Why can't they be friends?
January 2, 2011 2:06 PM Subscribe
How can I help my puppy and my older dog get along?
I have a 5 month old mix breed puppy (5 months) who is about 10 lbs. A few days ago we took in an 11 year old Pomeranian from a family member who could no longer care for her. The dog is very sweet and calm and basically just wants to sleep on a pillow or on your lