog is fine and just does her own thing but each time I’ve had them together, the older dog just wants to sniff and be right behind the puppy, though doesn’t seem aggressive. I closely monitor when they’re together and this is only day 2. I have been giving them both lots of alone one on one time with me as well and have their food and stuff in separate rooms. I’m just concerned because right now the older dog is much bigger than the puppy, and want to do everything I can to help them get along. Any suggestions or do I just need to give it more time?

          • Hi, That all sounds pretty standard. The size difference is a concern so you’re doing the right thing. My guess is they’ll be playful with each other soon and that you’re about to have a fun summer!

  2. I just got a new dog, Bentley, he’s a cocker spaniel and we have an adult dog his name is Kobe. Bentley is 3 months. And he’s really small. Idk if they r playing or not. Kobe likes to growl and run at Bentley. But his tail is still wagging. Is that good or bad?

    • Hi Kennedi – No way for me to know from here. Do you have a dog savvy friend to ask or can you post a video clip to look at?

    • I got my puppy at 4 months as a rescue pup and have a 12 year old. Up to now my old boy has firmly kept the pup in her place but now my pup is 1, she’s getting a little cheeky. Today my old boy and her got in to a bit of a fight, the pup stepped down quickly but I’m concerned that she’s not learned my boy is too dog. Is it possible she is trying to become top dog even though he’s a boy?

      • Absolutely. Gender has no real impact on who is #1 and often younger dogs pass their elders in line. The good news? Dogs usually don’t really care too much as long as their spot is clear to them. If this is happening, treating her as #1 can ease tensions between them.

  3. This was a GREAT article!! Thank you so much!!! I have a 50pound collie mix and two new puppies, a shorkie (2lbs) and Yorkie(3lbs). We know about the whole two puppy concerns, the second was unplanned hahah
    Sometimes they are totally fine, then she growls at them (which is normal of course). We don’t understand why one minute she is fine with what they are doing, then she is not? Are we just missing her signals to the puppies to stop? Is this normal for her to change so quickly? Like I said, it is normal behavior, nothing violent, but we just do t get why she lets them in her face one second while wagging her tail, and then all of a sudden she doesn’t.
    Another question: if a dog were to exhibit non normal behavior, would it be likely to see that within the beggining of having the puppies? Or can it still develop after 4 weeks of normal behavior? Our mix is aggressive towards most other dogs, out of fear, but not towards a few dogs she knows well.
    I get every case is different, and I so appreciate any response I may get!

    • Hi Sydney – with such tiny pups, I would gate your adult dog off from them much of the time as it is a lot to ask any dog to handle two pups at the same time. I’d let her interact with one at a time until each pup has a good relationship with her and then I’d let them all interact. Even a small mistake made by your adult dog could harm/kill one of your tiny pups so go slow, praise her good behavior, let her set reasonable limits and if you are unsure find good local help to guide you. Sarah

  4. We just got a German wired hair pointer puppy, he is only 6 weeks old. We have a 6 year old black lab. When we try to work with them getting to know each other the lab will sit down and turn his back to me when I am holding the puppy. He has snipped at him once. Just curious if you think that is a bad sign of our lab putting his back to the puppy.

    • Hi Madison – Your lab is avoiding the pup, which can be quite normal. I’d use gates to separate the two so your lab can get used to your youngster slowly without the pup climbing on him or trying to nurse (which such young pups almost always do). Take things slow, praise your lab for calm behavior and let your pup grow up a bit. Sarah

    • Hi i have a 3 year old staffie and a 9 week old Frenchy is it normal for my staffie to be over excited i had the frenchy for 2 days
      My staffie is over excited normally anyhow but was just wondering

      • Could be. No idea what “over excited” looks like. Keep an eye on the interactions, as you would between an older/larger child and a younger/smaller one.

      • I have a male Morgie of eight years old. I also have a 15-year-old Maltese female. I will be bringing home a 19 week old Schiphol tomorrow. I cannot introduce them outside because my more key is not gracious to other dogs outside. He has always been fine with dogs that people have brought into my house. But they will always females.Do you think that a male puppy is OK for him to adjust to?

  5. I got a new 4 month old pitbull and i have a 5year old beagle mix with jack russle terrier. the pup has been here for 2 days and it seems like sometimes my older dog just gets in these moods, shes tolerant one moment then the next shes snapping ex; earlier today they where sleeping on the older dogs bed together, and then later on the older dog started growling and snapped at the pup for walking by her bed. the pup loves my older dog, but my older dog sometimes will growl when she gets to close to her bed and even snap at her, or if we are all eating and the pup comes near her even if she isnt eating (im wondering if this is more of my older pup is possessive of the thing, although she never growls with humans). We try not to reprimand the older dog when she does this, but sometimes i feel she snaps for no reason, she has never bitten the pup or anything, and she wouldn’t let the pup sniff her at first at least now she still gets tense but she will allow it (unless the pup does sudden movements then she will growl). another concern is since the pup is a pit bull, I don’t want her to become dog aggressive because of this. how do i get them to like each other or at least co-live so i don’t have to be scared every time the two of them are close to each other (which seems to be often since the pup likes going near her)

    • Hi – You might try removing the bed for now and upping space games and basics with both dogs, esp. your older one. Those exercises (from My Smart Puppy) give you a way to calmly and clearly correct your adult dog without adding emotion to the situation or upsetting the puppy. Good luck – Sarah

  6. We got a new puppy about a month ago it’s a pug mix she is now 3 months old my older jack russel who is 7 snarled and snapped at her a couple days in now a month later he avoids her for the most part only curious to sniff her back end if she is on leash off leash he will growl a bit and run off my other dog a female 4 year old pug loves the baby and is doing great with her at this point we are just taking it slow with the older male letting him take his time and hoping like with the other dog he will come around as the baby gets bigger

  7. Hi, I have an 11-week old (rescue) pup, Zoey. I introduced her to my adult (normally docile) long-hair chihuahua, Winston. Winston has been snarling, barking, and has bitten Zoey, twice, leaving small scratches on her nose. My husband and I are constantly intervening, and keeping them apart for a short break from each other. The pup is now distancing herself from us. She seems depressed, or scared, not sure which. I don’t know what to do about Winston’s behavior. He normally plays very well with other dogs in our home.

    • Hi Lina – sounds like your pup is scaring Winston. Zoey needs help learning to be gentle and respecting Winston’s warnings before he fires off. Getting some good local hands on help could allow you to see what happens before Winston’s reactions. Until then I would keep Zoey on leash around him. Help her to sit or lie down instead of come into his space and pet her/praise her for those better choices. “Scolding” does no good if the one being scolded has no idea what they did wrong or how to do it better. That may be why she is confused. Good luck!

  8. Hi Sarah, My dog is a 1 and a half year-old boston terrier and my mom just got a 1 month old boston terrier. Theyre from different parents. My boston and I visit often, and when they interact for the most part is seems friendly. Though I’m curious to know how my dog is responding to the new puppy. I’d love a list of good interactions versus bad. My dog was avoidant of the puppy at first but now chases the pup and will snip at her face the way she does when she plays with other dogs, the pup does the same. I feel like this is play and fun interaction, though i cant be sure.

    • As long as the play is relatively calm and mutual, it is generally okay. Meaning, both dogs take turns being the chaser and the chasee. If one dog is more forceful and the other is always hiding then it is not okay.

  9. Hi I jus got a 6 week old American bull dog and all ready have a 1 yr old American bull they are actually from same parents. My older bitch keeps lunging at her and when layed down with me she tries putting her head in her mouth it worries me as the pup is so small also my older dog isnt growling or snarling or showing any signs of aggression honestly her expression never changes. I cant tell if she is jus trying t play or what. Sometimes her tail is wagging but other times not.
    Any advise would be much appreciated

    • A 6 week old pup is too young to be adopted but that horse has left the barn. So, at such a young age, I would manage all interactions between the two closely. Using crates and gates to keep the pup safe and so your older dog can get used to the pup safely. Direct interactions are kept to a couple of times daily well away from favorite spots or anything worth defending. Good luck!

  10. If I did not know better I would think you were talking about our dogs. We have a 4 1/2 year old German Shepherd mix (128#) and a 6 1/2 week old yellow lab (8.5#). We were concerned about the size/weight/age difference but the older/larger dog is so tolerant and corrects the behavior of the puppy exactly as you described in the article. They play tug a war, chase each other around and the older watches out for him when they go outside. Larger dog is always gentle and seems to know where the puppy is and exactly what type of correction is needed. Thanks for the article.

  11. Hi.. My boyfriend and I have just recently added a new puppy to the family. We currently have a 8 year old border collie mix and just brought home a 2 month old shep/hound cross. My collie greeted him with a wagging tail and all was well at first. Then she became irritated when he was playing by himself with a toy in the kitchen and went over there growling. It seemed almost as if she wanted to get in there but she was also mad. If he comes anywhere near her she’s snarling (correcting him before he’s done anything). I always let her correct him if he’s being too pushy. She is normally very dog friendly.. Goes to dog runs all the time. It seems like more of a possessive/jealous issue but I’m not sure how to correct it. Any ideas ?

    • Hi Chelsea – Is your BC mix getting a break from the pup? Are you using gates to manage interactions? An older female BC is likely to have all sorts of rules around proper behavior. BC can consider 3 feet away “intimate contact” so her growling as he approaches does not surprise.

      If his play is too rough (even with a toy) or too near you she may intervene. BC can have many, many rules. If she’s well socialized and loves other dogs I’d be more prone to believing her rather than doubting her. What do other dogs like of your pup?

  12. Love this forum! Great info. I need some help… We got a 7 week old male shepherd from the same parents we got our 7 month old Male Shepherd. Our older boy is very friendly with pup, but totally crossing the line of what I feel is annoying and bossy. I am correcting the following behaviors the best I can: He constantly herds the pup, won’t let the pup have any toy without taking it from him (even toys he never liked before and new ones we bought last night) follows the pups every move, even tried to lay on the pup 3 times when pup appeared tired out. He’s in the pups face without end so that we can’t even get near the pup at all. No matter the stern correction we give it’s like he’s got this crazed look on his fac, he’s panting heavily and won’t stop… like he doesn’t hear us. I’m keeping their interactions to about 20 min every 2-3 hours (would give more, but older pup is relentless on the new little guy) and I’m also giving them both 1 on 1 time with me. The issue is now the older pup just seems out of his mind when the little one is crated upstairs. I can’t even spend any alone time with older pup due to he spends the whole time sniffing anywhere the little pup has been. Am I over analyzing or is this perfectly normal?

    • Bringing a pup into the house with you have a pup already is always extra work.

      That sounds like way too much contact and way too much rough contact for your littlest one. Take this as a chance to train your older pup. Help him develop self control and the ability to listen when distracted. Crate your older one when your baby is out.

      Rough play early and often sets the stage for orthopedic issues and, in Shepherds, that is a universally big risk. I would not allow any rough play between a 7-month-old pup and an infant puppy. Risks are simply too high.

      Good luck – Sarah

  13. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the reply.. We are not using gates, however, we are trying to establish a routine for the pup while working on housebreaking him so at the moment he is not allowed upstairs ( all carpet). My collie follows me up there often and also sleeps up there so she does get breaks.

    She seems like she doesn’t mind him so much when we are outside with him.. Even tried to play with him this morning! It’s when we are inside that she gets irritated! I have been for the most part letting her correct as I don’t think she would ever hurt him. Your suggestion about the bc’s having rules is very interesting! It’s quite true.. She seems to consider 3 feet a close enough distance!

    We haven’t been able to take the pup out much except the back yard because we are waiting on his appointment for the remainder of his shots. The cat loves him though! Haha

    I have never had to introduce a new puppy to the household before so it’s nice to get a little insight from others.

    • I would love to know how this relationship worked out in the end, we have an 8 year old pomeranian named Tinkerbell and have recently introduced a 7 week old chow chow puppy named Bear into the house. Tinkerbell was exactly the same as you described when we first brought Bear into the house she was fine, down on her paws tail wagging and that very quickly drained away. Every time Bear goes near her she growls and if he gets too close she shows her teeth and sort of chases him off. She avoids him all the time but seems fine when we’re outside. We can’t walk them together yet either because we are waiting for Bear to get his second injection in 2 weeks time. We are so worried that this relationship isn’t going to work as she just won’t let him anywhere near him and it’s been nearly a week now. Please reply as we are so worried we are going to have to rehome the little guy and we really don’t want to, all Bear wants to do is play with her and even lie by her on the sofa but she is not having any of it. He is constantly barking through the night and has started biting our feet, hands etc… And I am so worried that Tinkerbell is having an effect on Bear and with him being a chow chow we do not want his aggression coming out because of Tinkerbell.

      • Hi – what you describe is pretty normal for some small dogs and as long as Bear is responding by withdrawing politely, I would not worry too much. He may be too rough for her liking or too persistent. And many (most) toy adult dogs will react to a larger puppy lying on top of them. As for the nipping and such, sounds like some good puppy training is in order. Good luck!

  14. Hello,
    This situation is a little hard to explain so please bare with me! I recently got a male shorkie, he is now 4 months old. I bring him over to my family\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s almost everyday, who have an 8 yr. old male silky terrier and two female Yorkies, ages 6 and 4 years old. After about 6 months of my family getting the youngest yorkie the two females started going at it. They fought to the extent of blood shed, so they now are kept on different sides of the house separated by a gate. The youngest is, of course, the most accepting of the puppy, but the other two aren\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t as friendly and playful. I understand they are older and don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t have as much energy, I am just concerned by their growling and snippy attitude. When the two are playing the male watches and starts to growl. He then starts to slowly creep over to the female and tries to mount and penetrate her… I find this very weird and I am wondering if anyone knows why he does this? Is it to relay the message that he is the alpha and this is his house? I try to keep my eyes and ears on them at mostly all times, but I was also curious as to what age they could possibly be left alone at.

    Thank you to whoever hung in there to read this! It is very much appreciated!

  15. I’ve a 11 week old Bichon pup and a 14Yr old Jack Russell. I got the new pup as my kingcharles passed away 2yrs ago only aged 6 and the Jack Russell had no problem with her. But now with the bichon the pup would walk by the Jack Russell and he’d growl straight away. She sometimes sits up besides him and he starts growling with teeth showing. He has snapped at her 3 times now . Any advice

    • How long has it been? What does the JRT do after these displays? What does the pup do? What have you done?

      • Been two weeks since we had her now. He would walk away but she would bark back at him now. All I do is just say stop or have to move them both away from each other.

  16. My adult dog keeps stepping on her puppies that hurts them, as if she doesnt see them or care is this normal?

    • No, it isn’t. Don’t scold her though (as she’s probably unaware and scolding will just confuse her) but keep things very calm around her and give her an easy way to leave the pups so she can exit to greet you, if that’s when she’s doing it.

      I’d talk to her vet about it; some experienced, hands on help would be best for all here.

  17. Hi, we have a 5 year old spayed female long hair mini daushound, Deliala, that we rescued from the pound 4 years ago. We recently adopted an 8 week old female chihuahua, Chloe. From the day we brought Chloe home Deliala has been nudging her and stepping on her. We at first thought Deliala was trying to mother her but we quickly became worried because she won’t stop. It’s like she’s obsessed with nudging and stepping on Chloe, like she can’t stop. Deliala doesn’t growl or bark at Chloe and actually whines if we gate her away from chole. We also have a 80 lb female, spayed Pit, Lola, that does well with both Chloe and Deliala. Deliala does act aggressively towards Lola when Lola tries to sit next to me. So you think Deliala is trying to be motherly or is she being aggressive? What do you think we can do to help Deliala? Thank you for any help you can give!

  18. Hi
    I have a male Maltese who is 3.5 yrs old and we got a female Maltese who is just 3 months old.. my male dog got very excited seeing the pup and he started sniffing the pup .. can my male dog hurt the female pup ? Can they get along well ?

  19. Hi Sarah,
    I have a 2 year old black lab. He is super friendly and loves to be chased at the off lease area. Lately he is growling at any young puppy who comes up to him and start sniffing. It seems most of the pups we run into are other labs. He gets quite agressive but doesn’t ever hurt the other dog. Is there a way to train him to relax around other puppies. especially males.

    • Sorry for the delay but this landed just as I was in the midst a long bout with viral bronchitis.

      Your dog may be outgrowing the dog park. Some dogs do. If he is being “quite aggressive” then he can be harming the other dog mentally, though I am glad he is not physically.

  20. I have 2 sisters that are 3 in human years they have never had a problem but one recently had 4 pups sometimes not the mom but the sister starts growling at them and barking for getting close to her or behind her but most of the time she lets all of them all around her and sleep on her i was wondering if something was wrong because the pups are tiny they could fit in your palm i just dont want one getting hurt.

  21. I have a 3 month old lab shep mix, and also 2 jack russells (1 male,1 female). The male seems to get along with the puppy, but still after 1 minute of them being together the puppy gets on his nerves and the jack russell snaps and i seperate them. I have not allowed the female jack russell to be with the pup yet, other then on opposite sides of the gate. The female seems a little to curious/nervous, and snaps threw the gate. Any feedback on this would help, thankyou.

    • Hi Chris – my guess would be that the puppy is being too physical for your terriers. So, I’d work on head turns and blocking (in My Smart Puppy book) to start teaching the pup to stop when you say stop and then to stop when they say stop.

      When the male snaps at your pup, what does your pup do? Has your female ever harmed another dog?

  22. I have a 10 week old chihuahua puppy (3 pounds) and a very large 8 year old black lab mix (100 pounds). The two dogs have been around each other for a couple of weeks now, and the pup just wants to play with our lab. The lab used to not give him the time of day but recently he’s been getting very rough with him, growling at him and barking in his face. It makes me nervous so we always separate them right away, but I just want them to end up getting along. Thank you!

    • It should make you nervous. That size difference is a big deal. Teach your pup to leave your Lab mix alone. Your lab may be tired of being played with all the time.

      Sometimes when you start setting some boundaries, your older dog can relax a bit. No way for me to know from here and I am glad you’re being cautious. It’s easy for larger dogs to kill tiny pups entirely by accident. A quick muzzle grab on an average-sized pup can be a skull puncture or broken neck on a chihuahua so you have to be cautious.

      Don’t let that make you mad at your Lab mix though. See who is being obnoxious here and it may be your persistent pup. Ask yourself if you would be annoyed if a toddler tried to play with you as much as your pup tries to play with your older dog.

  23. Hi there, I just got a lab mix puppy (Holly) and my older pig cross (shadow) loved her the first day. She was very tolerant and wanted to okay all the time. Now it’s the second day, and after a night of sleeping together. Shadow will growl at Holly when she tries to play. I understand now she won’t let her take food from her bowl and water like yesterday, but she won’t even play with her. Is this okay?

    • Pug cross* sorry ?

    • Hi Camryn – It may be your pup, being young and active, has simply made your older dog sore. Like Granny going out and playing touch football all day. Next day, she might growl at the young’uns, too. Teach Holly to respect Shadow’s growl and give Shadow breaks using gates and crates. After all, this is a big change for Shadow, too. Good luck!

      • We have a 3 year old Sheltie. We also had a 12 year old Sheltie we lost on Easter. We just got an 8 week old Sheltie home and Holly has been tolerant except the puppy launches herself at Holly and then a chase ensues. This scares me because Holly is bigger than the pup. Should I keep them on a leash when they are interacting? At least until the pup is bigger?

        • I’d probably manage their play a bit until your pup gets older but my guess is they will be having a fine time with each other very soon. Congrats on that!

  24. Hello i have a 9yr old female pitty, she’s never done well around other dogs she’s just very dominating. We just got another blue nose pup a little over two months old, male. The older dog hyna will constantly stand over the dog and salivate like crazy. when the pup wants to play and nibble hyna, she will turn to the side and not really look her in the eye. she also constantly grunts over her. also while doing this hyna will push her chin down on the puppy. her tail wags but also the hair on her neck will stand. Should i tell hyna no? or if the puppy is sleeping hyna will keep nudging him and grunting or moaning, is this thing normal? should i let hyna do her thing or should i stop it when it becomes a growl? it is almost constant and hyna will not leave the pup alone, always has to stand above him. Thanks so much!

    • Please get hands-on local help immediately. A wagging tail on a pit can be excitement, not friendliness. What you describe concerns me. A lot. Get help who can see what is happening.

  25. Sarah– We lost our lab of 14 yrs two months ago and recently introduced a new 4 month old German female to the house . We currently have a 3 yr old lab and the female is non stop taking toys ,bones and engaging in constant following with the older lab …basically anything he has i.e. Bones or toys she wants it and growls while trying to get it She is non stop on him .. they both have bones but she’ll get up leave hers to get his –hide his then go back to hers Sometimes it gets loud but it’s non stop We recently introduced a 7week old German male…

    • Hi Steve – Get local help. You need to learn how to stop the female pup with your older dog and will need to stop her, no doubt, with your new pup. Your new pup will need protection from a larger, rougher female. And, if you mean “German Shepherd” then you’ll want to manage their play to protect their joints, as well. You will have your hands full for a couple of years. Good luck!

  26. I have a 10 month old mixed dog. He’s about 50 pounds. We got a new 8 week Old German shepherd puppy. Both dogs are males, the older of which is fixed. My older dog is bullying the little guy. Everytime the puppy moves, my dog stands over him and knocks him over. The puppy tries to run away, but then my dog grabs him with his paws, and pulls him back. Almost as if he’s trying to mount the puppy. It’s hard to tell if I should stop the bullying, or let him establish dominance. During this whole process, my older dogs tail is wagging. But the puppy is scared and doesnt want any part of it. Please help, I don’t know how to handle the situation!

    • Hi Daniel – This landed when I was in Ecuador. Sorry. Hope things have settled in but anytime one dog is bullying about get hands on local help to sort things out. That’s almost never an okay thing for either dog. – Sarah

  27. Hi, my brother currently got a golden retriever puppy. He is about 5 months old. I have a 4 1/2 year old lab mix. He is not aggressive towards other dogs but this is his first time around a puppy. He has lunged and really snapped at the puppy 4 times now. The puppy is pestering him a lot for example, climbs on him, disturbs him when he trying to rest. My dog doesn’t seem to want anything to do with the puppy but the puppy will get in his face and just bark. Since my dog is so big, it really scares my brother and they want to yell at my dog. I think my dog is just trying to tell the puppy to give him his space and doesn’t have the patience for him. My dog had been around every size dog and never once shown any type of aggression so it even scares me a bit to see him snap at the puppy! I am even second guessing my own dog if he would actually hurt the pup or not. therefore, I am now very anxious and tense, which can’t help the situation. I haven’t told my dog off once for snapping at the puppy in hope they will just work it out. Is this the right way to go about it?

    • Your Adult dog needs help. He sounds totally reasonably annoyed and either you stop your pup from annoying him or you force him to try and stop your pup himself. When your lab says “Stop” make sure your pup does and use gates to give your Lab a rest from the young one and get to training your puppy. Good luck!

  28. Great information above! I’m sure you’ve answered this a Thousand times. I just want to be clear. Older Lhasa 11 years. Bad arthritis. Always been nervous and in MEDS for anxiety. I’m guessing pet store rec’d her from puppy mill 🙁 they’re quickly out of business yeah!
    We’ve always gotten a second pup when our older dogs are 10-11 for my sake… Just too sad. So we just got a 8+ Week Shih Tzu which are supposed to be great with animals and kids. ha!! He’s 10 weeks now. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to keep him off the back of older dog. He’s wild! Poor older one has no rest. We are worn out chasing and separating. But love the puppy. He’s not cried one night !!! Sleeps 10 hr night!?! Safe in cage.
    But the second we pick him up he’s biting! Not puppy chew – either. Draws blood on me. Old dog sooo kind. Never hurts him. But does get soo tired. My husband and I disagree about length of time together.
    I say no more 10 min. Or pup is hanging on her back and biting face and legs. Finally he quit trying to nurse. Ugh.. I’ve raised 3dogs. I’ve never had a mean puppy! Even tried holding him down strong – like Dog whisperor when he’s SNARLING and bites me for setting him on puppy pads all the time. He’s VERY STUBBORN. OTHERWISE THERE’S HOPE! I’m wondering if he’s becoming anti social in the cage a lot. But we must keep them apart most of day as well as at night. Both dogs get up on hind legs facing each other appears happy play. But Lhasa can crush him if landing just right. Sorry many questions here.
    Thank-you so much!

  29. Hi, we’ve recently introduced a new welsh terrier puppy into our home at 12 weeks, she is now 5 months old and our 4 year old male welsh terrier is still off towards her after two months. For the most part he restrains himself but has had the odd snap at her as she can be quite excitable and has jumped on his head etc, so that’s understandable. Lately though he’s been snapping at her for no real reason, for instance if he’s led on the sofa and she walks past he will lunge quite nastily. Or when We play ball with them on the beach and he has dropped the ball and lunged and pinned her down, even after her yelping he still kept on. I fear now it has gone past polite correction to him just attacking her for no real reason. Generally he tries to stay out of her way and if they are together we try and make it as calm as possible by training them both with treats. If she starts annoying him we now remove her from the situation as we fear he is just being irritated by her and if he has a go at her for no obvious reason we tell him off, I’m not sure if this is the correct thing to do?

    • Sounds like you need some hands-on help to sort out what is normal and what isn’t. Many adults start to set real lines when pups are five months of age but that may be too far.

      Treats aren’t going to help here much. You need space games – in My Smart Puppy – so you can teach her to stay away from him when he growls or stiffens rather than you simply removing her while she continues to want to interact. Good luck!

  30. Hi Sarah…. I have a 2 year old chihuahua mixed, just got a 6 week old lab. They do not snap at each other, they kinda “prance” towards eachother then my chihuahua will shy away. Her tail is constantly wagging & she never hides her face. However…if the puppy is close to us or even in the same room and we call my chihuahua over she wount come to us. Is this normal?

    • She sounds a bit intimidated and that’s likely to get more so as your pup grows in both size and activity level. You’re going to have your hands full for a bit keeping her safe. Your Lab may be all smiles and tail wags but that doesn’t mean he won’t overwhelm her or hurt her by mistake.

  31. Hi Sarah, I have two 5 year old lab mix males who do well together, but occasionally they will have a quick fight, and have cut each other. Charlie seems to have established himself as the leader, and they have gotten much better over the last few years. Recently my wife brought home an Aussie pup, who is now 9 weeks old. She was introduced to my males immediately, and their initial reaction was to avoid her. As she had gotten older she has gained energy, and expects them to play with her. I have been really impressed at how they handle her. Neither of them wants to play with her, but both are very tolerant of her attempts. However, they have began establishing their limits as you describe in the article. Charlie does not like it when she tries to take his toys or food, and Ace doesnt like when she jumps on him or bites his ears. Both males have gone past growling and snapped at her at least 3 times each. My wife is concerned because they do make contact when they snap at her. I feel like it is normal, because they never hurt her, and it ends immediately. She’s never received anything more that slobber on her head when it happens, and that’s mainly because Charlie slobbers when he’s playing fetch. I have been correcting them, because of my wifes concern. Is this normal, and should I consider not correcting them? Also, at some point I would like to trust them enough to leave her outside when we’re at work. At what age should I consider this, or what signs should I look for to know that I can trust the adults? Thanks

    • Hi – Sounds iffy since most adult dogs are pretty tolerant of young pups. I would be careful allowing such a young pup too much direct play with two adult labs anyway as the physics is not good yet. Calm insider time is fine. Be extra careful with allowing the pup around excited play like fetch. Could get in the way and be injured. And your lab could be more intense and more likely to snap around his toys at that time. Given how concerned your wife is, having a local pro take a look might ease her concerns and clarify things for everyone.

  32. I have a question also, we have a 2 1/2 year old Yorkie and we just got a 9 week old pomeranian 2 days ago and our Yorkie wags her tail for the most part but once the pomeranian trys to jump at her she freaks out and wants to get away. Will they get along eventually? My Yorkie also doesn’t seem to want to eat which is making me worried

    • Hi Alyssa – How much are you separating them? Crating the pup during meals is a good idea in general and may allow your Yorkie to relax and eat. Sounds like your Yorkie is game for the new addition, just overwhelmed. Can’t know for sure from here but give her some time off and see if she doesn’t relax a bit.

  33. Hello I have an 8 year old mix breed male. He’s an anxious dog but he got along with our 13 yr old boxer mix that passed away. He wouldn’t go out for walks after she passed away. After 5 months we got a 9 month old boxer pup. The fist day went well. Now he growls if she wants to play and he doesn’t really want her too close too him. They are fine walking together and being in the same house he just growls if she’s in his space. Is this normal.

    • It can be. He could easily be sore. Young boxers are playful and active. All that play and he could be ouchy and that is why he rebuffs play invites and intrusions into his space. When I want to check that, I ask my vet for some pain relief. If he relaxes and stops growling on pain relief then we have another clue.

      This is even more likely if you have slippery flooring like hardwood or tile.

      • Thank you for your reply. He has some anxiety he can be a pretty timid dog. And he has insure with some men. But he coexistence with our previous dog. She was older and they didn’t really play much. I just hope they get along. I don’t think it’s Pain. I was hoping he would have a buddy with the new dog. One good this is he hadn’t taken a walk since our other dog passed away. He got his confidence from her. And he hasaid gone on walk with the pup.

  34. I have a 12yr female Lab (Joy) and a 5 yr female Puggle (Rosie). Just took on fostering to adopt 6mo male Lab Pit mix (Bud). Bud is doing well with Joy. She has been teaching him good play manners. Problem is when Bud tries to play with Rosie. Rosie is small about 17 lbs and yelps, runs for cover, or shows teeth/snaps at him. I have intervened to slow and calm Bud. He doesn’t seem to get that he is too rough with her. Looking for suggestions on how to get Rosie from being afraid and accept Bud. She has no fear rough housing with Joy.

    • Trust your dog here. The fact that she is not fearful with Joy and is with Bud means there is something about how he is when playing that worries her. Can you work on having them hang out in the same room? Bud on leash, working his long-downs, so she can get comfortable with him being around.

      And I’d work one blocking with him, too. “Mine” in My Smart Puppy so he respects when she says “Stop!” Good luck!

  35. I have a 11 month old german sheperd after she give birth she start to growl at me and the puppies even tho the puppies are 10 hour old after she growl she will fully bite the puppies head what does that mean?

    • She might. The more they suckle, the more she “should” relax into motherhood (because of oxytocin production). And many dogs don’t want a lot of human involvement and will growl. Hopefully things settled in and went well for all.

  36. My 4 year old houndmix growls and bears teeth and goes after my 1 year old pitbull every time. The puppy plays dead but I have to keep them separated. I don’t want to get hurt. Why is he doing this?

    • Hard to know exactly but many pits like to play roughly and some dogs don’t like that. Your older dog may be tired of it. Get professional coaching if you are concerned or it escalates in at all.

  37. We have well behaved 13 year old yellow lab. Just got a new 8 week old golden doodle yesterday. Initial meeting went well all day yesterday. Older dog really didn’t dislike or like new puppy. she was very tolerant of the new pup. this Morning our older dog took one of the new puppies chew bones and next thing you know puppy is crying, and crying and crying and flopping around as if she got bit! Sure enough—she snapped and drew blood on puppies bottom lip!! Scared us all!! Is this ok to set her in her puppy ways or should we be concerned?

    • Well, as far as your older dog is concerned, every toy in your home is his and always has been. If by “chew bones” you mean something he can actually eat or was once a part of an animal, then don’t use those anymore. Many dogs are more defensive of those than non-edible chews. Glad your new pup wasn’t hurt more than that. Use gates and crates to manage things when you cannot directly supervise.

  38. Hi, great advice! We just got a 6lb terrier feist mix as a companion for our 40lb Brittany. She came into the home 4 days ago. So far we’ve been supervising all their play sessions and limiting them to a few times a day. They seem pretty accepting of each other. Two areas of concern are:1. he noses her hard in the back of the neck when they play. 2. She snapped at them once when we first brought her home and again on day 4 when he was chewing a bone and she tried to take it. We corrected the puppy told her no and put her on her bed. We want him to stand up for himself, but are worried she could get seriously hurt because she’s so small and he can be rough.

    • Don’t give your dogs anything worth fighting over so no bones or rawhides or bully sticks unless one of the dogs are crated safely and then the toy is removed when they come out of the crate.

      The nose “punching” is an excited terrier thing. If it is still going on, get in some local hands on help to assist you. Good luck! Sarah

  39. Hello Sarah, great article. I have a 7 years old male miniature schnauzer and brought home a 7 weeks old female of same breed. First week he snapped at her fee times and avoided even being on the same room. Second week their interactions were much better. For weeks later they are playing well and my older dog is very tolerant, the puppy jumps over his face, barks at him, takes his toys and he is cool for the most part. She is just a baby but I suspect that she is the Alpha. What is concerning me is that he started to mounting on her. Not sure if I should interfere or if normal behavior. Don’t want to make it worse. Thanks in advance for helping.

  40. We have a 8 year old dog (female) and a little 4 month old puppy (male). They play great and other than a few snaps if he gets close to her food and over a new toy, things have been good. But tonight he was playing on the floor while she was on the bed. There weren’t any toys that they hadn’t played with together around, but she leaped off the bed growling and pissed. We separated them before she could do anything but I am still concerned. There wasn’t anything going on to make her do this and normally she is so patient with him. Should I be concerned?

    • At about this age, pups stop getting a pass from adult dogs and adult dogs start laying down the law a bit more, depending on the pup. So she peed when she growled or did you mean something else by “pissed”? Not sure what happened.

  41. We recently brought home an 8 week Newfoundland puppy. We already have a Saint Bernard. He has shown aggression towards other dogs in the past, but has been ok so far with the new puppy. Just some normal warnings to him. Due to unforeseen circumstances 2 days later we took in another Newfoundland puppy. The original owner decided he could not handle the puppy. Long story short, our Saint Bernard isn\’t handling this second puppy well. He growls at him and gets a bit more aggressive when the two puppies are playing. He has not bitten them because we are always there to intervene, but do you have any tips to get him to either play nice or at least just let me puppies play with each other?

    • Given the size of your dog, please get a local dog pro in to help with both raising two pups at once and dealing with giant breed dogs together. Hope it all works out well – Sarah

  42. I need some help with this. I have a mix breed beagle that I’ve had for about 6 years now but I believe he’s about 9. I was living at my mom’s for most of his life and a shitzu lived there. She is also about 8 or 9 years old. They were super good friends. Once I moved, about a year ago. My beagle started to depressed which in return led me to get a puppy. I ended up getting a 10week old full blood basset hound. I did this to help my beagle. He was constantly missing the shitzu and never really wanted to do anything. But now with this puppy he always growls. Hes not once snapped at the puppy and when he’s growling his tail is still wagging but it’s definitely not a playful growl. The puppy likes to kinda of chase him to play aslo and thats when the beagle is the worst. I’ve only had the puppy 2 days but hate seeing the beagle upset.
    Please if you have any advice, help me.
    Thanks so much

  43. Hello, we are looking for a playmate for our dog. She is a chiwawa terrier and shihtzu mix..we were looking into a chiwawa,doxen,rat terrier and jack russell terrier mix as a play mate. My dog is almost 3yrs old, well trained but hyper and the puppy would be 6 weeks old.

    • Six weeks old is WAY too young to play with a playful adult dog (and way too young to be out of the litter). Calm older dogs would be fine but a playful adult? No. Sorry. I commend your desire to find a playmate for your dog. Good luck – Sarah

  44. Hi Sarah,

    Great article, I have a question about interaction on my 2 year old husky. Prior to us getting her, I’m not sure how much socialization she had with smaller or younger dogs. I know she had a liter before we got her. She is now spayed, and I try to socialize her a lot. I did beginning training classes, doggie daycare, and we frequent the dog park for the past 8 to 9 months.

    One behavior I have seen a lot is with younger pups, she does approach them, play bows, but is extremely talkative when she tries to play. Often scaring the pups (lately it has been a 4 month old Icelantic sheepdog). Then she will try to mouth play with them and lays on top of them. Whenever I separate them out, the pup will usually try to engage in some play, but then becomes overly submissive again and acts scared, she gets on top of them, repeat the process. Is there a way to correct this behavior, or allow her to learn to play gentler with the younger dogs? I want to get a puppy in the near future, but want her to learn not to be so loud and in their face upon meeting them.

    Thank you.

    • Hi there – does she do this at daycare? Unless properly done, daycare can allow/encourage every assertive behavior. Also, no young pup should be IN a doggy park but, since they are, leash her up when they come in and practice your self-control exercise and space games, as outline in My Smart Puppy, to teach her to listen to you and disengage even when distracted. Good Luck! Sarah

  45. Hi Sarah

    I have a 5 year yorkie/bischon/shitzu dog, we got a new puppy a week ago to help her get a long with other dog, but she just growls and snaps at her. Will she ever get along with her and how long do you think it will take for her to adjusted to her? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • What sort of pup?

      Yes, most dogs find their way to some sort of relationship and many adult dogs who have never been around pups can react badly to them at first. As along as it is growling and snapping and not attacking, you probably have some wiggle room. Trust your gut and get pro eyes on the situation if it makes you nervous. Good luck!

  46. I just got a pitbull puppy who is 8 weeks old and introduced her into my home where I have a 7 year old pit/boxer mix. He has always been great with other dogs. He was always the submissive one and was very playful. His only issue has ever been food water and toys with other dogs. We’ve made sure they eat separately and get seperate toy time. He does the stalking behavior to our new puppy. She has done nothing to anger him and he hovers over her with a low head, moving slowly and snaps. Since it happened a few times we’ve made sure to keep them very supervised when near eachother if we let them near eachother at all. We figured we’d continue until she got bigger but the situation is very stressful. Were trying a shock collar on our dog to help with the puppy but he just seems to resent us and the puppy for it. I really want to work or having them get along so I can keep our puppy. I would love any advice!

    • DO NOT USE A SHOCK COLLAR!!!! That could trigger a full on attack in your situation. Not every dog enjoys having another in their home. I’d get GREAT local hands on help to assist you, continue to monitor them VERY carefully and do not, DO NOT, add intense emotion or pain or surprise to that situation. It could easily and terribly backfire.

  47. I have a 6 year old female lab mix and brought home a Keeshond puppy almost 2 weeks ago, now 10 weeks old. Our lab loves to play with the pup outdoors but inside the house she doesn’t want to have much to do with the puppy and will growl and get snappish if puppy gets within 2-3 feet. What can I do to help them get along better inside? I keep the pup and the lab separated with gates most of the time. I would really appreciate your advice!

    • Hi Linda – It’s great they play well outside, that’s a good start. My guess would be that she will accept him more and more inside as time goes on. Giving her a low barrier she can hop over but he cannot yet allows her to exit an area when she wants to and that may lower her concerns. Keeping him on leash around her can allow you to prevent him for shadowing her constantly. And it allows you to work on head turns and blocking, as described in My Smart Puppy. Two skills he can learn now and you’ll use for a life time. Good luck!

  48. Hi Sarah,
    We just rescued a 12 week old plotthound. Our 8 yr old Rhodesian Ridgeback girl is not impressed. He is a forceful pup, she is an extremely submissive girl. She wants nothing to do with him. If he gets close she jumps up and walks away, she averts her eyes. He launches himself at her and my very quiet dog barks. My worry is that he ignores her signals and like a terrier keeps flying at her with a bark of his own. She will not eat in his presence, even though I hold him back from trying to get to her food bowl and she also has had diarrhoea. I seem to have brought home a street fighter to the home of a lady. The two times he approached her in a calm, respectful manner she barked at him just the same as when he ran at her… It’s our first week but I am a little worried that she ends up a nervous wreck and he will be the school bully.

    • Time for gates and crates to give her a break from him. Feed him in his crate. Get him around adult dogs who can handle him. Call in a local pro to help you get a handle on him. Work your My Smart Puppy games of blocking and head turns to start to get him under your control. Your worries sound well founded so now is the time to act. Good luck!

  49. Hi Sarah,
    We have a 4 year old Lasa Ahpso/Yorkie and last week we brought home a 3 month old Shih Tzu/Poodle, from the moment we walked in the door the older dog has been constantly following the puppy around. She will growl and bark at him, nip and paw at his back, and circle the pin that we have him in to separate them. The older dog has also started panting every time the puppy comes near, and she gets extremely aggitated to the point of being aggressive every time my mother or I give the puppy attention or hold him. Are these normal behaviors? Do you have any suggestions to help our older dog to relax? We have been trying to give her plenty attention so she doesn’t feel forgotten or left out.

    • I’d block her away from the pup as taught in My Smart Puppy book so you can effectively interrupt that behavior. It sounds, from your brief description, like your older dog rules the roost. I would, if it is safe to do, block her away if she attempts to interrupt your affection with the pup. That is none of her business who you interact with. Best bet? Get some hands on help with this. Good luck – Sarah

  50. Hi, i need help with introducing a tiny 6 week old sausage dog to my 2 year old German Shepard ,when I tried my German Shepard lunged up and tried to bite the puppy. I am so nervous to introduce them because I’m worried my German Shepard seriously injures or kills the puppy

    • Keep them separated with gates or crates for a long time. Until your shepherd accepts the pup as a member of the family and not a prey item or a chew toy. Yes, a larger dog can, often in error, seriously injure or kill a smaller pup so you are right to be cautious given your older dogs behavior. And with a dachshund, that long back puts them especially at risk. I’d start working your shepherd on Blocking and Space Games as laid out in My Smart Puppy. Good luck – Sarah

  51. Hello,

    We have a 17 month old Golden Doodle who was second dog to our 13 year old lab that recently passed. We just got another Doodle (now 8 1/2 weeks old). Both are females.
    They get along well. They play with together with toys. They play chase. They share food. However, the 17 month old gets too excited and rambunctious. She constantly bites the pups neck. Sometime the pup squeals. If the pup runs at all, the older dog will chase and stand over her and bite her neck. The pup will often hide. We have noticed when we leave them outside in the yard, the pup will not move at all. Not even to relieve herself. Sometimes it seems like play and sometimes it seems like stalking or bullying.


    • Your baby is terrified. No young pup should be left with a rambunctious young dog until they are large enough to cope – 10-12 months. Until then, the baby goes out with you and you supervise the interaction. If you cannot prevent the scary and risky behavior, then left your older pup inside/crated when you take the baby out. They can interact inside, supervised.

      If you need help creating calmer interactions, get a local trainer to assist. Good luck!

      • Did you mean 10-12 weeks? Or do you really think 10-12 months?!!!! yikes

        • Months. Absolutely. Being knocked around by a much larger dog can impact your pup’s opinion of other dogs and orthopedic health for a lifetime so, in that light, it’s a short-term investment. And, you’re lucky, it’s in the warm weather. 😀

  52. Hi my wife and I just adopted a 2 year old male AM Staff mix from the shelter. We already have a 11m old black lab mix male and a 1year old Chorkie. King the Am Staff doesn’t mind my small dog but snaps at the 11mo when he gets close to his face. But otherwise he’s sort of lethargic and has anxiety for the moment. Is this a sign of the older dog teaching a pup about boundaries?

    • Bringing a dog in who is older than the current dogs is not always easy or my first choice. Hope things have settled in but, if they haven’t, get some good local training help. Good luck – Sarah

  53. Hey so I have around a 50lb boxer who is 3 and we recently just got a shiu tzu that is 8 weeks old. Everytime I try and called my little puppy my big dog toys to stand in front of me and hog my attention where the little puppy can’t? Should I be worried. My big dog just seems totally jealous it’s almost annoying to be honest as much as I love her. My big dog isn’t really eating well either. But my little dog will jump on my bigger one and bite the bigger ones toes and my big dog don’t seem to mind? She either sits there or gets up and walks away?

    • As long as their is peace between them, that is good. The “jealous” behavior is just your older dog deciding who you can and cannot interact with which tells me some training would help there. I do not allow dogs to butt between me and any other animal or person; I use blocking (taught in My Smart Puppy book) to explain things. I’d work on that. Good luck – Sarah

  54. Great article, thank you!

    I have a 2 yr old 50lb. boxer/olde English bulldog mix (Berry, a pack of muscle), and I recently rescued a 4 week old orphaned chihuahua mix. I have kept introductions short (-5 min), heavily supervised, and calm (mostly smell and redirect), I am concerned about Berry’s high energy level with the pup as pup grows and begins to play, and accepting him into the pack. Tonight was the closest interaction I have let them have, but Berry seemed a little too excited, which is not unusual for her. She also at one point put her paw on the puppy to pull him toward her (not step, but scoop), which I corrected. The pup is so small and we were in close quarters, it’s hard for me to tell if she is stalking, though she certainly tracks the pup with eyes and ears perked.

    Do you have any suggestions for an approach to ensure my pups safety over the course of her life, given Berry’s high energy level, the likely tiny nature of the possible chi or pug mix, and the incredible power of Berry’s jaws? I am also concerned as pup gets bigger, Berry will see him as something to chase to catch like the squirrels and rabbits. I also praise and treat Berry around the pup so he is seen as a positive addition and discourage jealousy, but this also tends to make her more excited, so I am not sure if it is counter productive. Thank you!

    • Keep the pup safe by supervision, separation and NO off leash outside time together. Physics is physics and even a well-intentioned big, goofy dog can injure/kill a tiny toy pup.

      • Thank you Sarah! Heavy supervision and short positive interactions have been working well. Berry is accepting puppy into the pack, but her desire to play is too high for extended interaction given pups size, which, as you say, is simply physics 🙂 thank you,

  55. We have a jack Russell mix breed adult male dog and recently got a 6 week old greyhound x black lab breed (female) the puppy we have had for about 6+ weeks now and she is super playful and the older dog plays with her and they play with there toys together all the time, but the puppy just doesn’t know when to stop they’ll keep playing and playing and when the older dog has had enough he will growl , bark and bite back hard and scares the poor life out of my puppy she squeals and pisses herself and her tail is between her legs and ears flopped and I go outside because the barking and squealing and she’s so scared. But 5 minutes later she’s jumping all over the adult dog again and trying to play and she gets his ears and nibbles. They don’t fight over food or beds or it’s just when the older dog has had enough and I’m worried the puppy might get back personality traits, she ran inside the house once and chased the cat down to play with it and the cat must of swiped the puppy (the cats are not viscous in any way) and the puppy was squealing and scared and pissed herself again. I don’t know what to do

    • Sounds like she’s a slow learner about limits. I’d supervise the play between her and your JRT and teach her to stop when he says stop using Space Games as taught in My Smart Puppy. Not only will it help out your JRT (and your cat) but will start to teach her how to listen when she’s otherwise distracted – an excellent lesson.

  56. Just have puppy papillon it about 10 months old .just wondering why he always lift is leg in front of my older dog ..he go right in my older dog face

  57. Hello I have a 1 year old male pitbull and a 7 week old bully female puppy. I have introduced them to each other and he seems to take well to her. He sniffs her more than anything but he has never growled or snarled at her. Is this a good reaction or should I do something differently?

    • Usually good but pits can be a little hard to read sometimes. They don’t always growl or snarl before aggression so all I can say is sounds like it should be good.

  58. I have a recuse dog that is a Chesapeake bloodhound mix she has been abused by the previous owner and I have had her for about 3 years now (she is almost 5), she is crazy protective over me and we just got a 8 week old border collie heeler mix and my dog is doing all of the expected signs in your article but I feel as she is being more aggressive then described. When my boyfriend is alone with our dogs they are totally fine, my dog even picked the puppy up by his neck and was mothering it, only a few lip lifting but no issues other then that. When I am home alone with the dogs my dog will get very protective and won\’t leave my side and will be aggressive towards the pup if it gets anywhere near me. We will let them inside and if the puppy gets near me the older old gets aggressive and will growl, snap, and sometimes pounce. My dog is food aggressive to, she is protective over me and her treats and her bed. I would always yell at my dog cause I had no idea about how dogs should react to new puppies. My older dog has never been around puppies. What should I do?

    • You need training help, ASAP, for you. Yes, your older dog could hurt the pup, absolutely. Yelling at her for doing something she’s been doing for years isn’t helpful. You need to change your relationship with her so she does not think doing those things is her job. While you are looking for a good local trainer, start the basics in My Smart Puppy. Simple Sit and Guided down along with all the Space Games would be where I would probably start. If it is safe for you to handle her and that only you can know.

  59. I have wanted to find a trainer for a while now but my dog is only nice to people she knows, she is protective and aggressive towards anybody else so that has always made me nervous. I don’t want my new puppy to become the same way as my older dog

  60. I have a 9 yr old female lab (lady)
    a 3 yr old pit bull with 1/8 boxer (amylea) in her and a 9 mth old female pitbull with 1/16 boxer (au-tavia)in her she is the daughter of amylea my problem is that lady and amyleaused to get along good even though lady is gone alot with friends we say shes are traveling dog but when she xomes home au-tavia thepuppy attacks lady and then amylea attacks lady when lady snapps back at au-tavia so nowim afraid tobringlady home which i feel is qrong causeshe was there first we bring are dogs everywhere and au-tavia is theonly aggressive one she gets along qithher siblings that she seea on regular basis but not other dogs
    How doigether to be not soaggressive towards other doga

    • Put au-tavia in her crate whenever the lady comes home and let them settle a bit before direct contact. Train all dogs so you have verbal control over them. Get good local help to assist you. Good luck – Sarah

  61. Hi Sarah,
    We recently got a golden doodle puppy that is turning two months today, we’ve had her for about a week and a half. She’s doing pretty good with potty training but I’m a little confused with her interactions with our older dog, she’s a maltese that will be 4 yrs old in July, she’s about 12 pounds so she’s still a tiny bit bigger than the puppy. At first the older dog, Mia, ran away from the puppy, Elly, but now Mia plays with Elly while they’re outside but doesn’t really want anything to do with her while they’re inside, in fact, if Elly starts wanting to play Mia will ask to go outside and will actually play with Elly outside. In the past 2-3 days, though, Mia has stopped growling at Elly when she invades her space and is letting Elly get on her and bite her, she does at some point tell her “enough” and growls and tries to go away. I’m wondering if we should be stopping this biting? Mia doesn’t seem extremely bothered by it but Elly is pulling her ears sometimes which I imagine isn’t very pleasant. Also, what should we do when Elly bothers Mia to the point where she runs away from the room?
    Thank you!

    • My guess from here is that Mia will handle things with Elly when she needs to. Most Maltese are more than qualified to do so she’s just giving Elly a “puppy pass” that adult dogs can offer to very young pups. If Mia get frightened or cries out, then yes, I’d interrupt but, as above, my guess is she has this well in hand (or paw).

  62. Hi I have a 2 year old Cavachon Buddy and an 11 week old Cavapoo Cooper. They seem to get on well but Buddy keeps trying to hump Cooper and smothers him when playing. Cooper just rolls on his back and takes it although he will squeal and try to run away. He chases him all the time and I’m not sure if my puppy really likes it. Should I stop this behaviour or is it normal?

    • Hi Emily – The measure of play is mutuality. If it isn’t mutual, it isn’t play. So yes, I’d start to redirect Buddy or keep him on leash around Cooper so Cooper can make the decision to engage or not without being relentlessly humped. Buddy is probably just overexcited but it’s also probably no fun for Cooper. You can change this and it’s worth doing. Good luck – Sarah

  63. I have 2 female labs, an 11 yr old and 4 months. I’ve had the pup since 8 weeks and iI took a while for the 11 yr old to find her “no”. In the last week my 11 yr old has started to mount the puppy when the puppy is doing her puppy thing – going after the adult’s hind legs, ears and face. Should I be intervening? Is this simply another way of saying no? The adult has hip displasia and had a hip replacement about 4 years ago….

    • If the pup isn’t getting the intended message with the mounting then I’d stop the adult and stop the pup, too. Being obnoxious isn’t okay at any age and I don’t allow pups to harass adult dogs unless the adult shows obvious signs of enjoying that sort of thing such as engaging in play, seeking out more of the same, being playful.

  64. Hello, Thank you for your article. I have a bit of a role reversal. Our new puppy (female – golden doodle, 8 wks when we got her, 12 wks now) is very aggressive to our older dog (male 7 yr old springer/boxer – fixed). He tries to correct her with growls or even snapping at her but she does not take the hint – ever. She bares her teeth, growls and lunges at him, biting at his face, legs, whatever she can get her wee teeth on. This goes on for a long time and finally I intervene and give her a time-out in another room to give my older dog a break. What should I do to help her learn how to pick up on his cues? Thank you for any advice you can give.

    • Time for hands-on training with a pro. What you describe isn’t “normal” behavior and you need a pro to help you manage her and teach her how to stop. Good luck – Sarah

  65. Hello. I recently took in a rescue pup and I’m just trying things out. She is roughly 4 months old; I already have a 2 year old pit. Normally the puppy is the energetic one, but in this case it’s the other way around. The puppy is so mellow she gets fed up easily and gets irritated at my other dog’s playfulness. My question is, will there be a chance that the puppy will change or she’ll become calmer over the years? Should I consider this pup as not being the ideal for my family, for my dog? There’s also the fact that… I feel terrible at saying this, but I didn’t feel the instant pull towards her that I experienced with my other dog as soon as she arrived home. What would you recommend me to do? I also want to take the pup into consideration. What is the best choice for her? She’s so pretty and good that I know she deserves better than what I can give her. Should I try harder or don’t risk it and give her up? Thank you very much.

    • All second pups have to work with first pups. Sounds like your older dog is a rough player and some dogs just don’t like that. He may also be bullying her, with a smile on his face, but bullying nonetheless. Job one is the safety of the pup, if she cannot be kept safe from his happy mauling then not the right place for her to be.

  66. Hi Sarah, ☺️
    My boyfriend and I have rescued a brother and sister combo of German Shepherd /husky mixes named milo and lucy. We rescued them on 2/23/2017 and believe they were about 6-8 weeks based on size (rescue was unsure of age and guessed) . We already have a 10yr old Male German Shepherd named Troy that my boyfriend has had since it was 8weeks old. During the day if we’re all out of the house we keep the pups gated in the family room since it has the doggy door for them and them and Troy is older and fully potty trained and can hold his for the 5 hours they’re home alone twice a week. Anyways. I’ve come home twice now. To find the gate knocked down with milo and lucy running the house with Troy. I took them all outside and while milo and Lucy were playing and I was standing right there Troy was what I took as attempting to play until he mounted Milo and attempted to penetrate him ? I was horrified and literally standing within 2 feet of the three of them. I scolded Troy and sent him to our bedroom and shut the door. All 3 dogs are intact puppies are to young to be spayed and neutered but will be when they are old enough. What should I do though? I said I wanted to keep Troy in the bedroom and away from the puppies the 10 hours a week no one is home and my boyfriend said absolutely not but I want to keep my babies safe!
    Please let me know what to do.
    -lena –

    • My guess is he’s not attempting to have sex with your teen-pup male but attempting to assert himself behaviorally. I’d set up MUCH more secure barriers and would not leave pups that age loose in a room for that long. You can rig a pen, attached to the walls by the doggy door to allow pups to come and go without them knocking down the gates. I’d start training your pups now as I tend to believe the adult dogs when they weigh in on such matters. Personally, I’d neuter those pups now or as soon as your vet will do it. Good luck – Sarah

  67. I have an almost 4 month old cocker spaniel. She plays well with a couple of our neighborhood dogs but recently got bit by my neighbors rottweiler lab who is older. She jumps in dogs faces when she meets them and most of the time they do start to play but she tends ti do this a lot and i dont know if i should let her and have the dogs communicate with her how they would like to play or train her away from jumping like that. With the older dog it bit her in under 60 seconds. However she plays for 30-45 min with a couple you ger dogs in the same way and thwy have a blast. What is the right thing to do?

    • Hi Jenn – Have her play with dogs who understand her style. Get her around CALM and RESTRAINED adults who can teach her some manners safely or avoid unknown dogs. A minute is a long time to be rude and my guess is that older dog gave her PLENTY of warnings that she either didn’t understand or ignored. Is she wasn’t hurt by that “bite” then it was an inhibited one meant to educate. Hope it helped.

  68. Hi Sarah. I just rescued a 4 week old female pit and already have a 2 year old female who has never had problems with other dogs or people. When I first introduced them the older dogs mouth was watering like crazy and she seems fine and was just smelling her a lot, then out of no where she bit the pup on the face. Now I’m scared to let her go near the puppy again because I have no idea why she did that. Any help would be much appreciated.

    • My guess is that she has no idea that infant is a puppy. Rub your adult dog down with a towel then rub the pup down and then the adult again to help transfer the scents. Do NOT try any intro for now, use barriers and gates, so your adult can observe but not interact. See how things proceed with that safety barrier in place but assume, for now, your adult seems to see the pup as prey.

  69. Hello i hope i get a response! I recently adopted a german shepherd mix [with a boxer i believe]. Shes about 4 to 5 months old. Ive been slowly introducing her to my 6 yr old Pomeranian for a few weeks little by little. Today i had my shepherd tied up in my front yard and my pomy walked within the range the shepherd’s leash and she jumped on her with her front paws as if she was trying to pin her down. The 1st time it wasnt a big deal, but the 2nd time the pomy growled and we separated them. Any suggestions on getting the big one to be not so rough? Or any in general. ( i know this kind of related to one of the scenarios above but i felt it wasnt clear enough, for my case at least) would appreciate a response, thanks.

    • That’s a very boxer move and, as you say, not meant to harm but still could with a small pup. I would expect (and want) your toy dog to growl and set the limits now, IF it is safe to do so and only you can tell that. I expect little ones to growl, snarl, snap and drive larger breed pups back until those pup’s learn how to interact with the little one more politely. No one can teach your new pup that as well as your Pom potentially can.

  70. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for this great thread.
    We have a 4 year old toy Australian Shepherd male who is very dog friendly. We thought we would be improving his quality of life with a companion. We brought home an 8 week old female a few days ago, and he growls (not viciously, more of a grumble than a snarl) and moved away any time she gets near him or moves toward him. We have a small time frame to work with during which the breeder will take her back. I want to keep her and am already pretty attached but our dog has to be the priority. What are the odds that they will be friends?

  71. Hi, I have a seven year old rescue Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix dog who was abused and is scared of people and sometimes doesn’t get along with other dogs. We recently got a Golden Retiever puppy who is now 10 weeks old, and already larger than our older dog. Our older dog has been staying away from home while the puppy was getting used to the house and we just introduced them today. Our older dog growled and nipped at the puppy and I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to properly introduce them and/ or help them get along? Thank you.

    • With that size differential, I’d let your little one assert him or herself. It’s okay if your soon-to-be MUCH larger second dog learns respect early. Only when your Golden respects your little one and the little one isn’t worried about being hurt will they be able to become friends (if they ever do become friends – only time will reveal that).

  72. I have a new 6 week old pup and a 2 1/2 year old both pits. The older one is always right up on the pup always smelling her, licking her, and trying to lay and be right next to her, sometimes even trying to lay on her. Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to make the older one not care as much as the little one does? Any info would be a big help. Thanks

  73. We have a 9 yo male Shih tzu. He is very calm and easy going. Our older Shih tzu female passed away and she was the alpha. We recently got another Shih tzu male puppy 10 weeks old. Our older dog has growled when the puppy gets close to let him know to back off. When the puppy get hyped up and wants to play he has been barking at our older dog. Our older dog is barking back. I have been putting the puppy in the crate until he calms down but could use some advise. When they are outside my older dog will quietly approach him to sniff around him but will not play. They seem better outside.

    Any suggestions for getting them to feel more comfortable around one another?

    We got the puppy from a breeder who had 4 other adults in the house with this pup. He is a sweetheart just seems like he’d really like our older dog to play with him.

    • From here, that all sounds pretty normal. I expect barking, grumbling, growling and some snappy from most adult dogs as part of the education of a pup. With same breed small dogs, the size differential concerns are much less. Given that your pup has been around adult dogs already, my guess from here is that your two will work it out just fine with time.

      • Hi sarah. Thank you for your reply. What if it’s the puppy that is doing most of the barking? Today he even growled back st our older Shih tzu. Our older male was not the alpha before. Is the puppy an alpha male? Or just wants to play?

  74. Hi Sarah, hope you are well. I have a one year old Pyr Shep, from about 5 months old, he started to become aggressive towards younger puppies that he meets and this has continued, not quite sure how to handle it. If he meets dog of equal age or slightly older dog he is fine, super playful and friendly. But any younger… and he goes megga growly and has tried to attack some. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Well… some dogs, esp. some herding breeds, do not suffer youth kindly. I’d put him with plenty of older, sensible dogs and hope that he settles in as he matures. No reason for him to be around younger pups if he doesn’t enjoy them. And if he is reacting to the sporting breed pups who are in his face, then he is not unusual in that dislike. To him, they may not seem playful as much as they seem just plain rude.

  75. Hi, just brought a 9 week year old maltichon and have a 4 year old shorkie. The pup is very playful (as pups are) and follows my shorkie wanting to play with him constantly . My shorkie runs away and barks constantly . When the puppy gets near him he growls deeply . This is constant . We’ve only had the puppy 4 days but I don’t want my shorkie feeling stressed as this upsets me.

    • Well… a new pup wasn’t your adult dog’s idea! Give him a bit to get used to a new and uninvited roommate. Chances are he will. And use gates to give your first dog a break from constant pup attention. I love kids but if one followed me around constantly yelling at mm to play with him, I’d growl, too.

  76. I have a new 6 week old pup and a 2 1/2 year old both pits. The older one is always right up on the pup always smelling her, licking her, and trying to lay and be right next to her, sometimes even trying to lay on her. Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to make the older one not care as much as the little one does? Any info would be a big help. Thanks sorry if you already answered it and I don’t see it and sorry for reposting.

    • Hi Evelyn – I did answer this one so keep looking. Don’t have time to repost the response this AM. However, now it sounds like your older one may be mothering her (sweet). Get some local dog-experienced eyes to take a look just to be sure. Good luck – Sarah

  77. Hello, we have a 4 year old boxer/bull mastiff and recently got a pitbull puppy. She is 4 months old. They are very playful and sometimes rough but the older dog seems to not bite the puppy. I recently noticed that the puppy is biting my older dog. Concerned about the older the puppy gets that the playing could get out of hand. Please advise the best way to control the situation before it gets to this point.

    • Hi Deanne – I’d get some local coaching on how to interrupt the play and I would practice that. I’d do the space games in My Smart Puppy with both of them which can help when managing play. Careful of giving them a large space to play in; momentum is not your friend in this situation.

  78. Hi, I have a 6 year old female lab and recently got a 2 month female english bulldog. My older dog has never growled or snapped at her, but sometimes her playing seems too rough and nibbles her a lot. Sometimes the puppy seems scared of her and Im not sure if my older dog is acting the right way.

    • Can’t know from here but some labs can play rough just because they like to and your pup will be scared by that. Personally, I’d keep your pup on leash outside with you and don’t leave them unsupervised for now.

  79. Hi i have a 2yrlear old akita male .iv just baught a 9week old puppy jack rusle and my 2year old keeps sniffing his bump and private parts and acationaly growls at him woth his ears pointed and mouth shut is this normal because im scared hes going to hurt him

    • Because of the size difference between your adult dog and your pup, I’d get hands-on local help to see what’s going on and give you suggestions ASAP.

  80. Hey I just recently got a 8 month old small mix dog (we got her from a rescue and don\\\’t know what she is) and my 8 year old border collie mix growls and bites at her. I\\\’m thinking about getting a trainer to come to our house but my collie also doesn\\\’t like other people that much. Any advice is appreciated!

    • My hope is this has all settled down by now. Growling and snapping at a new adolescent dog, but not harming that dog, is well within the normal course of dog-ness.

  81. Hello i have two beagles 12 and 7 i just got a 8 week old husky puppy and he nips them and jumps alot they grow and bump him but never bite they often walk away but the growling is getting worst and we are in week 2. Should i be worried

    • Sounds like they are trying to teach him some manners and that he is a slow study. I’d expect them to start snapping at him or pinning him as he grows up a bit. They will grab him if he persists. What are you doing to stop him from being such a pain? I’d be focused there for now.

  82. Kimda weird question don’t know if you can answer it, I have a 3 1/2 month old husky mix pup(oni), Also have a year old husky mix (tsuki) and a 4year old german lab mix(kishi). they all do fine kishi is by far the alpha and corrects both of them still, in the dogs pecking order not including humans. But my question is Oni growls at most new dogs he comes inconact with at first. then its tail wagging and whines. but that first is enough for other owners to be like “no” mind you he is huge for his age, 37pounds. not sure how to correct this further than i have been. he also only seems to do it when he is without his other two.

    • He needs a LOT more time out and about on his own. A good puppy play group would be awesome. Sounds like he’s feeling insecure and positive experience generally cures that. Good to do it early, too.

  83. I have a 17lb. Terrier mix. He was 9-10months old when I adopted him. He was very skidish and shy. Now he is 3 and a half has been going to our local dog park for the past 3 years. In the past year he gets along with all size dogs, but over the past year, sometime snarls, growls then puts the puppies down. Never has he broken skin, but they get up in his face. He sometimes out of nowhere sees a puppy and goes over and seems to start this behavior. Doesn’t care about the young under 3 month olds but seems to start something with the 4month to just under a year dogs. Some people in the park are starting to become very mad at me and my dog and don’t want us to go anymore. We have 3 size yards there. Under 20lbs , then 20-40lbs and the large dogs over 40lbs. They are reconditioning the parks and have one park at a time closed, while working on the others. How can I help my dog not to seek out the puppy’s I have been told by a lot of people this is normal behavior, but they get. So made at me . Any advise

    • Yup, your dog is no longer dog park material. Even if he is entirely “right” about his actions, and he may be, that isn’t his job in the park. Go take walks, find older buddies he can play with and find new fun things to do. I would.

  84. Hi. We have a 9 year old English springer spaniel. We used to have another one that passed away a year ago and the 9 year old seemed a lot more lonely and depressed with her gone. They got along great for the most part, however every now and then she would snap at her when food, toys, bedding, or other jealousy issues were involved. We recently got a 2 month old English springer spaniel in hopes that she would perk up the 9 year old. The 9 year old growls and snaps at the puppy whenever the puppy gets near her. We keep them separated for the most part or try to keep the puppy on a leash when outside so she won’t get in the 9 year olds face. Occasionally the older dog will come up and sniff the puppies butt or lay a couple of feet away from her but for the most part when the puppy approaches her she snaps. We’ve only had the puppy for a couple of days now but I was wondering if you had any advice for us. Thanks!

  85. Hi
    We have a resident 5 year old westie male (Buster). Recently we acquired an 8 week old pug/shitzu cross female (Milly). On introduction the westie follows the pug non stop and tries to lick and hump her. On one occasion when I tried to restrain the westie he growled and snapped at me. The pug is very small but does not seem to be afraid of the westie.

    The westie was never good with other dogs but he can be such a pet to us. What can we do.

    • Well, you’ve probably never stopped him from doing something he wants to do. Get your pup checked for a UTI or vaginitis, both those infections can get some male dogs worked up, for some unknown reason.

  86. Hello! I have a VERY tolerant 2 y/o GSD/Border Collie mix and a brand new 8-week-old GSD puppy. They get along very well so far, except when the 2 y/o is eating. She’s dumb and doesn’t eat her food unless everyone is in the room with her, so she leaves it sitting around until the puppy is nosing around it, and then growls at him when he gets close. I’ve never seen her growl in any situation ever, so it freaks me out, but is this normal? I don’t want her to end up hating the puppy for harassing her while she’s eating – but I also wish she would eat when I feed her!

    • Yes, it’s normal and yes, you should do something about it. You can either crate the pup during meals or throw away her leftovers when she leaves her bowl. Both ways should minimize this situation.

  87. What should be done if a older dog follows around a puppy what are some steps that we can take
    I would greatly appreciate it thank you very very much
    since there are no articles that say what to do

    • Depends on how intense and scary the following is but local hands on help if the following makes you nervous, work your head turns and body blocks ala My Smart Puppy to start being able to influence this all. Quit means quit, no matter what. You teach that in steps with REWARD for making the right choice. Good luck!

  88. Thank you! I have a very abused 14 year old dachshund that we rescued a few years ago and a 8 month old dachshund puppy. My concern is that the puppy will not leave the older one alone!! She’s warns the pup to no avail! I feel terrible for the older one as she’s been through so much abuse already. We scolded the puppy and remove her but she continues to go back and annoy our older dog!! What should we do? The puppy is really jealous. We also have a pit/ terrier rescue and they are great together because they play. The older dachshund has no clue what play is. She spent at least 8 years in a cage breading pups to be let go after they put acid on her! We adopted her. She was a mess. She’s a very happy dog for the most part but the abuse has left a toll on her. I don’t want the put to bother her!

    • Use gates and crates to give your old dog a break and get good local training help to learn how to get your pup to quit when you say quit. A good chance to get that all in place. I use a LOT of blocking and head turns to handle this and both of those are explained in My Smart Puppy. Good luck!

  89. Hi Sarah we have a 12year male lab and have just got a male puppy 9 weeks old went ok at first out side in the garden .sniffed and seemed ok . Thought everything was ok and the pup was just finding his feet and the older dog growled and went for him , poor pup ran away crying , we told off cracker the older dog calmed down the pup . This happen twice was very quick and frightening I\’m not sure what would have happened if we hadn\’t intervened . We have a crate the pups in so feel safe knowing his in there. We have fussed both equally got new toys so there was no jealousy , I don\’t know what to do I\’m scared any advice would be great

    • Hi – A roar and lunge that frightens but doesn’t harm is pretty standard old dog actions. Pups can get frightened and yelp but no harm is actually done. Your aged dog is setting his limits. If they are fine outside, where there is more space, then let them interact out there. Inside, use gates and crates for now as they get to know each other. Your older dog ignoring the pup outside is normal but not a sign of acceptance. Remember, your 12-y-o did not ask for this. Give him a minute to adapt. Talk to your vet and a trainer for local input and guidance. – Sarah

  90. I have a 9 week old rhodesian ridgeback mix that I just adopted. I had friends come over yesterday with their 4 month old puppy and 5 year old dog. My puppy played fine with them at first and then something happened and he started aggressively attacking them. He bit down so hard it took my husband and his friend to unlatch his mouth from the other dogs. After this happened he started trying to attack our whippet mix whom he had been getting along with just fine before this. We weren’t able to reintroduce the dogs again, for about 2 hours if he saw any of the dogs he tried to attack them. But as soon as they left he went back to normal and was fine with our other dog again. I’m just confused and worried. We have small children and I’m fearful that he is a very aggressive dog. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Hi Jill – My guess is he go WAY over tired and then the wheels came off. Just like some toddlers might start tantrums or throwing things at other kids bot because he’s a psycho human but because he’s over his limit. BUT – that’s is a pretty intense response, not a total surprise from a Rhodesian – so talk to his breeder about this and to a good local trainer to get some ideas and input from people who know your individual puppy. Hope this helps – Sarah

  91. I have a question even though i think it was answered above,my boy is 4 his name is Toby and the baby is Ava she is 7 weeks at first my boy seemed like he was ok he didnt snap nor anything but after 2 days that is when he started snappi g at her .Do you think that they will grow to be ok with each other the baby is so yappy always in his face n i correct her for that but she is botting his tail n jumping at his face n etc,was ot wrong to get a puppy so young ,should I have gotten n older pup,but i allso have 2 cats n a rabbit so i wanted the pup 2 grow up with them and i think at 6 months they are set in there way pretty much and can harm my other animals..Can you please give me ur opinion.
    Thank You,

    • Hi Kelli – No way to know about Ava going forward. What I do know is that starting her training now, using gentle, clear methods, will bring out the best in her so I’d be focused on that. My Smart Puppy has leash, space and verbal command work covered. That is, of course, what I use. Good luck – Sarah

  92. Hello, i have a 6 year old beagle mix and recently just got a 8week year old puppy which is a terrier mix. At first my adult dog was very playful with the puppy but later on in the day his mood towards the puppy changed. He no longer lets the puppy any where near him because he begins to growl to the point he wants to snap. My puppy is so tiny comparing to my beagle so i am afraid he can injure him easily. Not to mention my adult dog stalks him but doesnt like it when the puppy interacts with him. I need help . What can i do for my adult dog to get along with him

    • Hi Joseline – Follow the suggestions in this post and give your Beagle a rest. How cranky would you get it some unknown youngster tried to get in your face and play for 6-7 hours straight? Bet your mood would change, too. Mine would.

  93. Hello, we have a 19 month old female boxer and recently rescued a 8 wk old male Cheagle. There are times they will both pass out right next to each other not even paying attention to the other. They are crates right next to each other Monday – Friday and the puppy sleeps in a crate at night while the boxer sleeps right outside the cage. While we haven’t seen any teeth or heard any growling from the boxer, but when the puppy wants to play or walk around the house the boxer is constantly sniffing the puppy, blocks the puppies walking path momentarily and nudging him while doing so (sometimes seems rough enough that the puppy hides or the boxer will paw the puppy and knock him down). Should we be conecerned?

    • If you’re concerned, I’d be concerned. The size difference is large enough that injury would be too easy even if entirely “playful”. I’d get some local dog-experienced eyes on the situation.

  94. Hello ive currently got a 14 week old bull mastiff called zeus, ive recently got a 8 week old cockapoo called theo. Zeus always seems to try and keep theo between his legs and wont allow theo to do his own thing always trying to controll him is this normal or is zeus in the wrong ?? Any help would be much apprichiated.

    • Two pups at the same time? You’re going to have your hands full! Any time one pup is being totally controlled it isn’t appropriate “play”. Get some good hands on help ASAP because Zeus is going to be so much more powerful than Thor. In the meantime, leashes and gates and crates to give Thor a break from this behavior. – Sarah

  95. Hi Sarah,

    I have a 4 year old male gsd neutered around 1.3 years of age. Amazing with humans and kids. Well socialized as a puppy with other dogs. Mostly ignores other dogs, usually better with females now and still finds dogs he likes to “play with”. However, He does not tolerate when puppies or other dogs say hi and lick his face, no matter how submissive. He has not done any major damage yet (broken skin on ears and top of head) when telling the other dogs/puppies to “back off”. Is there a way to teach him to moderate his response? He is justified in telling them to back off however, his response is over the top and I’m afraid he would hurt them. I would like to get another dog/puppy but would be afraid that he might hurt them if i dont fix this over the top behavior.

    • Hi there – Not every dog is great with unknown other dogs and it is rather a lot to ask them to be. His lack of tolerance with stranger pups doesn’t mean he’ll be bad with a new family pup. He might be – he might not be. I’d get help learning more about his body language so you can help him before he has to handle something himself. Good luck – Sarah

  96. I have a soon to be 1 year old Chihuahua and Pomeranian mix dog and a 8 week old pitbul we just got her a day ago and they both sniff each other’s buts but they arnt friendly my older dog starts trouble as in harasses in growling at her oh yeah there both girls the pitbul didn’t do anything at first but now she does the same and there starting to jump on Each other and the out is teething so she nibbles on the other dog is any of that normal what should I do to make them friends ?

    • Hi Mariah – Get some help ASAP. Any 8-week-old pup who is confident enough to push back at an adult needs help making other choices. The size of your adult dog worries me, as it always does when we have small dogs involved. Good luck! Sarah

  97. I have no clue if you even still get these, but I have a 4 year old lab/husky and just got a 2 month old German shepherd. Your article was definitely helpful, but how do you know if/when to separate them? The 4 yr old is fine with puppy drinking out of his water, laying on his bed,playing with his toys ect, he doesn’t make a noise. However, when the puppy gets near him he growls and when the puppy doesn’t get it, he snaps at him. How long are you supposed to let the older dog put the puppy in his place when the puppy is insanely rambunctious and just doesn’t get to leave him alone

    • Hi Jami – All depends on the dog. I trust Pip to correct a pup but, if the pup didn’t stop, I would then step in and use that moment as a chance to practice Body Blocking or Head Turns (in My Smart Puppy). No is No.

  98. Hi Sarah. We have a 6 year old chihuahua male (13 lbs) who is neutered. We have had him since he was a puppy and he is extremely well behaved. Two days ago, I adopted a 9 month old (45 Lb) German shepherd mix who is not yet fixed and was timid at first but is starting to come out of his shell. My chihuahua was fine with the GSD pup in a neutral territory and in fact didn’t seem to care much for the GSD. When we are at home, it’s another story. We have kept both dogs leashed at all times when they are near each other because my chihuahua snapped at the GSD pup and almost bit him on the nose. The GSD pup cries at my chihuahua and I can tell he wants to play. But, my chihuahua growls, shows his teeth, and then snaps at the GSD pup whenever he tries to come near him. We hid all of the toys before we brought the GSD pup home because our chihuahua does tend to be territorial. Is this normal behavior? Is there a better way to help them get along? Will they ever get along? We’d like to let them both roam free but we are scared one of them will get hurt.

    • Most chis I’ve known definitely have a “best offense is a strong defense” motto so your report does not surprise him. Personally, I’d want your new pup to give your chi wide berth. That’s the best bet for keeping your little one safe as your pup grows and grows. Get good local hands on help if your concerns continue or grow. Good luck – Sarah

  99. Hi Sarah

    I have a 4 year old Irish setter and just got a 7 week old goldendoddle. The setter is not very social but is okay with our neighbors dogs and is a mommas girl. She has put the puppy in its place several times with most of the basics. But if the setter is laying with me and the puppy comes over she starts to growl or if the setter is sitting next to me and I pick up pup the puppy goes to sniff her and she snaps at the pup. The puppy is afraid to even walk by her if she’s laying there. I try to keep the puppy from her bowl and space however I feel like the setter just sits and watch the pup. At one point the setter started to play a little and barked and the pup cowered away. What can I do to help them?
    Thanks so much

    • Hi Rosetta – Your setter needs some training ASAP. Not okay for her to growl at or snap to the baby for walking toward you. You need to learn the skills to teach your setter that is not okay. Your baby is right to be frightened. I’d ask your vet for suggestions. – Sarah

  100. We recently adopted a 13 week GSP male. He is extremely energetic, loving, whiny, playful. It is like having a newborn baby – we can’t leave him alone at all because he would destroy any room that we left him in. He does sleep in his crate at night, but we don’t want to leave him in his crate during the day for any length of time. My husband walks him 2 miles a day – is that too much? I can’t imagine what his energy level would be like, otherwise! I can deal with everything else, but I have one big concern. We have a miniature dachshund – 6 years old, female. She has not only accepted him (miracle!), but actually seems to really like him. I am just very concerned that he is going to hurt her. We read about GSPs before getting one and one of the characteristics that was important to me was that they get along with other dogs. He does get along with her, but he is always jumping near or even on her. I thing he is trying to play, but he already weighs 25 pounds and could inadvertently hurt her. We keep saying “no”, redirecting him, have even swatted him once – it seems to make no difference. She has put him in his place a few times and growled and snapped at him. It startled him, but then he was back jumping at her again. I hate to keep them separate all the time and I never leave them unsupervised. Will this get better? I feel very discouraged today. We plan to start obedience training in 2 weeks. Thank you for any suggestions, comments, etc.

    • You are right to be concerned. He CAN hurt her – badly – with a grin on his face. I would supervise them, use a leash on him, use that time to do training around distractions (her) and use body blocking (in My Smart Puppy) to teach him to respect his smaller elders. Good luck you – DO have a task in front of you!

  101. Hi Sarah I have a 6 year old miniature schnauzer she is a timid dog and not used to other dogs. We got a 8week old female and our make dog sniffs the life out of her as well as prodding her with his nose. He is trying to hump her is this normal? Also he won’t lay next to her of if we try to mix them he doesn’t want it unless it’s on his terms. She is very playful towards him and does snip back at him when he is rough or when he humps her. Also she can be scared of him at times but she will follow him. I am more concerned about the humping part

    • Have your pup checked out as sometimes humping happens when the females have a minor vaginal infection. If pup is fine, work your body blocking to teach your adult to stop when you say stop. Good luck – Sarah

  102. I have a puppy that’s pretty big and I just got another puppy that’s very small. They play and aren’t mean to each other but the bigger dog is leaving scars on the little dog’s neck from chewing. Should I be concerned?

    • Yes, absolutely. They are both babies and don’t know the risks involved. Leaving scars/scabs is too rough for me. I’d only let them play in a small area where I could easily supervise/intervene. Good luck!

  103. Hi Sarah

    We have a 3 year old blue cattle girl and have just got an 8 week old blue cattle boy who is deaf. Things are going okay now as it’s only been 3 days since getting the puppy our girl is using her paw to push him over when they are playing but late in the afternoon she gets a little aggressive he yelps we separate but don’t yell at her because I feel she’s tired of him by then. Any ideas how we can help them get on better later in the afternoon. We sleep the puppy inside and our girl is outside so in the morning there is a bit of rough play any suggestions would be appreciated

    • Hi Bronwyn – He can’t hear her warnings so he is surprised when she reacts and she has been giving warnings so she figures he’s just ignoring those warnings. So, he IS going to be surprised when it happens but if she is being careful, my bet is they should be able to work things out. But if you have concerns, get a good local pro to assist.

      As for morning play, keep him on leash for the first few until everyone calms down a bit. Great chance to practice some training exercises. Good luck! Sarah

  104. I have three senior dogs one a male Lab and the other two female mixes. I’ve just bought home a male 8 week puppy another male Lab. I keep the puppy crated at night and in his playpen in the day. We walk all the dogs together. My puppy runs to keep up with the older Lab. The Lab ignores him. It’s now been three weeks of this and I’d like to let the puppy out of his pen with the other dogs… however as soon as I do he jumps and puppy bites at the other dogs. How can I finally let him out without him terrorizing the older dogs and making sure him and them are safe.

    • Have they had a chance to deal with him yet – off leash in your yard, say? Are they good with other dogs, usually?

      • My senior male Lab is awesome with all dogs… never even seen him snap or growl at other dogs. My females are a little more pickier but I haven’t seen them be super agressive either. My senior male Lab has been around the pen when he does he shows his teeth to the puppy as the puppy lunges at the pen sides towards him. It’s obvious to me that if the puppy is out of the pen he will lunge at my Senior Lab. He’s about 12 weeks should I finally let him out and be corrected by the older dogs. I don’t know when his puppy license will expire with the older dogs.

        • If he’s being rude and lunging, it expires immediately. The bigger and more confident he gets, the harder it will be for your older dogs to manage him. At this point, I’d get some pro hands on help to assist with the intro and get to getting them together. Good luck!

  105. Sarah,

    I have a 5 year old female Chihuahua (Lola) and we just recently introduced an 8 week old male shih Tzu, ( Dobby) , for the most part Lola tries to ignore him, but Dobby is very playful and everytime he sees her he wants to play either by laying down and barking at her trying to get her attention or by getting close to her, Lola gets annoyed and growls and she has bitten him twice ( not hard, no blood involved) we do have some limits for him as he is not allowed in any room other than the living room, during the day when we are at work, we put a crate up to create some separation. I am really concerned that Lola will bite him worse and that he could be hurt, is this normal? We have only had him for about 5 days now.

    • Certainly can be, yes. She’s not random, when he won’t quit, she ups her correction until he does. The fact that she is growling tells me she is in a warning sequence. Is he stopping now when he hears the growl? If yes, sounds like he’s getting the message. Injury is rare with a dog with a good warning sequence.

  106. We have an aprox 11 yr old Boston Terrier male and just got a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix female puppy. We got her 4 weeks ago. BT was excited at first salavated for about 45 mins the first day and then was good and seemed to tolerate until last week. If she comes in from outside he wants to growl and lunge or go after her for no reason. We separate them then he seems to tolerate again and then he lunges and goes after her again. This has gone in a couple times a day for the last 5 or 6 days. Thoughts!

    • That sounds extreme. Your pup is growing and may have hurt your BT, even if she didn’t mean to. I’d get some good hands on help to get a look see at what’s happening and help you sort it out. I’m collecting such clips for a project I’m working on, if you could send me a short video, I’d tell you want I see for permission to use the clip to teach.

  107. Needing advice. I have a 4 yr old spayed pit mix and a 3 yr old neutered Pomeranian. We got a 7wk old sheprador who is now 14 weeks old (not yet neutered). Over the past month the pup has begun to attack (playfully but extremely rough) our Pomeranian as soon as they step out onto our back porch. He waits for the Pomeranian to step out and ambushes him. Hes also begun to grab his tail and will drag him across the yard. This behavior does not happen anywhere else except for on our back porch. We have resorted to taking the puppy out leashed, which he still is fighting and will jump on us and snap at hands or clothing (we are working on that). He still jumps at the Pomeranian even with the leash on so now we let them out at different times. I don’t know what else to do. If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it

    • Hi Tweety – Yup, over-the-top herding “games”. No fun for the Pom and potentially dangerous so glad you are on it.

      Time for training class and coaching for handling skills with your pup. Agree completely with letting them out at different times for now.

      Work the Look At Me and Blocking in My Smart Puppy and reward calm generously. Good luck – Sarah

  108. I have an 8 year old Westie terrier and I have recently found a pitbull puppy wondering around my neighborhood so I took her in. My westie keeps attacking the puppy every time she gets close. Will this last a long time? How can I help them get along?

  109. Hi Sarah,

    I have an 11 year old jack russell/poodle mix who has always been our only dog (and she has been spoiled.. which is my fault). We just recently brought home an 8 week old male rescue who we think is a lab/collie mix or something of the sort. Anyways, the pup is quite playful and tries to play with her and she is NOT having it. She barks and growls and nips at him and it is VERY loud and aggressive sounding. My older dog has in the past had similar reactions toward other dogs but it only seems to happen around me, not my husband. I think it has something to do with my dog being territorial around me or something. Is there any way I can fix this? The puppy has been in our house for a week and doesnt seem to get the point that my older dog doesnt want to play. She will lash out at him like this when he runs at her or lunges or tries to play but also is she is sitting near me and he tries to get attention from me or come too close to her. I feel bad because the pup is harmless and he’s just being a pup, but my dog simply doesnt want to be bothered and she seems to only be acting like this around me. I am not sure how to fix this. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    • As you say right up front, she is “spoiled” (by which I assume you mean indulged and not trained) so now she is acting as she’s been trained to act. I’d get some local hands on help because you’ve got work to do!

  110. We got a puppy at 8 weeks old a pit mix (diamond) and have a 4 year old mutt (Gus). At first gus wasnt happy about her but got use to her and even played with her now at 6 months of age for diamond gus is getting more aggressive towards her. She can just walk into a room with him or walk by him and he will growl or want to attack her. He can go up to her but she cant be around period or he is mad. What can we do?

  111. Hi, I have a 2 1/2 yr old black lab mix (Addie) and we just added a week ago a new German Shepard mix puppy (Harley) and they don’t seem to get along. They will chase each other and play if we are out of the room and stuff but when it comes time to playing with toys or treats Addie will growl and snap at Harley if she gets too close. Addie will also sit on us to make sure Harley doesn’t get close and if we are petting Harley Addie will push Harley away. We let the animals sleep on our bed but Addie will not let Harley on the bed. I am concerned this is possesive and aggressive behaviour in Addie and I don’t know what to do about it.

  112. I have a 5 yr old neutered male Pekingese Ziggy . In the past Ziggy has shown aggression toward people (had actually bitten my Mom for petting him or coming into \”his room\”) . ZIggy has also shown aggression toward dogs that come to the fence, lunging and barking at them. Ziggy has never drawn blood from our cat but has lunged at the cat mostly for food. Mostly Ziggy is fine with the cat. When Ziggy meets other dogs on walks or at the vet… he is very fearful and whines and comes close to me / gets clingy. Ziggy must be sending a negative body signal to other dogs b/c other dogs don\’t seem to like him… they back away from him. Ziggy rarely growls. When he lunges / bites it seems to come from nowhere. I now have a 10 week old male pekingese puppy which I think may\’ve been a mistake. The initial meeting went ok. ZIggy seemed to be mildly interested (sniffed, listened to puppy whining) but seemed calm . Meeting was on neutral ground. Since bringing pup home, I have mostly kept them separate. Started with puppy staying downstairs. Ziggy approached crate and snarled and then walked away . Now that puppy is upstairs in neutral room near the doorway, Ziggy mostly avoided him ….until ….Today puppy saw ZIggy playing and barked at him. ZIggy seemed to stalk and lunge and bark at the crate several times. When puppy turned away, Ziggy calmed down and seemed almost to be playing… lying down tail wagging , cute face and sort of talking softly to the puppy . Then Ziggy resumed the stalking… going around the cage… and lunging and barking with snarled face. I body blocked Ziggy , told him calmly no and then picked him up and took him to another room. I\’m worried. It has only been one week. Outside the puppy ran up to Ziggy (who was trying to avoid the puppy and be let inside (even though there has never been any contact at all ) … ZIggy didn\’t attack him… just faced the door. I nervously scooped up the puppy. Ziggy is nearly 20 lbs of mostly muscle. Puppy is 4 lbs. Please help. I\’ll get your book ASAP.

  113. Hi Sarah, we have a rescue dog that is approximately two to two-and-a-half now. We\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve had him for a little over a year and he\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s always been aggressive toward larger dogs. He\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s a 15lb mix of 3/4 miniature poodle and a quarter beagle. I only know this because we did the DNA test . The shelter told us he was a Welsh Terrier. He looks exactly like one, but he has a beagle bark, which is what made me do the test to begin with. Curiosity got the best of me. He\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s great around people and likes to play with smaller dogs. Anytime he sees a larger dog he pulls at the leash, foams at the mouth, growls barks and snarls. He improved somewhat after taking him to doggie daycare and dog parks, but we had to quit taking him because when people at the dog park would pet my dog, as soon as another dog would approached my dog would go into attack mode. And if someone would throw a ball or stick, if he wasn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t the one that got it he would try to attack the other dog until he got the toy. We have a neighbor dog that started coming over that is boxer and Pitbull. It took him awhile, but he now gets along with the dog but still very possessive over sticks, toys… the other dog, even though she outweighs my dog bye 50 lb and is solid muscle, will drop the stick or whatever it is that she has and walk away. It doesn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t matter what it is… Everything in the yard has to be his. However, he really likes the company and he does like to play but it always has to be on his terms. Every time that dog leaves our yard, our dog cries and barks trying to get her back in the yard. He seems like he was very lonely and now that the neighbor is moving, he will have no one to play with. So we got a puppy, since he has always gotten along with smaller dogs, but we\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’re off to a rocky start. We had planned to let them meet at the park on neutral ground, but it was raining cats and dogs from Hurricane Harvey so that was not an option. Brought the puppy home and let them get acquainted outside in the yard while she was in the carrier. She is 10 weeks old 7 lb Tibetan Terrier. She\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s very sweet and mild tempered but even when she\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s in the crate minding her own business, the older dog will go up to the cage and bark and growl and headbutt the cage. He seems okay with her when I have her on a leash walking her around the yard, but the minute she tries to play or if she runs around, he is right on her. He acts like he wants to start humping her, but I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’m afraid he might just attack her. He gets his mouth right by her neck and then positions himself on her back. I have stopped this every time and either pick the puppy up or push him off and say no. But he has a really intense look on his face and his whole body is stiff and his tail is down. So I don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t know if he is actually going to try to hump her or hurt her. He has been fixed, but when we first got him he did hump just a couple of times, trying to show dominance I think. We have had no issues with him doing that in almost a year. Should I just keep separating them and saying no? Or should I let him go to see what he does so I know which behavior it is? I always have the puppy on a leash , so she\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s always right by my feet when this happens. I could separate them quickly if something happened. We keep the puppy in a wire crate so our dog can walk all around it and sniff. We take her out for about an hour at a time and then bring her in the house and let her walk around just for a short amount of time. I can\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t leave her out too long because my dog is right on her, acting like he\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s going to be aggressive with her. He even start salivating to the point where it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s dripping off of his beard. I feel bad because the puppy really wants to be with people, but I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’m trying to make my dog feel like he\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s still important and that nothing is going to change since we have her. We take her out for very short periods while my older dog is outside, but now he won\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t stay out very long because she\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s in the house. Sometimes he\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ll wagons tail and act like he likes her, other times he\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ll walk close to her and ignore her and even let her walk right beside him and other times he acts like he\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s going to be aggressive with her. I just want to make sure that I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’m doing the right thing by leaving her in the crate most of the time while we\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’re in the house. Again, when I take her outside, we\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’re usually out for about an hour or longer. When we come in the house she\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s only out for maybe 10 minutes or less and then she\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s in the crate after that. Se will cry for about five or ten minutes, then she\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ll take a nap for about a half an hour so. I don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t like leaving her in the crate so much, but I can\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t let her out with the other dog yet. Am I doing what\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s best for both dogs, or is there a better way to handle this?

    • I’d get local hands-on help to assist with this. You’re older dog sounds unpredictable and a tad trigger happy. There is a lot that can be done but you’ll need hands-on teaching to get those skills. Until then, why not crate your adult dog when the pup is due some time out? He could use some structure. Good luck!

  114. I have 2 new husky/Pitt mix puppies on top of a 8yr old Chihuahua, 13yr old Pekinese, almost 4 yr old boxer/Pitt and a almost 3yr old Mastiff/Pitt. I only purchased 2 of the 6 all the others are rescue. The 2 Huskies are almost 8wks. The Chihuahua, and Pekinese keep their distance and give warnings to stay away. The boxer likes the puppies some times but gives warnings when she’s had enough. The Mastiff/Pitt is my concern. He was the baby and now these 2 have taken his attention. So I assume he is having a hard time adjusting. He has just walked passed and growled and played sometimes with them. He growled when they got in his face while he was chewing on his bone until today he snapped at one and got her lip. His tooth pierced the skin. I don’t think it was intentional because he immediately showed remorse. I read several comments about keeping puppies separate from older dogs. Is this a sign that they will not adjust to the puppies. Any advice is always welcome.

    • It is normal for many adults dogs will growl and snap at pups who get in their face when they are chewing something. And they don’t have “remorse” about it. He probably reacted to your reaction. I don’t give adult dogs things they are likely to be possessive about around young pups to prevent such accidents. My rule is they can all hang out IF you are around to keep an eye on things. I do not leave baby pups loose with adult dogs but they do spend time together when I am near.

  115. Hi, Sarah. My husband and I have a 9 year old Cocker Spaniel. Previously, we also had a dachshund/corgi mix. At times, the Cocker Spaniel would pounce on the dachshund/corgi and pin him to the ground. On one occasion, she did draw blood. The dachshund/corgi was older and lived in the home first. Sadly, he passed away a couple of years ago. Since that time, the Cocker Spaniel has been an only dog.
    This weekend, my husband and I got a 12 week old Maltese/Poodle mix. We took the Cocker Spaniel with us to meet her. The Cocker was timid, but let the puppy near her and the Cocker sniffed her. It seemed to be going fairly well, so we brought the puppy home. On the car ride home, everything was fine. Once we got home, the Cocker began to become aggressive. She pinned the puppy down on the floor the first evening.
    We have been trying to give the Cocker Spaniel the same amount of attention as we did prior to the puppy’s arrival. We are also letting the Cocker Spaniel out of the house first, for walks, and then letting her go back into the home first, in an attempt to get her to “let” the puppy come in. We have also been attempting to let them sniff one another while they are outside on their walks. In addition, we have been trying to reward the Cocker when the puppy goes near her and she doesn’t snap at it.
    Last evening, after returning from a walk, I was sitting on the floor with the Cocker. The puppy came up behind me and the Cocker immediately snapped and pinned the puppy to the floor again. I am working on arranging an in-home meeting with a behaviorist, but wanted to see if you had any advice/ideas in the meantime. I will definitely try to separate them with a gate some this evening. We have been keeping the puppy in a cage when we aren’t home and then closely supervising her when we are home (ie, not letting her freely roam where the Cocker may snap at her).
    Thank you for your time.

  116. Hi, I have a 3 yr old male lab mix that is not neuter and my husband and I just recently added our newest member to the family which is a 7 week old female french bulldog. The male dog seems to not mind her and tends to sniff her a lot and want to be close to her. He’ll wimper (not in an anxious way but more like upsat) when she is sleeping or ignoring him. He will than lay next to her and sniff her more. I’m worried he might want to mate with her but I’m not to sure either because he constantly won’t leave her side and will sniff her a lot. Please help.

    • In general, dogs only attempt to mate when the female is in a certain stage of her heat cycle. Usually, females start to cycle at 6 months of age or older. I’d be sure to have one or both of them neutered before that time.

  117. I have an 8 week puppy. My 5 year old male rescue dog growls ALL the time at her, even if she is just near him. He is not physically aggressive. My rescue dog was abused so fearful of a lot of things, although with training much better. As this is all the time I am getting concerned. Do I tell rescue dog to stop as now my other rescue dog is growling too, she was not before.

  118. Hi there! We have a 4 year old Labradoodle (Murphy) and just brought home a 3 month old terrier mix (Luna). Luna is scared of Murphy and cowers from him. I’m sure that will change. What I’m concerned about is that Luna had a bone and was chewing on it and Murphy came over to investigate. She growled and snapped at him. I took the bone from her and she displayed NO growling or snapping at me. What should we do?

    • Hi, Susan – That is very typical (and usually normal) between an adult dog and a pup. It’s Luna’s bone when she’s chewing it and Murphy needs to learn to respect that or bear the consequences. At 4-months she is plenty old enough to learn that one.

  119. I have an 8-year-old retriever mix who adores people and has never initiated aggressive behavior with another dog, but has snapped at other dogs and drawn blood in a few cases when he felt threatened/bothered. But he also coexisted well with a cockapoo for the first four years I had him. He’s been an only dog for 3 years but has interacted with family members small dogs when they were visiting without event. Last week I rescued a very tiny terrier mix. She is under four pounds and about 14 weeks. The shelter staff thought that they interacted great. She even snapped at him once and he walked away…once home, I’ve been slowly introducing them and only allowing supervised time together. She really wants to play with him and I’ve been teaching him to lie down to do so. He will give her licks and kisses but has also (even though it was affectionate) taken her head in his mouth. Last night he had a toy and she was chasing him around and then she stared at him and he dropped it and let her run off with it. I praised him for letting her have it. Then he lay down and I was petting him…She came charging over and pounced on his head. He growled, snapped and grabbed her. I screamed as a gut reaction. He never stood up while he did this but he is 70 pounds and he made a mark on her head and drew a little blood under her eye. She tore off to the other room screaming (literally screaming) and didn’t stop howling for about 3 minutes. I went to find her and see if she was okay and he went outside through his dog door. I feel bad because I know I let my guard down and feel responsible for what happened. I am also fearful of how these two can live peacefully and safely together…He is a good dog who listens well to me but she is a young puppy that is very small and his “correction” could kill her. Thankfully she is okay (the eye has a small scab on it this morning but looks perfectly fine…it was pretty superficial), but she shakes now when she sees him. I’m afraid to let them interact. I’ve left a message with a local trainer to get help but I guess I am looking for some guidance and reassurance that there is a possibility this can work out.

    • The size differential is the bugaboo, isn’t it? He had a pretty normal response and, my guess is, your pup won’t do that again but I can’t guarantee that. I’ve seen that sort of screaming before and it is heartbreaking. It’s often more surprise and shock than actual physical harm. Hopefully, she’s learned to be more respectful. Glad you’ve called a local trainer.

  120. Hi Sarah, I’m so happy to have found your page.
    We have a 10 month old Great Pyrenees/ Bloodhound mix neutered pup.
    We recently rescued what was supposed to be a 10 week old lab mix. We have found out he is actually only 6/8 weeks.
    We introduced them in the front yard. Hambone our GP mix gave a complete sniff down. Then started pushing at the baby with his nose gently at first then harder and harder. I’m afraid he will hurt him. We have kept the interactions to just 5/10 mins each time. Should I be worried about the nose punching? We made a bed for the little guy in our deep bath tub. They can get nose to nose but Hambone can’t get in with him. He can still sniff without nudging.
    We introduced the pup to the dogs next-door and stepped back to watch the went beautifully.
    Because of the size difference of both of our pups I need pointers on how to handle it with older much larger puppy.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Hopefully, Hambone will adapt quickly. Sounds like he may not know the pup is actually a dog and not something worth chasing. Taking things slow, as you are, and giving them sniffing without risk are both smart things. When his Great Pyr side kicks in, things should settle down. That nose punching would worry me, too. Doing some blocking when that happens (as laid out in My Smart Puppy) can help. Good luck – Sarah

      • Thank you for your quick response.
        It\\\’s reassuring to know I\\\’m on the right path with these two.
        With Hambone being 75% GP but acting like hes 100% BH, I hope it kicks in soon too.
        I just ordered your book.
        I wish I had it when we first adopted Hambone. After reading the available pages on-line I see I made quite a few mistakes.
        I will be retraining him while I train Puppy Doe. Now if we could only agree on a name.

  121. My new puppy Blanche is really energetic towards my Pomeranian mix Coqui. Only problem is, she’s terrified of Blanche. I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to have to send Blanche back, but Coqui comes first and she’s terrified.

    • Hi Haley – No way to know from here. If this is a new situation, give it some time and see if everyone works it out. If its been a few weeks, then maybe a local dog pro can give you some helpful suggestions after seeing the interaction first hand. Good luck!

  122. Hi Sarah
    I have a 3 year old lab mix( Diesel) and my brother just got a lab mix 3month old puppy. He is great with her. Very gentle and plays with her constantly. My big concern is that Diesel has seemed to stop eating. He eats very little or not at all. We have tried everything from putting coconut oil in his food, water to make it soft, even hamburger meet to give it a different flavor and he just eats the meat or licks the coconut oil off it and spits it out. The only way he eats is if I hand feed him. Please any advise would be very helpful. Thank you in advance.

    • Is he pooping normally? Is he losing weight? If the answer is “yes” and “no” then I would not panic but I would investigate where he’s getting food. Like: maybe the pups? I’d check in with his vet to make sure all is well.

      If he isn’t pooping normally and is losing weight then VET ASAP. Something is amiss. Don’t wait.

  123. Hello,
    We have a 1yr and 7mo. old GSD and recently introduced an 8 week old yellow lab puppy to our pack. The two get along pretty well. My conern is during play. When they play Maggie (the GSD) will grab the puppys neck and ears and will actually try to drag the puppy this way. We try to let them work it out but Sammy (the puppy) will yelp but always comes back for more, is the puppy crying wolf? Maggie will pin Sammy down and always goes right for the neck area and grabs.
    We dont want to intervene since Sammy doesn’t stop coming at her when Maggie lets her go. The two take toys from each other and play tug of war with a bone, which is comical since Maggie is much larger and Sammy’s attempts are futile. No aggressions are seen other than the neck thing, I’ve removed Sammy’s collar just to be safe. Maggie gets along with other dogs extremely well in dog parks or on walks.

    • Trust your gut. Too rough is too rough, even if the baby thinks it’s “fun”. I would not let them play outside together yet but rather inside where there is less room for the dangers of momentum and impact. Good luck – Sarah

  124. Hello, 🙂
    We just got an 11 week old male Kangal (Koda), he’s been with us for 1 week now. He’s a very laid back fella. We also have a 10 year old Alaskan Malamute (Rue) who is also very laid back and well socialized with other dogs.
    My question is this, Rue doesn’t seem very fond of the puppy. He doesn’t pay much attention to him and keeps to himself a lot. Which is unusual because he is a very playful dog.
    He growls at Koda when he comes to close, Koda does stop and back off.
    Just yesterday Rue started somewhat allowing Koda to play with him, very gentle pawing from Koda and Rue does respond with a wagging tail but he growls and shows his teeth, all the while being playful. Is this a normal and non threatening behaviour?
    I have never witnessed Rue growl while playing with other dogs. I guess thats why I’m concerned that it might not be normal. But after reading your article it does make sense that he is teaching him manners?

    • Hi, Diane – It’s possible that Rue things your Kangal pup is a lot more dog than you do and I tend to trust dogs on such matters. Make sure you do a LOT of training and socialization with Koda ASAP because I bet Rue knows something you do not yet know.

  125. Hello, I have a male 1 year old Husky who has just bit into the head of our 5 month old female husky. They’ve been doing well with occasional play but moderately seperated. They don’t sleep together as my male doesn’t seem to care to be in the bed with us. This bite was the result of my older dog coming inside to see our new baby chewing on her bone… was it the rawhide that cause such aggression? Our gentle giant gave no warning to this attack? He’s been sharing food, water, toys, even sleeping on the same bed with her? I’m so confused as to why he would lose it and draw blood on her?

    • Another note to add, my male has been playing very well with her since she came home 2 weeks ago. This was literally out of nowhere. He hasn\\\’t been eating as well since she arrived as he ALWAYS wants what everyone else has and refuses to eat until he\\\’s starving. Could this be why he attacked her over the bone? Is he resource guarding? How do we help him with this if it is indeed the culprit?

      • No bones. Nothing that used to be alive. MANY dogs will fight over such items. Your dog is one of those dogs so no more of any sort of toy/chew like that.

    • Yes, the rawhide could have been the trigger. My rule is don’t give any dog something worth fighting over. That includes nothing that used to be alive: rawhides, bully sticks, ears, snouts, hoofs etc. Also, at her age, he is starting to expect more rule following from her so his corrections will increase. If everything else has been going well then removal of coveted items may do the trick. That’s your call.

  126. This is a great article, thanks!
    We have a 9 week old Beagle, Bailey. She just came home a week ago and is only about 5 lbs. We have a 4 year old lab, Midnight, that we’ve had since she was 8 weeks old too. Midnight is very well-mannered, she’s a certified therapy dog. She’s been very gentle with Bailey. When Bailey wants to play tug Midnight will lay (otherwise 60 lbs of Labrador ends up swinging the little beagle). They take turns taking toys away from each other but that seems to be one trying to get the other to play with the toy with them. We supervise their play together mostly due to the size difference. But yesterday Bailey started getting mean with Midnight. She grabs her lips and face with those sharp puppy teeth. Midnight just looks at us and cries. We get Bailey, scold her “No Bailey! Be easy!” and move her away. When Bailey play bites us we yelp like a puppy if she gets too rough and usually distract her with a frozen stuffed animal.
    This morning was the last straw. Midnight is pretty passive and Bailey was grabbing her face, neck, ears, etc. so I finally said, “Midnight, tell her no!” Midnight started to spurt around, pawed her over a few times, snapped at her and laid down. Bailey hid behind mom and rolled over. She didn’t bother Midnight again in such a rude way.
    Is it ok to encourage Midnight to stand up for herself?
    Our last dog passed away a few months ago and she was so grouchy with Midnight, She was older and not interested in puppy nonsense…she merely tolerated Midnight’s existence. I really wanted Midnight to have a playmate so I want to make sure we navigate these waters correctly.

    • Yes, it’s not only okay but necessary. She was inhibited and appropriate. I trust well-socialized, stable adult dogs to know more about being a dog than we do. The trick is people have to know if they have that sort of dog or not. You knew and she handled it.

  127. I have an adult previously abused pit/boxer who is in general aggressive with new people or animals. I did manage to get him to coexist with my 2 cats we got months ago. So we kept 2 pupps of my female adult lab/pit mix and his litter of pupps. When they were born he was just as attentive and concerned as the mother over them, he even cleaned their waste also. Now that the pupps are 2 months old he growls at them for no reason, like they don’t have to look at him or touch him. If they are near him at all he starts his growling, snapping, and when in kennel jumping the kennel. I know it is a normal thing etc but with him once he starts there is no stopping it is like he has flash backs and snaps. My fiance startled him one day and he bit him on the leg (wasn’t bad barely broke skin) and kept coming for him, there was no snapping him out of it so he had to put him in a headlock (he didn`t hurt him) throw him in the back yard and slam the door because he was still going for him. Once his episode is over and I snap him out of it he shows complete remourse and you can see the sadness in his eyes. My question is do you have any suggestions to keep the peace and not to have any harm to them (pupps and adults). He is very food aggressive so I will feed them seperate, but my biggest problem is I don’t know his past or triggers so I can’t tell when the pupps have done anything to antagonize him and he doesn’t give warnings he just snaps out of reality sometimes out of nowhere. I don’t want to give him away I am not scared of him and he doesn’t act like this towards me. I just can’t have a dog that everyone human and animal is scared of, if I rehome him he would be put down I won’t let that happen. Professional help and training isn’t an option I can’t afford that although I have made alot of improvement within the last year. He was set on fire and ran from ligters but now he doesn’t flinch, I am slowly earning his trust more and more each day. Sorry to rant but any advice is appreciated THANKS.

    • No, that behavior toward eight-week-old pups is not normal, nor is his attack on your boyfriend. Get hands-on help ASAP. Past abuse is not an excuse for this sort of aggression; sadly, many dogs are abused who do not attack people. See if a local shelter or rescue can help you out. Don’t wait. 🙁

  128. Also any suggestions in general I would appreciate. I keep them in a crate when neighbors come, but one day my neighbor went in the room where his crate also the pupps are and he bit my neighbor so bad she should have got stitches (big gash blood everywhere). I do not know how it happened I assume my neighbor did something she shouldn’t have or tried to pet him but she won’t tell me and I believe is why she didn’t go to the ER. This is a constant issue that worries me if someone is in my house or yard and he bites them and they go to the ER if they are going to make me put him down. Despite it being in my house, yard, or even him being in a crate when it happens I am worried he will be labeled aggressive and a danger. I have seen it happen many times and I keep him locked up like Ft. Knox 6ft fence in back yard (back door leads straight to fence so no escape going out) and my porch has fence around it instead of wooden rails, and I also have a locked gate on my porch were the steps are. This was the 1st time he has actually bitten someone and I worry if I don’t help him deal with his issues I am going to loose him.

    • Time for some hands-on training help. And, he IS aggressive – no label necessary. If you feel like you have to keep him in “Fort Knox”, then you know he is a hazard. From now on, lock the door he is crated in and get help. He sounds like quite a dangerous dog.

  129. Hi there. I have a new puppy (3 months old chihuahua/terrier) that is constantly jumping on and nipping at my 3 year old chihuahua. My adult dog (Buck) is a very meek and passive dog while the puppy (Beatrice) is very aggressive and playful. The issue is that Buck yelps and whimpers when Beatrice does this and she does this constantly. I spray her with a water bottle when I’m home to deter her, but they are gated together when I am at work and have come home to hear Buck yelping constantly as I am walking up. Do I need to separate them while I’m gone or will that cause frustration/animosity between them?

    • Hi David – Don’t leave them together unsupervised and I’d see if you can find some other well-socialized, older, small dogs for Beatrice to learn some manners from. Good luck – Sarah

  130. Thank you so much for this article! 2 months ago, I adopted a mix breed puppy, Bear, and I started taking him to a dog park. He is now 4 months old. Not only at the dog park, whenever he meets a dog, he jumps on to them. I was hoping adult dogs to teach Bear some manners, but at the same time I was also worried that he would grow up as a rude dog. This relieves maybe one of my biggest worries. Thank you!

    • Hi Yunji – I’d have your pup interact with only well-socialized adult dogs for a while. Let them teach him his doggy manners. 🙂 I’d skip the dog park, for now.

  131. Hi Sarah… Wow.. Judging from all the comments, this is a big issue. We just brought home a 10 week old standard poodle male to our 3yo intact female golden retriever (soon to be spayed!). We’ve been living In a gated community… Crate and baby gates keeping everyone separate… For about a week. We tried an off leash meeting a an unfamiliar park and goldie mostly ignored the pup who harassed her until the Goldie had enough and snapped at her. Playtime over. I don’t think there was contact, but the pup Yelped like hell. I tried another off leash meeting today and there was a lot of pawing and mutual chasing and tail wagging but ended (after about 5 minutes) with growling (?!!) by Goldie and yelping by pup. Goldie immediately left pup at my recall. Are we going too fast and is poodle puppy traumatized? I have seen some minor resource guarding with sticks and balls with other adult dogs with the Goldie…. So… Maybe I need counter conditioning? Just not sure how to take the next step. Everyone s comfortable and relaxed when one or the other is crated.

    • Hi Erin – If your pup is pushy, your adult has every right to snap and growl to teach her manners. That is often entirely normal. What is appropriate and what isn’t can’t be known from here so getting some experienced eyes on the pair would be helpful.

  132. We have a 3.5 year Golden Retriever (Nicolai) and recently my son got a Pitbull (Siegfried) who is now about 4 months old. They play all the time however Nicolai keeps leaving marks on Siegfried draws blood. How can we stop this, we keep separating when they are biting (during play, tails wagging etc.0

    • Hi, Melinda – You can encourage Nicolai to lie down to play with the pup. I’ve done that with my German Shepherds through the years and it makes for less active play. That might help.

  133. Hello,
    I have a 10 year old husky who’s fantastic with dogs. He’s lived with other small dogs and cats on and off. We just adopted a 2.5 month old Pomsky and our old guy is not too excited. He mostly gets upset when the pup gets close to him inside the house.the first week he did put his mouth on him when the puppy jumped by him. He has lunged and gets a very deep toned growl going. They do fine in the car, on walks and in the yard. They are not left alone and the puppy is crate trained. Is this a typical interaction? I feel like my old dog is just not into sharing his pack. Thank you for your time!

    • Hi there – or he’s working hard to teach your pup some manners. Can’t tell from here but I am heartened that he has not harmed your pup. Sounds like more sound than fury to me but trust your gut. I’d certainly keep separating then when they are unsupervised. And interrupt your pup when she is leaping at his face or on him and she is not taking the hint. Also, get her around other socialized adults to learn the ropes from others, too.

  134. We have a beagle,bloodhound 11 yr old mix
    He gives no warnings with the new puppy. No growling or showing of the teeth. Just pounces on her with out any warning. Today he also tried to bite her.

    • Hi, Jim – the relatively good news here is if he had wanted to bite her, he would have. Also sounds like she is on his last nerve. Without knowing the size or age of your pup or her behavior, my best suggestion is to get some experienced eyes on this to tell you who is pushing whom and what to do. Hope things sort out quickly.

  135. Hi! We have a two year old male husky and just recently got a 4 month old mix. He is male as well. Our husky tolerates him when in the house – sometimes plays with him in the yard. But anytime we have guests over, or the neighbors dog comes over to play, he is extremely mean to the puppy. He will bite/mouth him, nudge him when he’s running to the point where the puppy falls over, and often doesn’t let him run/move much at all. When this behavior is happening, the puppy is extremely submissive to him and immediately lays on the ground and puts his ears back anytime our husky comes near him. It is sad to see – it almost feels like he’s being bullied. I’m worried it is harming him mentally. Any advice/thoughts as to why our husky is doing this would be much appreciated! Thank you!

    • Hi – Sounds like when you’re older male gets excited he targets your pup so, if there is excitement, keep your pup on leash with you so he isn’t bullied or rotate-crate them so the pup has some free-time with your guests and then your adult does. Do this while you get some training on your older male so you can control him verbally. Good luck!

  136. We brought a puppy home in early May, a rescue Cunucu. At first my 12 year old Puggle hated her, let her know this was his house but would randomly play with her. It was never vicious. By this time the puppy has eaten 5 dog beds (3 of which were Puggles) and was spayed. About 2 wks after the spaying the pup started walking around w her head down, ears flat, but wagging her tail- shed stand away from him, but stare and send signals. My older dog will show teeth, bark relentlessly, and Im afraid hes going to harm her, or us, when we reprimand him to stop. Does anyone know why the pups doing this? Its the same reaction everytime & I cant find anything online! Help.

    • Sounds like she’s trying to be UBER submissive and it’s not helping him to calm down. You’re frightened he will hurt you? Get some expert insight to help you sort it out. I’d also get some SprayShield, which is an animal safe spray, to defend yourself or your pup if needed: No guarantees but it works more often than it doesn’t, in my experience. Stay safe and good luck.

      • It’s weird, He hasnt every bitten or nipped anything. I can stick my whole hand in his mouth he wouldnt do anything. I dont what it is- perhaps wagging her tail, he thinks she will pounce? Im just not sure. He hasnt slept in a crate since 3, but every chance he gets to hide from her, he goes in there. But at the same time he has sep anxiety and hes been insanely better since she came along….. i just feel helpless

        • When in doubt, train. He sounds like he is unstable and for unstable dogs, extrenal structure can be VERY calming. Use the exercises taught in My Smart Puppy to get him going. This is not a dog I would do a lot of treat training with but rather calm, gentle insistence: Good luck!

  137. Hey Sarah , I have a 4 month old bluenose pit/gottiamerican male named chop and I recently just gotten an 7week old red nose blue/gatorback pit named drako . Chop tends to get on top of drako and try’s to hump him but drako is too small . What do I do to stop that ? I am thinking that is bad but lost on how to stop it

  138. Thanks for this great article! My 3 year old Shih Tzu-poodle has her first litter 3 months ago. She is attentive but constantly picks on the most playful male pup. Pinning him to the ground, pushing down his tail. Today his tail just went limp for the first time. I do not know what that means? Did she break his spirit? Establish dominance? He is still very playful/aggressive but the tail is def down

  139. Hi Sarah,
    So here’s the problem. I have a rescue (from the Caribbean-he was a foster failure, he was 5 weeks at the time I acquired him) and we just got a 10 week old Lab pup last night. Our rescue is 2 years old. He was always great around other dogs and especially puppies, as I have fostered more since him). So now in the last 24 hours he’s snapped twice, (puppy laid on him, and puppy got two close to him on the couch and he snapped again). It scares me because I’ve never seen him do this before! He isn’t playing with him, as he normally does with puppies, he’s not happy! The puppy isn’t bothered, didn’t flinch either time. He just ignores the pup the rest of the time however he is drooling all of a sudden which I’ve read is caused by immense stress(he’s not hurt and he’s healthy) And the pup wants to play but isn’t begging for it by any means. Is this normal? I’ve grabbed him very quickly both times, so I’m not sure whether he’s actually bite him but he’d do damage if he did as he’s a large dog and pup is just a pudgy little ball. I believe he’s being territorial. Pup hasn’t had second set of shots so we’ve been advised to not walk him outside the yard until it’s done (2 weeks time). What can we do to make this transition smoother? This poor pup just wants to be around him, and our dog is clearly extremely stressed out by this new addition! Thanks so much !!!

    • First, PLEASE socialize your pup. Not walk outside is EXTREME. I’ve taken pups on the streets on NYC for YEARS without issue – stay in “safe” areas, away from any likely unvaccinated dogs, but socialization is REALLY, REALLY important. This from 2008 on the importance of early socialization from the AVMA!:

      Now, why is the pup on the couch with your adult dog? The fact that the pup isn’t bothered tells me your adult dog knows how pushy this pup may be. He hasn’t hurt him; I would allow your adult some places of peace – like the couch – where the pup cannot reach. And I would back my adult dog up. A pup SHOULD flinch when an adult snaps, so help your pup learn to be respectful of your adult.

  140. Hi Sarah,

    We just introduced a 6 week old Norwegian Elk Hound to our 2 year old Siberian husky, they love each other! They play rough but being that Our husky is a female and the elk hound is a male she really looks after him. We haven’t had any issues with their play turning violent but they do love to bark use their mouths to nip at each other and wrestle.

    We have had The hound for 2 weeks with them playing “rough” and the last 2 times we have taken the Husky to a local dog park alone, she has acted aggressive to almost all the dogs in the park. She is normally Alpha in these situations but has never been up in other dogs faces growling, barking, tackling and a few times biting the scruff of 2 dog’s necks.

    Is this because she has been playing with the puppy this way or is this a new fight or flight instinct that has come about giving her a puppy?

    Any help would be amazing, Thanks!

    • Hi Kyle – Guess my question would be how much training are you doing with her? That would be how I would approach getting her back to the old normal. How much verbal control do you have? How well does she walk on leash and pay attention to you? If those are areas that could be strengthened, then start with My Smart Puppy (even though she is 2). Good luck – Sarah

  141. Hello,
    I have two older dogs, Cody (10) and Trixie (7). And a 4 month old puppy (Ernie). Ernie and Trixie get along perfectly. But, Cody and Ernie don’t connect. They have had one incident where Cody showed his teeth, had enough and snapped, no blood drawn. But, ever since they have both hated each other, staring each other down, growling, barking. I am aware this normal out of a older dog towards a puppy. But most of the growling is the puppy, when I sit with the puppy and Cody passes by the puppy starts growling, not playful, and barking. This concerns me a little. Is there any tips or ways I can fix this? Thanks Olivia (Puppy is a Collie/ mix, Cody is a Shetland Sheepdog) (Only over the course of having the puppy for a week)

    • Sounds like you have a VERY confident and strong pup. Start training yesterday and keep at it. My guess is Cody knows exactly who Ernie is and is not a fan. Teaching Ernie to be more polite and responsive to you should help Cody to relax. Skip all-treat training and go for space work as outlined in My Smart Puppy. Ernie doesn’t need more confidence!

  142. Hello I have a three year old sausage dog , and my daughter has just bought a cavapoo, we have him at our house while she is at work, my dog does not like any kind of interaction with dogs and is petrified. The last couple of nights when my daughter’s dog has gone home… mine sits there with his bone and just howls for a long period of time do you know why this could be ?

    • Sounds like your doxie isn’t having any fun at all so, when the pups is visiting, use gates and crates to keep them separate. Since dachshunds can have such serious back issues, I am extra cautious with playful pups. Pain could be the reason your dog is scared around other dogs or it could be behavioral, no way to know from here. Regardless, I’d respect your dog and go some protective separation.

  143. Thanks Sarah this page was really helpful! Anyway my older Beagle is being a little aggressive with our 5 month old Doberman puppy. Before when our puppy came close to our beagle,Baxter, chewing a toy he was snarled at and our puppy left Baxter alone. Now Baxter will snarl and run after our puppy for no reason. Our puppy won’t even do anything and Baxter will get angry with him. Can you please help?

    • Five months is the classic age when older dogs start to demand more respect from the younguns’ – that may be what’s going on with Baxter and your Dobe. And maybe it’s for “no reason” or maybe it’s for a good dog reason, I don’t know. I do know that smaller dogs can get pretty defensive if the growing pups hurt them, even in play.

  144. Hi sarah i need advice and help
    I have a one year six month male husky. Who is usually the sweetest and loves other dogs, i got a 6week old golden retriever puppy he has been with us for two weeks now. My husky lets him play with toys and sleep on his bed and seems very gentle BUT he starts bullying him once im near them( trying to play or cuddle) even if the puppy is doing nothing and im playing fetch with the husky he still gets a second to go as if bite( not actually biting) the pups neck or head. The pup corners himself or lies on his back submissivly. Today i couldnt help it but defend the little pup who hid behind me. Im not sure what to do. Oh and if i separate them the pup barks and the husky whines till their in the same room again.
    Is this normal? Will it always be like this?!? Or they what? Im lost and No proffesionals near by to consult

    • Oh, you SHOULD put a stop to non-normal behavior/bullying. Sounds like when your husky, who is still a pup, too, gets excited he goes off the rails a bit. So, put the baby pup away during those time and work on your control of your husky. As for their upset at being separated, that will not go away so might as well deal with it now.

  145. Hi,
    We just got a 7 week old Mini foxy puppy (Charlee). We already have two adult dogs a foxy (Bentley) and a mixer (Katie). Katie tends to sniff Charlee a bit but walks away when Charlee tries to play. Bentley on the other hand just constantly growls and shows his teeth to Charlee every time he hears, sees or smells him. What can I do to make Bentley more comfortable around the puppy?

    • If a stranger suddenly appeared in your living room, how long would it take you to warm up? As long as Bentley is warning so well (and not hurting the pup), I’d give everyone some time to get used to each other and do some separation, as well, to give your adult dogs a break now and then.

  146. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for your post. I m so glad I found it, it is great and very helpful. I need some advice and hope you can help me as no one else has been able to really give me any advice. I am in a very difficult situation right now. I have a 21 month old Border Collie/Lab mix, Stella, who is without a doubt the greatest dog on earth. She is sweet, friendly, obedient,smart, social, gentle, I could go on forever. Our life with her is and has always been wonderful, even as a puppy she was perfect! Well last Saturday while out shopping, my husband and I stumbled upon a puppy adoption event and on a whim we adopted another puppy! The puppy comes with a 2 week \”trial period\” to see if the dog is a good match for the home. I thought the puppy would be a wonderful addition but my normally friendly and sweet Stella growled and barked at the puppy, Macy, right away. We were baffled by her behavior. In no time at all the puppy started showing her very feisty and large personality and was not phased at all by Stella though she is 50 pounds heavier than Macy! Macy is no doubt a dominant alpha. Long story short, I am starting to see Stella\’s personality change. She is much more timid, quiet. She goes to the backyard in the pitch black and does not want to come back in. I have to carry her in and she pushes back. Sometimes she will follow me everywhere I go and today she even got in the shower with me! I have been taking her to daycare which she loves, but I have watched her on their webcam and she has been pretty much isolated from all the other dogs which is so abnormal for her because she is usually so playful and loves other dogs. At one point she even put herself in a crate which is very out of character especially because she is not and has never been crated at home. She no longer really tires to assert her dominance with the puppy and sort of just retreats when the puppy comes near her. Her appetite is affected too. I really care about the puppy and want to make it work, the last thing I would ever want to do is adopt a puppy only to return it, but I do not want this to negatively affect Stella.We have done all we can to let Stella know that Macy will never take her place.We never scold her if and when she growls or barks at Macy, we always greet her and feed her first, we correct Macy if she tries to bark at or growl at Stella.We have separate sleeping places for them.I don\’t know at what point I say, \”this is not working out\” and take the puppy back. Please help me!

    • You already know the answer. This is why they have trial periods, because things come up. Macy may do great with a larger, stronger dog but won’t do well with Stella. Stella is awesome, just not with Macy. Macy has had a great time in your home, I am sure, and is more ready now for her forever home but that home is not, in my opinion, your home.

  147. Hello~
    I have an 11 1/2 yr old male Cocker Spaniel. Last year we lost our female to old age. The dogs got along great. Recently I Rescued a puppy. He is a 4 month old choc lab/german shepherd mix. I began fostering him at 7 weeks and he was just a little 5lb pup. He is niw just slightly bigger than my senior. He does not take cues from my older dog. He will jump on Bandit or bite his ears and Bandit will growl and snap at him. This gets the puppy more excited and he begins growling and snapping back. I’m worried that the puppy thinks this is how you play. His tail is wagging and he has attempted to bring Bandit toys to play with him but it always ends in a growling snapping mess and I end up separating them. At puppy class he was very shy and would hang back most of the class and once he engaged he would sometimes get too excited. The pup is kenneled when I’m not home and I walk him at least once and most of the time twice per day. I’m at my wits end because I feel bad for my senior and I’m worried the puppy is not learning proper social skills. I have enrolled him in day care one day a week to try to socialize him more. He starts next week. Any advice would be much apprecited!

    • A well-run dog daycare that both supervises activity and matches the dogs carefully sounds like an excellent choice. That should help both with social skills and burning off some energy.

  148. Hi, I have a 12 week old English staffy male and a 8 year old staffy female. I have a few concerns, The pup is always biting her cheek no matter what she does he doesn’t stop even if we don’t intervene. I was also at the top of our stairs and heard growling. The pup is growling at her for no reason and she is walking away i know she has anxiety and I have tried all I know how and I’m really getting worried for her any advice would be a great help

  149. Hi Sarah,
    I have a nine year(human) old miniature schnauzer her name is Mops, she generally gets along with cats and dogs. I recently brought home a 2.5 month year old Husky rescue puppy, Zoey. Mops doesn’t pay her much attention. Zoey stated laying on one of Mop’s beds, now Mops won’t lay on it anymore. She also took all of Mops toys and Mops doesn’t seem to want them back. Mops always liked playing with her toys, and if both of them run for a ball Mops will just let Zoey take it. It’s only been a few days but Mops doesn’t seem like herself anymore. I try to show Mops a lot of love to let her know she is not being replaced. In the night Mops still sleeps in bed with me while Zoey sleeps in a kennel because she is not completely house broken. Hoarder the time will soon come when Zoey will want to be sleeping in the bed as well. Any advice? Is this normal behavior? Thank you 🙂

  150. Great article.

    We have a 2 year old neutered male Labradoodle. We just got an 8 week old female Goldendoodle. Our labradoodle has always loved other dogs. He seems fine with the new puppy he has even given her some of his favorite toys. The issue is when they are laying on the bed and she tries to cuddle with him he growls and sometimes snaps at her. He has cuddled with other dogs and even the cat. Is this something that will change with time? Our older dog has even let her eat his food. Why is it just with laying? It’s only been 3 days.

    • He’s being a PRINCE for 3 days in. So… he says not so close, not yet. That’s his prerogative (when done in a restrained way, which he is doing). My guess would be he’ll lighten up about that in time but that he has his reasons.

      • He has started to lighten up to an extent. When they lay on the bed he will get close to her and lay down to the point they are touching. If she gets up and then tries to go back he will growl. He has been around other dogs. We have babysat our neighbors dogs that slept on the bed with him and no issues. Just strange. Thank you for your help.

        • That one isn’t that strange. When he does it, he is entering her personal space which he has every right to do as head of canine household. When she does, she is entering his, and, for whatever reason, he feels the need to control that with her. I’d watch everything carefully because the more well socialized and stable an adult dog is, the more I tend to believe they are doing things for a very good reason.

  151. I have a 14 year old cockapoo-springer spaniel (very calm, behaves for the most part independent and tolerant), I also have a 6 year old Jack Russell Terrier (always skiddish, shy and mild anxiety). We recently (a week today) got a puppy (shitzu, Jack Russell and yorkie mix). My Jack Russell is my main cause for concern. Day 1, my Jack sniffed the puppy and then didnt seem to care much about him. Day 2, she was scared of the puppy. Hiding, running, not looking at him. Day 3, 4 and 5 she would play and run with the puppy. However, she wouldnt let the puppy touch her. Started to seem more comfortable. Yesterday, they were playing and she (JR) stepped on something or twisted a leg or something, let out a big squeal and immediately ran away from the puppy. The puppy didnt physically do anything to her. It was like we started over with day 2 again. Then today she has started to seem more agressive. My guess is fear agression. She growls at him now a lot (teeth showing). She trys to avoid him most of the time. Any suggestions??? Im willing to try anything. Please help

    • Sounds like she blames the pup for whatever hurt her. That can happen. Usually, it lessens with time; hope it does in this case. You might want a vet check on your older dog because something hurt her significantly.

  152. Hello,

    I have five year old pug (Louis) who is incredibly submissive and gentle natured, we now also have a three month old pug (Tama) who enjoys chewing on Louis’ face rolls. We try to discourage this behaviour, we substitute toys into the situation as a destruction and hope that Louis will reprimand Tama and establish a boundary with the puppy. So far Louis just cries and lets Tama chew on him, this morning I noticed that Tama has actually broken the skin on Louis’ neck and he has been bleeding. This is incredibly upsetting and I feel like I have let Louis down. I have decided that when I am not around to monitor they will have to be seperated. Is there anything else I can do to train Tama out of this behaviour or to encourage Louis reprimanding Tama?

    • Poor, long-suffering Louis. Any good local daycare that has small dog groups or friends with smaller, older dogs who can teach her some manners properly? That would be a start. Giving her extra exercise and spraying Louis’ neck with an anti-chew spray (once he’s all healed up) could help, too.

  153. Hello Sarah, I have a 14year old Pit (Destiny) and a two month old Cane Corso (Cinnamon). The puppy is getting along pretty well with Destiny. But Cinnamon keep putting her butt in Destiny face. I was wondering if that is normal or not? And why would she do that? Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Alexis – some dogs and some breeds like to play but shoulder bumping and then turning away. End result: butt in the face. I would not worry about it.

  154. Hi I have a pack of 7 dogs they all get along great two days ago I added another rescue a tiny Chihuahua puppy my adult Chihuahua who is between five and six years old cry’s over the puppy and wants to be in the basket with her and cuddle her if I take the puppy to go potty or do crate training my older one cry’s is this normal should I be concerned she has never done this with the two other rescues I took in before this one and they were babies too

  155. Will my older dog fight with my puppies when they get older and bigger

  156. Hi Sarah, I have recently introduced an 8week old sprocker bitch to my family.
    My 11year old male sprollie has not been as welcoming as the rest of the family. Nothing I would say is overly aggressive, growling/a bark or a snarl when she enters his space, as I understand this is common pack reactions to a hyperactive young pup, but the older dog is taking himself away to the corner and drooling, salivating, something he doesn’t usually do.
    Fair play to the pup, everything she does is correct, as in a low submissive body position when approaching him slowly, then rolling onto her back to show her belly.
    He hasn’t made contact with her yet, but the stress is seems to bring him concerns me.
    We keep her in a pen and crate at night and when we are not in the room, to give the older dog a break

  157. Hi, I have 3 adult shih tzu’s and just got a bulldog puppy, the oldest one has simply ignored the puppies existence and isn’t keen on getting to know her, the 2 boys are trying and following her around but if one barks they set eachother off, when they bark and advance theyre still wagging their tails but one of them is dribbling a lot and making contact when he snaps at her, they haven’t caused her any harm but shes not afraid to bark back or even first and set them off again. They have only ever socialised within themselves so with the puppy they will bark even when shes quiet just because shes there, is there advice to make their interaction easier? Thanks

    • That’s a much larger and usually more physical breed to add into your group (makes it harder on your toy dogs). Sounds like more socialization for everyone and some hands-on help would be a good idea.

  158. I have a bloodhound of 8 years and just got a lab/shepherd puppy. they seem to get along and play but I’m worried my bloodhound might be eventually to rough with him. She also puts her paw on him when he gets to rowdy. She doesn’t realize her size sometimes.

    • Dogs don’t know their own size so you definitely need to protect a baby from a rowdy adult but if she is playful without knocking him around and uses her paw tactically to calm him down/educated him then she sounds pretty darn sensible from here.

  159. I have a 2-year-old german shepherd and we just got a 4-month-old American pit bull terrier. He never showed aggression towards other dogs but has already attacked the puppy three times. The first two times I understood which I have now fixed by removing all toys and feeding them separately but today he attacked her just for her coming up to him. I think he wants to communicate but doesn’t know how. If I put a muzzle on him until he learns that he can communicate to the puppy without harming her would that help?

    • Hi, Nicole – Get some pro help. Your pup may need as much help as your adult. You need someone who can tell you what is going on there. If your adult is socialized and normally solid with other dogs then I am even more concerned.

  160. I have a 7 month old hound and I think he bully’s my sisters 3 month old puppy, he will go up to her if someone’s holding her and nudge her with his nose and then like nip or like try to bite at her, what do I do?

    • Teach him not to do that using the Space Games in My Smart Puppy. It’s none of his bee’s wax who anyone else pets or loves on. He can patiently wait.

  161. We got a puppy in July her name is Ella. She is now 8 months. We decided to
    Get a new puppy to keep her company. We bring this puppy in and Ella is all over the place. She won’t stay out of the puppy’s face. Ella is constantly pouncing all over the space around the puppy. Never on the puppy. The puppy growls at Ella when she won’t leave her alone. How do I get Ella to stop being in the puppy’s face.

    • That is a hard age to add in a new pup. Ella is still a young dog and gets over excited. Use this as a training opportunity and get to it. Good luck, you’re going to be busy!

  162. Hi, we have a 5 year old golden retriever, Harper, and just brought home a 7 week old golden, Hank. So far most interactions are great, Harper has even allowed Hank to play with his favorite toys only occasionally taking them back, however Harper has growled when Hank went near his food bowl. Is this something to be concerned about?

    • Yes, it is. Do not allow the pup to approach Harper while eating. Feeding in the crate or tethering the pup or blocking the pup (my preference as it gives you daily practice). My rule is: Another dog’s food bowl is none of your business.

  163. Hello.
    My parents have two boxers, the female had puppies approximately five weeks ago.
    They are boxer/lab puppies. The male boxer (Axle) keeps attacking the two remaining puppies.
    He doesn’t draw blood, but he does scare them, and possibly hurts them. The whimper and shake a lot afterwards.
    Is he just trying to teach them to back off, or is he being aggressive?

    I’d really appreciate an answer. With your help, we can make a knowledgeable decision on whether to keep the puppies or not.

    Thank you so much.

    • That is completely abnormal and that male should be KEPT FAR AWAY near those pups. The attacks they are suffering is changing them for life, and not in a good way.

      • Didn’t think it was normal. He’s been very aggressive, for no known reason.
        Anyways, thank you so much for your response.

  164. Wonderful article.

    My friend has a 10 week old German shepherd. Female, Piper.

    We have an Aussie shepherd, 9 yrs old, female, Tobi.

    The first time they met, Piper was about 8 weeks and did almost the exact scenario you described – jumping and pawing – then after the third time got a snarl and bark from Tobi.

    My friend is afraid Piper will get fear aggression behaviour from this. We really want them to get along – should we walk them on leash together for a bit? Any ideas on how to have them get along as Piper grows up?

    Many thanks.

    • A bark and snarl are often how adult dogs teach a pushy youngster to be respectful. Usual perfectly normal and NEEDED. That is not an “attack”. An attack pursues the pup, boundary setting it just that – boundary is set but no pursuit. Socialize Piper with other sensible, socialized adult dogs and EXPECT if she is pushy and jumping up persistently that she will be told to stop. Just as you would if a 9-year-old tried to keep playing by hitting or pushing you after you said, “Enough, I’m done.” Make sense?

      • Thank you! I appreciate the advice and we will find other patient adult dogs.

        • Hi Marielle –

          Don’t find “patient” ones, find well-socialized ones who can teach your young one the ropes NOW with a snap and a growl. She MUST learn and learning young is much better than later. Can’t always be done later. Does that make sense? Older bitches are usually best – usually – as clear as they need to be while being as mild as they can be. Just like TOBI. 😀

  165. I have a 2 year old neutered male lab. Boys 8 and 9. We introduced an 8 week old lab pup to the older dog on nuetral ground and during the first two days it seemed to be going well.
    On day 2 we were all watching a movie with older dog sleeping next to boys on carpet. When he woke up he went over to my younger son (8) who was holding the pup. He showed his teeth twice. My younger sons put his hand out to calm the older dog and got bit in the finger.
    Not sure if it was meant for my child or the puppy?
    The older dog does not always mind my kids and has groweled at them when he doesn’t like certain petting, etc.

    He hasn’t bitten anyone before.

    The trainer suggested keeping them completely separate for now.

    Vet is suggesting behavioral training and maybe anti anxiety meds for older dog.

    The older dog is spending a lot of time staying in his kennel. He seems reluctant to walk by the kennel of the pup.

    Any advice on whether we can trust him around the kids?

    Should we have not allowed the new pup in
    Kids arms at older dogs level so soon.

    I understand the older dog should have bite inhibition with humans in general.

    Any advice on what to do next?

  166. We had the older dog trained with a trainer for a number of months as a puppy, then we participated as a family (starting at about 16 or 18 weeks).
    Over the last year or more he’s gone to the same trainer any time he’s boarded for a week or more (4-5 times).
    We are having a behavioral trainer come to the house Friday to meet with our family and to meet the dogs.

  167. My 2 year old husky mix is an outside dog and I recently got a Chesapeake bay/chow puppy who is inside all he time. Both are males. When I take the puppy out to use the bathroom my older dog runs up to him with extreme hyperness and usually swats at the puppy. The puppy will squeal and run to me. Is this normal? Should I scold my older dog?

    • Hi Grace – Instead of scolding, I’d block your male dog to get him to slow down and be more polite. Your pup is being frightened and that could impact him as he grows up. Get him play time with nice, similar age pups and pleasant adult dogs to balance this out.

  168. Hey, so idk if anyone is still active here but I really need some help. I have a 3 y/o golden retriever/ German Shepard mix- he’s always been the only dog and is a bit spoiled. We recently got a 8 week old puppy. She’s very active and curious and adores him….. but her puppy pass is now expired. He’s pretty tolerant of her, he does snap when she’s being over bearing and in his face constantly, I try distracting her but she’s so hell bent on touching him and playing that it takes me putting her on her leash to give him a break. Am I doing that part right? Now, when it comes to the dog bowls, He loves food, And now has started to eat everything in both their bowls. He will even lay at her bowl and eat it all- snapping at her so she can’t have it. He doesn’t snap at me, I can reach in and put my hand in the bowl while he’s eating. How do I address this?

  169. PLEASE HELP !!!!
    We have a 10 year old male yorkie, he isn’t fixed and honestly around 10-12 months of age my wife had a relative take him in an attempt to impregnate her 3 years old. Well it never work and scared him to where he has never ” humed a leg ” persay. Now I just bought a 10 week old black lab FEMALE whom is double his size 24 lbs he’s 7. Well day 4 -9 current time. He has been hanging all over her panting heavy trying to figure out how to hump. He is still lost on proper positions if this makes sense. The problem is he is becoming very aggressive towards my wife,daughter even myself which he never has. The puppy is rolling around she being twice his size actually does play with him and bites him harder but it’s horrendous right now. The yorkie goes after my 14 years old daughter anytime she gets near her dog. I am running out of things to do please advise

  170. hello, I have a 4 year old female boxer and a 9 week old male mix named Milo (we think he is a lab pit) our boxer Emma just began warming up to our new pup and their play is somewhat concerning to me. During play, Milo often bites Emmas face and sometimes won’t let go until Emma yelps (you can see Milo pulling her skin.) Milo made Emma bleed on her face (not serve but there was still blood) However, Emma keeps going back to play with him even while she was bleeding. Once I saw her bleeding I immediately separated them but Emma refused to stay away from Milo. I’m unsure if I should intervene when the pup bites Emma or let them work it out themselves since Emma keeps initiating play.

    • Since Emma isn’t too bothered, I would not fret too much. I would get Milo planned play time with lots of other, different dogs so he can learn doggy manners safely.

  171. I have a 10month purebred American Staffy named Pistol and a 4 year old mix that’s Mastiff cross Ridgeback cross Alsatian Tank we think, plus he is a dog we rescued from a person we knew how basically straved him to near death, that was two years ago now. Pup Pistol is just being introduced properly to Tank now spending days only together until trained, night Tank out backyard in kennel, Pup Pistol inside in crate. Have spend time together before just short amounts, happy n fine together. Now needing ideas to stop my pup Pistol from doing something weird all the time to Tank, he us trained n a good listener does what told. Pup Pistol will not stop, constantly cratched on tummy moving around from side licking Tank’s mouth over n over not stop, I mean seriously non stop that is all she does expect when she on back when Tank smells her lady part. Tank just turns his head n walks around for about 5mins then after that he runs away from Pup Pistol until I come n get her. I want to train her to stop it n act like normal around do Tank n leave his face alone,coz they will be outside in backyard together at night when pup Pistol is trained n leaves his face alone. PLEASE HELP ME IM FINDING IT VERY HARD TO GET IDEAS N HELP COZ NO ONE BELIEVES MY PUPPY IS MOUTH LICKING CONSTANTLY NO STOP, SERIOUSLY NON STOP. PLEASE HELP. thank you for read this hope to hear from you, Rebecca Sharp.

    • Hi, Rebecca – I call that assertively submissive and it can be VERY persistent in some dogs. Work blocking, sit, down and head turns so you can teach her HOW to stop. She doesn’t know and when anyone scolds her she just does it MORE. Good luck. It Can get better but she needs your help. – Sarah

  172. Hello Sarah,
    I’m having an adult issue with my pups. I have 5 dogs in the house. A F Chihuahua, a F border collie/corgi rescue, and a M heeler/corgi rescue. I have 2 M heeler pups.
    My M heeler mix snarles, growls, and bites at them in a aggressive demeanor. He has bit one pup and caused a puncture bite to his muzzle with bleeding. I know this breed can be aggressive. My adult M makes every step with me and seems worse when the pups are close to me.
    How do I make this transition a less bloody one? They just want to play with him and he’s not messing around. I also want them to be respectful but his corrections are harsh. Plus, he’s doing it out of jealousy.

    • Hi – You’ve got a handful! Start training those pups now because two is much, much harder than one and give your adults breaks from them by crating them on a routine.

  173. Our situation seems to be the opposite. We have a 14 year old male shitzu and 10 days ago brought home a 9 week old weimeraner. She will not leave him alone! He does snarl & bark at her when she jumps at him but it doesn’t stop her. I have separated her from him, put her in her kennel for a few minutes but she will not stop. Is this simply puppy or What can we do?

    • Hi Brenda – I’d start training your Weim now to help manage this issue and all she is likely to grow into. Teach her manners and self-control early will be a lifelong benefit to all, Good luck!

  174. Why would my 4 yr old cocker spaniel show aggressive signs towards his 1 and half ya old doodle brother he has been fine with now he is growling and repeatedly sniffing his behind trying to intimidate him I’m concerned they will have problems they have gotten tangled up a couple times

  175. Hi Sarah, I love this article. It got me thinking about my dogs behavior and how I can potentially help negate the issues we’ve been having. Recently, my boyfriend just got a pudelpointer/german wire hair mix puppy (14-15 weeks old). I have 2 older dogs: 7 year old Sushi (shepard/pit mix) and 5 year old Mowgli (pit/pointer mix). Sushi has always been more interested in people than other dogs, except Mowgli. They are very close. But, since we’ve had puppy, (just over a month now) Sushi has bit the puppy and drawn blood. It always seems so random. But after reading this I don’t believe it is at all now. My boyfriend and I have been racking our brains out about how we could resolve the issue. Both bites have been in the head. One on the connecting tissue from top of right ear to head and another on the very top bridge of puppy’s head (single puncture). I just don’t know what to do. She is definitely just overall intolerant of the puppy being around her. Stiffins up if he jumps on her or comes around. He obviously isn’t picking up on these hints. We re considering a muzzle while they are around each other or to keep them separated until further notice. We are also moving into a bigger new house with tons more yard access and space. Truly I hope the new territory creates more neutral ground for them to be around each other. Do you think there’s any hope for Sushi to be trained out of this? Have I ruined the puppy and hers ability to bond from scolding her for snarling? What do you believe would be the best plan of attack? I feel at a loss and it’s creating issues larger than I anticipated. Eagerly waiting your input.

    • Hi – Get the pup around other socialized adult dogs who might be able to make their point more effectively but with less teeth. Sounds like the pup isn’t picking up on the signals – you can help him learn by backing up your adult before she snaps but blocking the pup off of her. Giving your pup a lot of exercise separate from your older dogs might help, too. – Sarah

  176. Hello, I have a female dog and lately when she sees puppies around she whines for them sniffs them and puts her paw on them. When they leave she whines and cries for them and my question is why is that?

  177. Hi, I have an 9 week old pitbull puppy named Draco and a 10 year old shih tzu names bruno. They are both male. Draco always jumps and tries to bite and play with bruno but bruno just growls and barks at him and runs, draco won’t back off though! Since then I’ve kelt Draco in a playpen when bruno is around. But everytime I try to get them to interact with each other it’s the same thing. And Bruno will only bark and growl at Draco if he is jumping on him or gets too close to Draco’s bone. I’ve had Draco for 3 weeks now.
    I’m worried that when Draco is an adult he could retaliate and try to attack Bruno, since Bruno is so small. He is only 15
    pounds. Any advice? Thanks!

  178. Hi Sarah, this is a great article! I have a 4 year old American Bulldog bitch (Jasmine) and a 15 week old Shih Tzu bitch (Lola). My older dog Jasmine is usually very well mannered and placid. She is fine with other dogs but can play rough when she goes to visit her brother (who my Mum owns). Initially she avoided Lola and Lola was scared of her. When Lola jumps up to lick Jasmine she doesn’t mind but I try to move or distract Lola to give Jasmine her space. After a short time they will begin to play and Lola will lie on her back, at this point Jasmine will stand over Lola push her with her nose and mouth her. Initially Lola yelped and I separated them but as the weeks have gone by Lola does not seem to mind but she is definitely being over powered. As soon as Jasmine starts to get too forceful I say ‘nicely’ she calms down. But she will work back up to being quite dominant (pushing with her nose and mouthing) until I separate them, should I be concerned about this behaviour and am I doing the right thing? Apart from saying nicely I haven’t told Jasmine off because she has never growled or shown aggression towards Lola just dominance/rough play!
    thanks Ella

  179. I have a 1 year old female poodle and just got a 9 week old male cockapoodle . my female doesn’t play with other dogs because she’s too hyper and they stay away.
    Now she is trying to smell and hump the puppy, but the puppy tries to bite the female every time. I’m afraid to leave her alone with him…
    Is this normal??

    • Sounds like it’s time for some training – for her. And I never leave young pups alone with adult dogs until I am quite sure of the relationship and the pup can handle himself.

  180. Hi! I have a 3 year old pure chihuahua female (Peach) . & I recently got a 7 week old maltipoo female/male (the male is my brothers but he’s around my chihuahua a lot too). So at first Peach didn’t like them & would growl confused & avoid them. Then she was able to be around them without a leash (still with supervision) but I’m curious about if her behavior is ok. She’ll nudge them around (more so the male) with her nose & she nibbles (the nibbling looks like how dogs nibble at their fleas) at their necks every now & then (they don’t yelp or cry in pain) so I don’t stop it, but how I know she won’t hurt them one day. How could I help trust them alone together?

  181. Hi, I’ve got a 10 month old staffie x (Blaze) and we’ve just recently got a new puppy (Soulja) he’s only 8 weeks old, Blaze doesn’t seem to leave him alone at all he tires to bite he’s neck and wants to play 24/7, they play fight non stop sometimes it gets too much, I just feel blaze needs to give him some space. Any advice?

    • Absolutely! Separate them often to give everyone a break and protect your baby from his happy but overbearing big brother. Adding an infant in with an adolescent pup is hard work; lots of training and management is needed to protect the little one and teach the older to play nicely. I encourage you to teach Blaze to play lying down. This evens the playing field quite a lot and reduces the risks to your pup’s joints and body. Good luck – Sarah

  182. Hi Sarah,
    We had two male staffies that were together from 8wks old. As young dogs they began fighting over bones, then food, then over the aggravation of the dog next door constantly barking/banging at the fence. We eliminated each problem as it arose across the years we\’ve had both dogs (now 8.5yo). 18 months ago the fighting got severe and required trips to the vet for treatment. At this point we had tried everything to get them to stop. We came to a difficult decision to rehome one of the dogs, the one who was more the \’trouble maker\’s so to speak.
    Anyway, that was 18 months ago. Since then having our one staffie, Georgie, things have been brilliant, he\’s a very well behaved dog, walks beautifully on a lead, doesn\’t have much interest in other dogs when we are out walking etc. Listens well, is excellent with our young children etc.
    So, a situation has arisen to help out a friend who is trying to rehome a litter of puppies she rescued who were have been neglected. They are approx 3 month old great Dane/mastiff puppies. She has asked if we would take one of the females.
    My husband and I are big dog lovers and love the idea of having two dogs again. BUT are we being selfish introducing a pup to Georgie? What are the chances of him showing aggression to a new dog entering his home? Is all hope lost for us ever having two dogs with Georgie\’s aggressive history (even if he wasn\’t the instigator)? The optimistic side of me thinks that perhaps if we got a female, and being a pup, Georgie would take on the pack leader role with ease and teach the new girl the rules without any threat to his position in the house. So it would be different dynamics then before where he had another male dog of the same age to compete with.
    I guess another concern is that obviously the new pup would grow to be significantly larger than Georgie and how this would affect the relationship long term? But then reading up on \’Daniff\’ breed information, it seems they\’re big friendly giants… I would love to adopt the new pup, but terrified of history repeating (aggression wise) and setting ourselves up for daily!
    Please help, any advice would be greatly!!!

    • No way to know from here. Lack of interest in other dogs on leash may be important but then many dogs do well with a younger, opposite gender pup. However, this pup is going to be enormous – able to really hassle him because of his size. He might find that tiresome. So, short answer, no way to predict it. Sorry.

  183. Hi I have a pug pup 5months and a chihuahua mum has two chihuahuas one is 4 the other 1. My chihuahua is great with the pup but my mums two dogs seem to snap and growl. The pug whenever she goes near they do it. The pup is very playful and plays a lot with my chihuahua and she expects the same from my mums dogs. They are there most days whilst I go to work. Today my pup went up to my mums down and pounced and my mums oldest snapped and her tooth caught my pups eye. I tell the pup no but she just doesn’t understand. Help please. I don’t want no more accidents

    • Yes, that pug head/face shape makes them vulnerable to eye injury so you are wise to keep a close eye on things. Socializing her with other small dogs should help her learn the ropes. Your mum’s dogs just don’t want to be jumped on or hurt. Not unreasonable on their part.

  184. Dear Sarah I have two 10 year old dogs. One is a lab and one is a Wheaton terrier. We just got a chocolate lab and the Wheaton terrier aka lulu attacked him the first day and we basically can\\\’t put him down on the floor bc even in our arms she will show teeth and growl. The lab loves him and is teaching him. I\\\’m at a loss because lulu just isn\\\’t taking to him. It has been over a week and my new lil guy can\\\’t even run around the house. Thankfully I have a backyard but I don\\\’t know what to do!!! My heart is breaking day by day nc I love this lil man. Any suggestions

    • Yikes! That sounds bad – have a local dog professional take a look but if the pup can’t be kept safe, something will have to shift. Sorry. 🙁

  185. We have a 4 year old male Australian Shepherd and just recently got a female German Shepherd puppy(she is about 11 weeks now). Our Aussie doesn’t want anything to do with the puppy. If she gets to close to him he will run away(even outside) or he will growl and snap at her if she tries to play with him. Occasionally, he will sniff her face etc but that’s about it. The puppy will bark at him trying to get him to play but he wants nothing to do with her. We seem to always have to put the older dog in another room just so don’t have to worry about him snapping at the puppy(which usually happens because she just wants to check him out but again he is not having it). The Aussie will tolerate her only if I am telling him to be a good boy or saying let her love you. Please tell me this gets better and that he will start to accept her, it’s been a month now since we got the puppy and nothing has changed about our older dog behavior.

    • Sounds like your male is being pretty restrained about his displeasure. He’ll probably ease up when she starts to be more polite. Is she getting playtime with other dogs? Might be helpful.

  186. Good day, we have a 1 year old female black lab and yesterday received a 7 week female old Yorkie Russel. We tried to let the dogs interact, but the lab seems a bit rough(pushing her down with her paws and huddling over her) How long do we have to keep the dogs seperated before again trying some interaction? We do not want the lab to feel excluded, but we also do not want the puppy to get hurt. Thank you

  187. Thanks for the great article!

    My pit bull had 2 pups which are now 6 weeks old. She’s very caring of them. However, whenever we allow 1 of them out of their designated area (we closed off an area for her to birth the pups and take care of them) she nibbles on the pup’s head and pushes the pup around to the point that the puppy tries to hide from her and get out of her reach! She does not behave like this with the puppies in their area but is calm.

    What can we do to be sure that the puppy doesn’t get hurt?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Julia – Getting close to the time when the pups can go to their new homes so shouldn’t be a worry too much longer. You can keep Mama away when they are out, if you are concerned, and work on teaching your pups to be crated, come when called, sit, accept all sorts of kind handling and get them out to safe areas to socialize them.

    • Hi Julia – Getting close to the time when the pups can go to their new homes so shouldn’t be a worry too much longer. You can keep Mama away when they are out, if you are concerned, and work on teaching your pups to be crated, come when called, sit, accept all sorts of kind handling and get them out to safe areas and to friend’s homes to socialize them.

  188. Hello! I have a 1.5 year old pit jack mix whom I adopted last spring at 8 months old. She has always loved other dogs but I think due to her puppy good being spent in a shelter, she never learned personal space. She plays with every dog she has always seen but she won’t stop when others do. It has never really caused an issue as I make her stop when I can tell the other dog wants it done. I just adopted a 7 week old Goldendoodle who is full of energy. The pit mix was super interested out of the gate. Following him everywhere. She often paws at him and jumps off the couch at him. I’m worried she gets too excited and too rough. Should I monitor this or allow it to go? She hasn’t show much agressive behavior. Pup will bite at her underside or next and she will usually run away or paw him if it’s too much. But sometimes it esclates to an overabundance of trampaling. Is that fine? Occasionally while she has a toy and the puppy comes close and sniffs it. She will show her teeth. No growling. Just show. I usually scold her for that. Sometimes she let’s him chew a small end and then pulls it away when she is done letting him and jumps on the couch to escape him.

    Any thoughts on how to handle everything? This is my first time owning multiple pups!

    • Trust your instincts on how rough is too rough. Being trampled and pushed about frequently at a young age can pose orthopedic risks to your younger pup – as it could if an older teen did the same to a younger child. Teach both pups to be blocked – “Mine” in My Smart Puppy. Good luck!

  189. HI I have a 3 year old English Springer Spaniel and we rescued a lab mix who is about 4-5 months. We have had him for 4 weeks and the play well together. the problem is that the puppy is always biting on my older guy and has drew blood a couple of times and my older guy does not put the puppy is his place to teach him. They do play fight and when it’s gets too rough or the puppy won’t stop I give him a break in his crate.
    ANy ideas?

    • Hi Lorna – Get your pup into a good playgroup and/or around other older, well-socialized dogs. That *should* help him learn the ropes a bit better. Now, that said, are you sure your pup is “drawing blood” and not just teething? When teething, I’ve seen playmates look assaulted who were just mouthed with raw, teething gums.

  190. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you so much for answering all these questions. You’re truly dedicated! We have a 4yr old standard poodle and just got a 4 month old miniature poodle. The standard is starting to nibble on the puppy’s fur, very lightly not really hitting the skin. I assume this is normal. Sometimes when they play the dog will put her mouth over most of the puppy’s upper back, not causing any harm. Is this normal? Sometimes the puppy will snap back and they’ll play, but I’m not sure if I should be corrected the standard. Thank you!

    • Hi Corbin – Sounds pretty normal.I’d be cautious about them playing hard outside or on slippery surfaces, just because of the physics of it all. And the nibbling you describe I call “grooming nibbles”. More parental than anything else. Does that help? – Sarah

  191. Hi
    I have a 11 pound schnauzer, female, 6 years old. And a 7 year old male yorkie, 10 pounds. Both are very harmonious together and seem to be very much in love, if dogs love. I recently rescued a medium breed, India street dog, female puppy at 6 or 7 weeks old. The first 2 weeks were pretty intense with them and my timid schnauzer started training the puppy and now they play quite well but rough. The yorkie and puppy still have not worked it out with each other. Yorkie has tried to play with the puppy but it ends with her ignoring him to play with the schnauzer or yorkie moving away scared. He has even stopped playing to avoid fights.
    I came home yesterday and was talking to someone and petting the schnauzer and we heard fighting behind me. The puppy had a hold of the yorkie back and he was trying to bite her but couldn’t get to her. I put my hands on the puppy jaw to release her grip, which was super hard and she was so agressive her tooth pierced my skin and drew blood. Later that afternoon, same situation, dogs at our feet as we said goodbye at the door. The puppy growling like she wanted to attack the yorkie.
    We want to keep her and give get a good life. I’m usually very good training dogs, I ‘ve always had one, but I can’t figure out how to harmonize the pack. And she’s now bigger than the others.
    Any suggestions to what is happening? So I let them fight nect time so the yorkie can make his point? I’m concerned he will get hurt.

    Thank You!

    • Hi – This is not normal behavior for a pet dog young puppy. She might be better off as an only dog. If she is seriously targetting your adult male dog at 9 weeks, then he is probably not safe in your home as she mature. Some combos do not work out, doesn’t mean she can’t work somewhere else. Good luck – Sarah

  192. Hi Sarah.

    We just purchased a Boston terrier to introduce to our family. We already have a gentle 11 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier (who doesn’t seem even slightly interested in her) and a 9 year old border terrier who is very curious about the new arrival. She wags her tail when she is near her and seems ok when she licks her and sniffs. the border tries to stand above her at times and today when they first played the puppy yapped at the border and kept darting forward. the border seemed a little confused. eventually the puppy jabbed the border with both feet. the border was not pleased and went for her quickly growling and snapping. the puppy ran away. is this normal behavior? the puppy has a giant cage she goes in to not annoy the older girls. should i keep an eye on the border? the staffy seems to not care one bit.

    • From here, that sounds quite typical. Puppy learning boundaries which your Border is teaching without harm. Dogs growl and snap to communicate, nothing wrong with it unless it is associated with lack of control, lack of moderation or a lack of restraint. Your pup doing a double paw punch is rude, rude, rude which your adult dog explained immediately and clearly.

      And ignoring your pup completely isn’t “she doesn’t care”, it’s more like “the pup is being rude so she’s ignoring her”. Ignoring is not socially neutral. Not for us and not for them.

  193. Hi
    We’ve had our german shepherd puppy Max for 3 weeks now (he is 11 weeks old). Lovie, our 9 year old maltese, is still snarling at him. We are confused because sometimes it looks like she may be playing with him, but then she goes back to snarling at him and trying to get away. Max is gentle with her when it seems like she is playing but when she does not want to play he barks at her and tries to pounce on her. My questions are: how long might it take for them to warm up to each other? And is she playing or is she fighting him off? We usually keep her away from him, like on the couch, to give her a break. Is this helping or doing more harm to their relationship? Thank you so much for the great article and help!

    • When you have a toy breed dog you have to intervene on their behalf if the pup is larger and not taking the hint. I’d be using blocking, etc. (in My Smart Puppy) to teach your GSD pup that when your Maltese days to quit, he needs to quit.

      Is she playing or defending herself? Both, I am sure.

  194. I recently got husky puppy (male). He was r was there young when we got him, about 6 weeks old so I didn’t rush introducing him to my female pit (5yrs old). Fast forward a few weeks hes now 9 weeks old and they seem to be getting along very well. She almost seems obsessed with him, follows him around everywhere, doesn’t react when he nibbles on her face even. Then this morning I went to get in the shower and heard my puppy screaming. When I rushed to check on him he was under the table still screaming and she looked very concerned, was even licking on him. I checked him over and didnt notice anything so I put her outside and left him inside so I could finish my shower. When I came back into my living room I noticed he had a little blood on his forehead, after looking closer realized he had a little puncture wound which I could only assume was from my female pit. The only thing I could think would be triggered that for her was that she had a very little bit of food yet which she hadn’t been eating for about 30 mins before I let them around each other. Is there reason for concern since she actually drew blood? I’m now nervous to let her around him.

    • Hi there – Have no idea from here how serious this is or isn’t but if you make sure all food/chew toys/valuables are finished or removed before putting them together and if you don’t leave them unsupervised together at this point, you’ll be better off. Good luck – Sarah

  195. Hi Sarah , we have a 1 year old cocker spaniel and our relatives have got a cockerlier puppy. Our dog Maisie had patience with her when they met and she was fine. They’ve met a few times and we’ve started going on walks together but Maisie keeps lying down and then running straight at the puppy, goes over the top of her and growls and mouths and then leaves and then they’re fine for awhile but then it all over happens again.

  196. My older male dog stands over my puppy constantly or tries to drag her underneath him. No humping. I started off using a muzzle on the older dog so he didn’t do anything to puppy. But not he’s fine. I just recently took the muzzle off since he had normal behavior now he tries to open his whole mouth over her back? I don’t know if he’s trying to be aggressive.

    • Sounds like you’re being careful. My concern levels rise or fall depending on the sizes of both of them and how rough your adult dog is being.

  197. Hi Sarah this was a great article I have a golden retriever ( 6 years old) and a week ago I adopt a Cane Corso (almost 4 months) my question is how I can do with the “No” word if every time I say “No” to her my older dog thinks that is for him even if I’m looking at her

  198. Hello,

    I’m a little worried about my 8 year old female border collie, we’ve just brought home a 8 week old gsd male. My collie seems very dis-interested, she will go up to him have the odd brief sniff. When she does she does wag her tail but she seems quite stiff standing there, she’s been introduced to a friends puppy before and they did play and she did tell him off when he over stepped the mark which I understand is completely normal. However she just doesn’t interact with Our puppy expect for tell him off, she doesn’t always have a go at him and it doesn’t seem violent. The pup seems wary of her, I’m just worried they won’t get along and I don’t want him having any issues with dogs in the future.

    • Ah… my guess is he’s ruder/pushier than she likes so is in the “Puppy? What puppy?” stage. When he behaves more appropriately, in her opinion, she should start to acknowledge him. That’s what it sounds like from here.

  199. Hi Sarah,

    I’m hoping to get advice as I’m not sure what to think. I have a 3 year older border mix, and a month ago I brought home a lab mix (now 11 weeks).

    Normally when the two play, they are just fine. The older dog is very patient and playful with other dogs. We catch him growling at the pup from time to time, mostly when it comes to food. We’ve let him teach the pup to not come near him while eating, and only intervene by separating their food bowls farther away or grabbing the puppy.

    The thing with both dogs is that they both like to beg when the humans are eating.. and we aren’t very strict with this so they often get small scraps: but we always make sure to feed the adult first and puppy second and always at the same time.

    Today when begging, the older dog started growling when the pup kept jumping and climbing on me. I pushed the pup down like I always do and the older dog growled again. I tho ight nothing of it, till my older dog turned and bit the puppy.

    We quickly separated the two, and I grabbed the puppy and took him to another room because he was whining real bad. Upon inspection, there are no wounds: no blood or holes.. We brought them together and they both seem perfectly normal. Even the puppy continues to jump up on the dog and nip at him.

    Is this normal interaction between two animals? Should I be more concerned or is there anything I should do?

    • Oh, that is totally border collie – to correct a rude puppy jumping on you. And, your pup is maturing so your older dog will have more “opinions” about his behavior. Pup had multiple warnings, maybe next time, he’ll listen to that first growl.

  200. Feels so bad after reading this.. My husband scolded our American Bull dog and put all the toys away but her behavior seemed odd to us. All she did was snap but the puppy a 4 month old Havanese didn’t deserve it for just getting on the couch.

    Our American Bull Dog is more than patient with the pup. She allows him to maul her. Nurse! When there is no milk. I thought this was done a week ago but he did it again tonight. She gives him toys normally until we got him some squeaker animals without stuffing. She LOVES these and takes them all everywhere she goes. I probably started the problem by putting the toys back in the basket over and over again. She would go get them and put them back on the couch. She finally started hiding them under the throw. She usually gives him toys but with these she allows him to play tug of war with her. She will take them from him but they are his toys not hers.. I guess they’re hers now. He has others. She has lost all interest in her Kong toys which she has several of and has taken these as hers. He could care less. He isn’t big enough for some of her bigger toys.. My husband was afraid she’d kill him in one bite but after reading this all she was doing was giving him warning. She had just “buried” those toys and had no reason to discipline him for simply getting on the couch.. After reading this, I just gave her back her back her favorite one. She sat and cried for them for over an hour. I made the mistake of putting the toys away. After I did that she brought all of them on the couch so the war of wills was between her and I. The pup unfortunately got stuck in the middle. I do not want all these toys on the couch all the time so should I just allow them to be on the floor until they are older, or should I remove the ones she is so possessive of? She absolutely loves them but if they are the source of the problem should I take them out of the equation? They just came into the house 3 days ago while the pup has been here 3 weeks. Normally she has stuffing and squeakers out in 15 minutes. Thats why I got him ones without stuffing. She has not only let the squeakers in, she carries these everywhere. She even kept in in her mouth while she went to the bathroom. I’m perplexed.

    • With that size difference, I would not give your Am. Bulldog anything she covets enough to defend. If you want to give her those toys for a bit, crate your puppy. She sounds like she is being appropriate but I am always esp. careful with big dogs and tiny pups.

  201. Hi Sarah,

    What a wonderful article. It and all the responses to the comments are so informative! I have 3 yr old spayed female 50 lb GSD/Lab mix and brought home a 7 week old female GSD a week ago. All is going well. They well play together and they are also content to just rest near each other. The adult has the run of the house, the pup is crated at night and when we can\’t supervise. We\’ve made sure they both have time together as well as breaks from each other when needed and both have time alone with us as well as all together. We use gates when we feed them. The only growling has been when the pup gets too close to the gate when the adult is eating, and the pup backed off. My question is, is there anything we should do differently or watch out for as the pup gets older, as we expect her to be ~20 lb larger than the adult when she gets to full size, based on the size of her parents.

    Thanks so so much for your wisdom, I was a bit worried about the growling but I can see now that what we\’ve seen so far is totally normal.

    • Hi Christina – Glad to hear things are going well. Their relationship will be well established by physical maturity. Many a toy breed adult dog rules a large breed “pup” for life because a good relationship is much more mental than physical. We shall remain hopeful. – Sarah

  202. Hi Sarah my name is princess , me and my husband just got a golden retriever puppy , we have two older dogs, the one 5 year old seems to be a bit timid but doesn’t really bother the puppy too much sniffs her every once and a while but nothing weird or serious, the other one on the other hand is 2 years old , our puppy is 8 weeks old , ever since we brought her home our 2 year old has been following her everywhere , sniffing her privates and tail, and I’m concerned that this might be something serious or if this is just normal behavior

    • Hi Princess – If it’s just sniffing, that’s usually nothing I worry about. It might be that your pup needs a bath or has a mild female infection. That can cause persistent sniffing. Talk to her vet. – Sarah

  203. Hi we have a beagle who is over 4 and a beagle puppy who is 10 weeks old. Our dogs sleep in our bed. Our older dog tends to growl at the puppy when she gets to close to him on the bed. Please can you advise. Is this a passing phase? Thanks

  204. Hi,
    I have a 8 year old pitbull and we have a new 13 week old puppy pit/English bulldog. We’ve had the 2 dogs together outside for about 2 months. And they get alone very well. But here recently the older dog will attack the puppy for no reason, the puppy can just be sitting there and the older will just attack the puppy but the puppy doesn’t have any scares or bites. So we don’t know why the older dog has all of sudden started do this. Most of the time they get alone very well. Is this normal or not. Because it’s very scary sounding the the older dog gets on the puppy.

    • Absolutely NOT standard behavior or safe. My assumption would be that this will increase in intensity and damage-risk as your pup matures. Separate them as you consider your options. Do not leave them together. – Sarah

  205. I have a 7 year old chihuahua and I am bringing home a seven week old German Shepherd next week I am wondering if the little dog is going to show the puppy pad behaviors it doesn’t bother me if EV jumps on me because she weighs 3 1/2 pounds if I put the German Shepherd through training but at home he sees the Chihuahua jump up on people well all his training before nothing?

    • Hi Molly – Dogs can learn to behave differently so no worries there. Patiently raise your shepherd pup to behave the way you want and he will learn. Enjoy!

  206. I have a seven year old dog aggressive dog and a five week old puppy. Magically, my dog has shown no signs of aggression towards the pup and is very tolerant of her. Can he tell she is just a baby? Is there a chance this behavior will change and he will eventually turn aggressive towards her when she’s no longer so little?

    • Yes, he knows she’s a baby. What will happen in the future? Can’t say. Typically, dogs raised together peaceably don’t suddenly turn on each other but I don’t know the level of aggression in your adult dog.

  207. I have a 12 week old cockapoo. My mum and I share a caravan and she has two 11 year old cavalier King Charles spaniels. The problem is this the female cav seems frightened of her and won’t tell her off for obnoxious behaviour so I have to step in to stop the pup harassing her and the male cav won’t allow her near him without growling and snapping at her? The main concern is around the male cav and his aggression towards her. He attacked her over food and she screamed for a good few minutes afterwards. If she approaches him at all even crawling on her tummy or rolling on her back her growls and snaps at her. How can we stop this?

    • Hi Jade – Don’t have the puppy around adult dogs when your feed them. She is fed crated. Bowls are removed after feeding. Start working Space games from My Smart Puppy so you can control her better.

  208. Hi! We have two dogs, both are AsPin (Filipino dog). Our older dog Tiger is not used to having a new pup around. Because of that he keeps on biting Tiny’s neck or body. Soemtimes Tiny growls back to scare Tiger (older dog). My question is what can we do to make Tiger realize that Tiny is a friend and not an enemy? Please help. Thanks.

    • Hi Lea – Time to start training them both so you can influence their behavior easily. I’d start with “Mine” work from My Smart Puppy book. Good Luck – Sarah

  209. I. Noticed that. My yorkie act saggressive when sh e is going into heat. To all dogs inculding a puppy we kept from her last litter. She is very close to me and even nipped at him how best should we handle this. The puppy is very attached to me

    • Nipped at or harmed? Nipped at – her pup will learn to stay away. Harmed is another matter. Many bitches get, well, bitchy when in heat.

  210. Hi Sarah,

    I have a 13 year old JRT, I got him from a rescue when he was 10. His previous owner let him rule the roost, so I worked a lot with him and managed to train certain behaviours out of him. He has never been okay with other dogs however, I’ve got him to the stage he barks but doesn’t try to attack anymore.

    I brought home an 8 week old German shepherd/black lab mix female puppy last night. Having read online, I went for opposite gender, a bigger breed than my JRT. However my JRT hates her. He met her briefly in the garden and began drooling heavily. He sniffed her and then snapped. I had him on a leash so he didn’t reach her. Today I have installed stair gates and have a crate for new pup. They had a sniff at each other again through the stair gate and for a moment it seemed okay, then JRT snapped and nicked her nose, a little drop of blood.

    I think I may have made a terrible mistake though my intentions were good. My JRT is not a family dog, he tolerates my children but only really interacts with me. Despite having the kids walk him and feed him. I gave in to my husband and children wanting a family dog and I think was over confident in my belief that I could handle my JRT. I don’t know what to do, give it much more time, keep them separated until pup is much older and bigger? Return pup and have a sad family? I won’t part with my JRT either. Please help.

  211. My husband and I have a nearly 3 year old German Shepard, he’s very friendly and playful and socialises with other dogs 4-5 times a week and plays with our cat and has never hurt her. My brother recently got a lab puppy, my dog met his puppy ( 3 months old by then) puppy was at my parents house and we took them both in a walk together both off leash and had a great time playing and they were left together playing happily all day. Then last week we went over to my parents house again to meet family including my brother’s puppy now 5 months old, they’d just got back from a walk we’d just arrived, we let our dog out of the car, both dogs ran up to sniff and say hello and then my dog suddenly barked and lunged for my brother’s puppy, which squealed and we shouted No at our dog and called him back, put him in the car, waited for 5 minutes for dogs to calm down, then tried again, our dog did the same thing, so we kept him on a leash. After a while we let our dog off and played fetch with him and all was good, and my brother’s puppy started playing with our dog, which they both wanted to do. Then as we were sitting down our dog was on his bed next to an edible chew that he wasn’t eating or interested in, the pup went over to our dog and our dog again barked and lunged for him. Again we put him back on his lead, after we’d finished eating we let him off and they were playing fine again, with the puppy even trying to get our dog to play by sneaking up on him and trying to touch him but our dog wasn’t bothered at all and was very tolerant just laying there happily. So why did he get aggressive those 3 times, my brother’s puppy is still intact but my dog plays with other intact dogs nicely.

    • My working assumption is that the pup is “rude” in ways herding dogs find obvious and sporting breeds may not. Read:

      • Thanks Sarah, I read the article and yes that makes sense, and I think the puppy’s ‘puppy pass’ had run out. Especially as my dog has been spending more time around collies and other herding breeds, we’ve noticed he’s become a bit more ‘assertive’ such as not letting the cat have his treats ect. It was just odd as my sister in law has 5 labs and my dog loves them, but I guess they’re adults and have a few more manners. Thanks

      • We Just got an 11 week old GSD male last weekend, and we already have a 3 year old male lab. Is this just as common to have problems between the breeds if the younger one is the GSD and therefore will grow up with the lab? So far, they are getting along as you mentioned in the article above. The GSD takes the labs toys, and the lab is tolerating it pretty well. The lab, Charlie, will get annoyed at times and I will separate them for a while. They have been together for almost a week and tonight were laying down with each other sleeping. Do you have any suggestions or ideas of what to expect down the road? I would like them to get along, of course. The lab is already neutered and the GSD will be once he is old enough.
        Also, strange question I would like to add on… is it normal that my lab does not want to drink from the same water dish that he has always used now that the puppy is using it?

  212. Hi Sarah – I got a 5 month old pitbull puppy four days ago, but shes small, maybe 15lbs. I have two older dogs in my home, one 3yrs old rottie, and one 8yrs old lab. Before introducing them on neutral ground I walked both my older dogs and the puppy for a good hour. The introduction went wonderfully! After 4 days and close observations of all the dogs, I’ve noticed the puppy is very rough and growls when she plays with the older dogs and often the older two put the puppy in her place when she gets out of line. Nothing that hurts the puppy tho and all normal in my book. Im working with her to play “nice” and correcting unwanted play behavior, however last night after my rottie growled in warning at the puppy, my puppy turned aggressive and full on attacked my rottie. She was by no means successful…my rottie drew blood, almost ripped the pups throat out. I called my rottie off the pup, and she listened, but once the pup got back up she charged my rottie again. This time I grab the pup by her collar to prevent her from further injury, but she turned on me. It’s like she went to a red zone and would attack anyone that stood in her way. After pinning her for a few minutes, making her submit and calming her down she was back to normal. My concern is that she’s trying to establish dominance with the older female, but my rottie will definitely kill her, and that it will only get worse once the pup is older. Also my pup turned on me as well when I tried to hold her back, and i dont want that to happen again!! Let alone if it was one of my kids trying to break up the fight and she were to turn on them!!! Any advice?!?!?!

    • Get hands-on help ASAP but give this some careful thought. Displacement aggression (where the dog attacks whatever is closest when worked up) is a major issue and not something that is generally reliably changeable. 🙁

  213. I have a 7 week, mixed breed, male puppy (99% sure he’s Lab & German Shepard mix). I know he’s very young, but thankfully for him I’m an experienced dog owner, and well versed on taking care of puppies – although I’ve never before bought from any breeders and he wasn’t bred on purpose, I should’ve listened to my gut when they said 6 weeks. I thought that sounded too young, even after they assured me their vet told them it was fine back when they were breeders. But, as an added bonus, I have an older Chiweenie dog who’s helping a lot with socialization and bite inhibition (makes my job a lot easier!). But there was one time when my Chiweenie “corrected” my puppy for biting too hard and he didn’t cower or stop immediately – he actually went back at her initially before he stopped and they both walked away from each other (with my puppy pouting a bit). I’m hoping that maybe he just didn’t realize that she wasn’t playing at first, and then stopped once he realized she wasn’t. This has only happened that one time. And at the time he was still only 6 weeks, and that was only one day after we brought him home. And I know he’ll be bigger than my Chiweenie in no time. Since then, so far, they’re getting along just fine, napping together during the day, and he’s responded to her behavior corrections just as he should. I’ve just never seen a puppy do that before, so should I be worried at all? Or am I blowing this out of proportion?

    • I’d keep an eye on it but the fact that it happened the first days home and not since leads me to hope that message was received. Good luck!

  214. My Siberian husky had 9 Puppies. She was scolding at 45 days old by putting mouth on head. Now two of the Puppies ear is not standing up, they were until after she scolded , will the ear stand back up soon, , it’s been three days now and it’s still not standing up.

    • Ears go up and down. If they’ve been up before, they will usually be up again. GOOD FOR YOU for letting Momma raise them. What she is teaching is more important than ears but what she’s doing won’t “break” those ears anyway. Probably just a growth spurt. Now, pups can start going home 49 days or after. Do you have good homes lined up?

  215. We just got a four month old female cocker spaniel, and we have a 8 year old male corgi, great pyrenees mix (he’s low to the ground but about 80 lbs). The puppy wants to play with him but the older dog has been snapping at her. At first he would warn her with a growl. Today she was playfully running toward him, and with out warning he just growled and grabbed for her neck. The puppy whimpered and squealed out of fear. It looks so scary to see even though he didn’t hurt her. Is it normal for an older dog to give no warning before snapping? and is it normal for an older dog to not like this reaction from a small puppy.

    • Well, my guess is your adult dog thinks he has given PLENTY of warnings and they haven’t worked so he upped his actions. Doesn’t matter how “playfully” your pup was coming at your adult dog if your dog had warned and warned and warned before. The warning can be brief freezing in place, looking away, walking away, ignoring – it’s not always growling or snarling. If she is rude in her approach – comes at him directly – he will correct her. My question is: did she get the message?

  216. Hi Sarah,
    We have a 9 year old blue heeler x Rottweiler (raz) and a week ago we fostered a rescue blue heeler to save him from being put down. They’re not sure on his age but guess 12 months. They have been pretty good and have worked out some of the usual arguments (food, bed etc) and that went smoothly enough. Little one got the point quickly. However, raz seems to be especially protective of me and gets very jealous very easily. He will growl at him if little one comes close to me or even in the same room as me, which is bad enough, but the real issue is that even if little one walks away after that raz will chase him and still growl and nip at him. As far as im aware he’s not always behaving like this. My partner said he’s not like that when I’m not around. How do I get him to stop harrasing him when I’m around? Seems he won’t give him a break while I’m around. He’s an extremely well trained dog. He will stop briefly if I tell him too but will start again as soon as he can and I’m not used to this behaviour from him. He will usually always do what he is told. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


    • Use that training! I’d get him on leash and work head turns when he locks on to the pup and/or send him out of the room when he growls at ANYONE in the family. Get some local training help, use body blocking (a la My Smart Puppy book) and work those immediate downs on a single verbal command.

  217. Hi!
    My dog Lola, has been a very well behaved, socialized pup. Shes over 2 now. We foster lots of puppies and she does great with them! Sometimes does show teeth, growl, etc but once the puppy submits, Lola is fine.

    However, we went to a backyard bqq and there was another dog there. 1 year old and very puppy like but the same size as my GSD. This dog kept getting too close to Lola (wanting to play) and Lola would growl, show teeth, and a quick lung to make the other dog submit.

    However, this dog kept coming back to play and Lola kept growling. Is this okay? How do I handle this? I tried to call my dog over to me to avoid confrontation but this other dog would still follow and get into Lola’s space. Lol seemed fine co existing but if the other dog would get near her face, Lola would growl again. People’s reaction is that my dog is aggressive….

    I know I need to let them do their doggy thing so the other puppy could learn boundaries but I don’t think she was getting the hint. Is it okay for my dog to keep up the behavior when this dog repeatly gets into her space? Or how to best handle this? The other dog was definitely not aggressive at all. Just playful. Any advice is much appreciated!

    • Sadly, this was not your problem to handle – the other dog’s people should have stopped their dog’s harassment of yours. It’s tough, socially, but your dog did what any of those people there would have down if some young adult kept getting in their face and space – “to play” or for any other reason. Once your dog says “quit” and the other dog doesn’t, then the other dog is being obnoxious – goofy grin or not. Don’t bring her around that dog again.

  218. Hi Sarah,

    Great article. I just got an 8 week old pitbull staffy mix and brought her into a house with one 10 year old stitzu and one 13 year old bichon.
    The Shitzu seems to be better and will growl at her occasionally to warn her but she also will chase her around the house barking, both dogs tails are wagging and when she stops chasing her the puppy will run at her and the chasing will begin again, is this normal and ok?
    As for the 13 year old she just hids away from it all as she’s too old to deal with it.

  219. Hi. I have a 10 year old Lhasa Apso female and have had a Shih zhu x terrier make for amonth. He’s 14 weeks old. When pup wants to play he will Yap yap yap in her face, sometimes Grab her legs ears , tail. Lhasa snarls ,lip curled , mouths him back . He just carries on it doesn’t bother him at all. When I split them up older will either go straight back to the pup , or pup to old dog. And it starts again. The other morning pup was hiding behind the curtain and older dog stood waiting for him to pop his head out yapping old dog snarling growling mouths him and it starts again. Both can walk away if they want but nether do. When pup is not in play mode both dog are fine around each other. It’s ususally first thing in the morning and evening they are like this. This is when both dogs are in play mode. Pup is currently at puppy school and does the same to all dogs there just pounces on them.

    • Sounds like this is their “game”. Your older dog could stop it if she really wanted to but the fact they go back to each other and that she waited for the pup to come out from behind the curtain makes it sound, from here, like they are both enjoying it in some way.

      And while the pup’s play style sounds a bit obnoxious, other dogs don’t seem to think so at this point as they are tolerating it across the board, apparently.

  220. Hi Sarah,
    We have a 9 month old lab Molly and a 10 week old lab Marlo. Molly always wants to jump on her and follow her everywhere. The pup can never get a break. Molly doesnt realize that she is 30 kg and Marlo is only 6kg. Molly does luke to put Marlos head in her mouth to. Any ideas?

    • Hi Trent – You’ve picked a hard combo of ages – teen and baby pup. Your teen doesn’t have the maturity yet for restraint so this is up to you. Great time to focus on Molly’s training; building her self-control. Use the exercises in My Smart Puppy: so you can control her behavior quickly and calmly. Getting upset with Molly is likely to confuse Mario so quiet, calm control is the goal. Use your barriers and crates to give Mario a break. Also, puppies pummeled as they grow are more likely to have various orthopedic issues so don’t let him get slammed into and bowled over on a regular basis. Good luck!!

  221. Hi Sarah,
    We have a border collie, cattle dog, sheltie mix that is 5 years old. We just brought home a new puppy( bernedoodle) that is 20 weeks old. Our older dog, Scout, growled and seemingly attacked the pup for no reason( that I saw). Pup was just standing next to me. When my daughter brought her 8 mo beagle, Scout spent 3 days “correcting”. Now when they meet they play. Scout also met neighbors pup, growled and we walked them near each other and now he plays.
    Our pup seems to growl back during there exchanges. Is that okay. It sort of makes me uncomfortable, although Scout will back off when I say leave it. After he will walk around the pup watching him , then relax.Am I too nervous?
    Needing advice please,

    • Hi Erin – No way for me to know from here what is safe and unsafe for your particular dogs. Doesn’t surprise me that Scout is pushy, does surprise me your pup is growling back. No adult dog should outright “attack” a puppy and it will make the puppy understandably defensive. Be sure your pup plays with lots of other vaccinated, socialized adult dogs (no dog parks, though!). – Sarah

  222. Hello, I just introduced a 10 week old Yorkie/Chihuahua in our home and she is settled and amazing. My son is trying to introduce a Australian Shepherd mix that is 10 weeks old. His dog is WAY bigger like 4 times size and very very very energetic. She bowls over the Yorkie/Chihuahua and she yelps like crazy, think fear more then injured as we pull them apart and she ducks her tail and walks away. We introduced originally in back yard on leads. We need to figure out a way to get them to respect each other but both being so young…just looking for pointers as I don’t want the littlest small fry to get hurt in innocent play. how should we help them transition–they are in separate crates when crated, separate play and training times when the other puppy is crated and out of the room, tire out the Australian shepherd before allowed to play with chihuahua??, Do we try to let them play freely at this time or wait until both a little older? Both were in foster homes (different ones) with rescue agency with LOTS of other dogs. Yorkie had a brother that was rambunctious but she also wasn’t afraid of big dogs at her foster and her brother would bowl her over to. And yes I know introducing two puppies into the home at same time is crazy and a LOT of work but I think if we do the work they will be companions for life. Any advice please we want them to adjust without injury.

    • Two puppies of very different sizes is tough – I do not recommend it. You’re going to have to stop the aussie from doing that which means constant supervision and redirection. For now, keep the aussie on leash around your smaller pup – teach the aussie to lie down to play and prevent bowling over “games”. I’d get a local dog pro to help you out because your little one will be harmed – mentally, physically, or both.

  223. Hi! I have a 9 year old chihuahua/ dauchshund mix (Sophie). She’s been the only one for as long as I’ve had her. She plays well with other dogs that come to our house though. We just adopted a 6 month old boxer mix (Layla). When Layla came inside for the first time I picked up all toys and food. The girls were playing just fine until Layla started to explore the kitchen. Once Sophie realized Layla was in the kitchen she snapped at Layla. Layla then pinned her down and they were both growling and baring teeth at each other but neither one bit the other. It scared me so I picked up Sophie to separate them. Is this normal for them to be doing? I’m afraid Layla (30 pounds) will end up hurting Sophie (16 pounds). Thanks!

    • Get hands-on help ASAP. No 6-month-old puppy new to a house should take on the adult dog that way. That’s a lot of confidence and yes, I am concerned. Glad they were both inhibited but there’s no guarantee they will be in the future and it’s Sophie who could be seriously harmed.

  224. I have a 2 year old boxer and just for an 8 week old boxer. They love each other and always want to be together but I’m not sure if they are playing to rough. Bosco, my older dog, mouths her and will hold the little one with his paw. She doesn’t seem to mind and will go back at him. I usually keep him in a leash when they are outside because I’m afraid he’ll tackle her but inside they play constantly (there is no down time when she’s awake!) until she’s ready for a nap and will pick up where they left off when she wakes up. If I separate them they whine to be together. Is this normal?

  225. My adult mother dog nips quickly all over her 7month old puppy. The puppy doesn’t seem to mind. The mom is losing hair, the puppy has his hair. She does this off and on all day. Thanks

  226. Hi, I have a 3 month old pointer and my 8 year old chihuahua has been attacking him. He is very aggressive about it and he has nicked his ears a couple of times but nothing that required attention. I have been trying to correct the puppy to show him boundaries but I’m worried this won’t be enough. Does this sound more than simple dog on dog correction.

  227. Hello I have a 2 yr old pit bull/boxer mix (gordo)and I recently got an 8 week old pitbull mix(Frida). Gordo really likes to play with Frida but she doesn’t seem to interested in him she would much more rather play with my chihuahua. I don’t know if it’s b/c of the size difference but Frida always growls & snaps at Gordo when he wants to play and he responds with pushing her down with his paw or laying his head on top of her, Gordo is wagging his tail the whole time and nudging her with his nose. Should I keep them apart till Frida gets a little bigger or just keep supervising their play ? Also could Frida be intimidated by Gordo or does she just not like him ?

    • Sounds like you have good instincts here. Yes, friendly or not, Gordo’s attentions are too much for Frida right now. Try with him on leash and, ideally, lying down so he doesn’t overwhelm or hurt her unintentionally. Okay?

  228. We lost our 14 1/2 year old Westie (Darby), our 7 year old Schnauzer (Bailie), whom slept in a crate with Darby all her life. She helped him as he deteriorated. She’s been mopey and we introduced her to her new brother, Eirinn, an 8-week old Westie puppy yesterday at our subdivision’s pavilion. She tolerated the puppy and then we walked home together. When we put the puppy in the crate, Bailie followed and she kept following him as he explored. They kept this up until she growled at him and snapped. She is getting better with him but we slept together on the couch with each dog at separate ends. Should we crate train the puppy in a separate crate and see if Bailie welcomes him into her crate? We’re concerned because we thought she was going to be such a helper to him and nurture him.

    • Absolutely! Separate crates. Glad it worked so well for you for so long but two crates, but I do not suggest putting two dogs in one crate. The problem is, if a fight were to break out, they could not get away from each other and things could get ugly fast. So, two crates. Does that help?

      Also, I am sorry for the loss of your old friend. 🙁

  229. We Just got an 11 week old GSD male last weekend, and we already have a 3 year old male lab. Is this just as common to have problems between the breeds if the younger one is the GSD and therefore will grow up with the lab? So far, they are getting along as you mentioned in the article above. The GSD takes the labs toys, and the lab is tolerating it pretty well. The lab, Charlie, will get annoyed at times and I will separate them for a while. They have been together for almost a week and tonight were laying down with each other sleeping. Do you have any suggestions or ideas of what to expect down the road? I would like them to get along, of course. The lab is already neutered and the GSD will be once he is old enough.
    Also, strange question I would like to add on… is it normal that my lab does not want to drink from the same water dish that he has always used now that the puppy is using it?

    • 🙂 They will be just fine together as your GSD grows up, I would guess. They know each other well. It’s more of a problem when they don’t know each other or “speak the same language”. And yes, some dogs are picky about water and water it very clean in the bowl. Same group who drinks from puddles and out of the toilet so don’t ask me what the issue is. 🙂

      • Thank you. Yes, he is now only drinking out of our toilet … not a fan but I don’t want him dehydrated. Looks like Ill need to find a place for a second bowl…
        Thank you again!

  230. We just got a 6 week old puppy and already have a 9month old puppy at home. Our older puppy will grab onto the 6 week old puppy with her paw and try to pull him into her, when she does this she also lays her head on top of the puppy to hold him in place. Is this normal? Is it a protective pull?

    • Teen pups often don’t have the experience or maturity to be gentle with little ones. Trust your gut. Encourage your older pup to lie down when they play. Practice blocking with both of them as per My Smart Puppy. Good luck!

  231. I have an almost 3 year old male American Pit Bull Terrier whom we adopted over a year ago. Since then, we have fostered about 4 animals and adopted them out and Houston (my older dog) Got along well with all of them but preferred the little male 6 month old puppy we had fostered. They would play together and everything. We just brought home last weekend a female 3 month old 12 pound little Pitbull/15 pound mutt mix. She is officially ours so she will be here long term. The mom is the 15 pound mutt and the dad is a 75 pound Pit Bull. My question is, since my dog seems to be so tolerant to puppy antics do we have to monitor how much the puppy jumps all over Houston? Houston was normally crated during the day while we were at work and now since we got the puppy since she can’t hold her bladder for very long yet they are out in our secured patio. I think I have it in my mind from reading other sites that my dog could eventually snap and kill my puppy and now I am freaked out. Can you offer some advice or reassurance?

    • I always give my adults breaks for pups, esp. when I cannot supervise them. But, I see no reason that your well-socialized dog would “snap” and kill your pup. That is RARE with dogs who have exhibited tolerance and have experience. No guarantees, of course, but don’t believe everything you read.

  232. Hi, I have a 7 year old Labrador. I recently got a golden retriever who is 33 days old. While meeting for the first time my Labrador growled and jumped on to bite the small pup which was timely stopped by a leash pull. Everytime he is near the pup, he constantly stares at him and the person holding the pup. He growles everytime we try to bring the pup closer to the lab. We have no idea what to do. Please help as we are concerned for both our dogs.

    • Hi Kumar – I would not bring the pup closer but use gates and give everyone some time. Let your Lab adjust at his own speed. Any local experienced dog person who can help?

  233. Hi Sarah,
    We brought two new two-month old pups into our home about five months ago.
    Our dear old girl turned 13 this year; she is a sweet, smart pitbull mix who has been very well socialized – she has never been especially drawn to other dogs (She prefers feline companionship) but has become quite playful with one of the new pups.
    Over the last couple of months, our old girl has taught the pups how to play without biting, how to tolerate a leash, and ait for treats.
    The pups are litter mates, and both are very smart and active.
    One of the puppies is on the aggressive side, and this is the only pup that our senior dog will interact with.
    She flatly ignores the other, submissive (larger) pup.
    It’s been 5 months, and that dynamic has not changed.
    All three are females, our old girl never had pups of her own.

    Is there a reason why she ignores one, but not the other?

    Is this common?

    • Well, she’s keeping the peace, for which we should thank her. I’m sure there is a good dog reason she does so – it could be to keep the peace or the pushier pup needs more lessons or the other pup plays in a way she doesn’t like or… Regardless, it’s how she rolls and your younger pups will adapt.

  234. We have a 2 (almost 3) year old shih tzu and we got a 10 week old puppy today. We let out shih tzu smell the puppies blanket first and where he walked and then we slowly introduce them to each other. My shih Tuz was wagging his tail, cryin, and sniffing the puppy. It didn’t seem like he was going to attack, but then he started pawing at the the puppy (just with one paw) and whining while wagging his tail. Is this a good sign or should I be worried?

    • Hi Nancy – Sounds like a little confusion and some curiosity. My guess is that your pups will soon be fast friends just take things slowly and give your adult a chance to get used to the idea. Have fun!

  235. Hi,

    I have a 6 yr yorkie and a new poodle puppy. My yorkie gets aggressive when I play fetch with them and wants the ball always for himself. He gets mad when the puppy gets close to the ball so the puppy sometimes doesn’t want to play anymore.. Is this normal ? How can we train the adult dog to let the puppy play fetch with him too?.
    Also when puppy gets playful with us the older dog sometimes barks at the puppy/ angry bark.

    • Hi Kat – Some dog’s don’t like to share toys, especially during favorite games. Pups generally learn those rules pretty quickly. I would start training them both so you can pet either one without either getting upset. Good luck!

  236. Hi! This was a great article. We just got a 7wk old English bulldog/German shepherd mix (Willow). We have a 70lb pit/lab mix that’s 2 (Sadie). Sadie is very hyper!! I know she’s playing but she runs past Willow and nips her neck at the same time knocks her over, if we’re outside its constant and if I try to intervene its like it wires her up more, Willow gets mad and growls at her as shes doing it so I dont think she likes it. Then when we’re inside and Sadie is sitting acting calm Willow bites at her tail or face and sets her off again, she’s actually biting everyone quite a bit we’re working on that. Lol. I’m getting frustrated with them both though because as soon as one calms down the other goes nuts. I dont want to interfere but I also don’t want Sadie to trample Willow and hurt her. Any suggestions would be great….also they get separation time already. The adult dog goes in the back yard quite a bit during the day and we walk the younger dog on a leash because we’re working on house breaking her. The younger pup is also crated at night for house training.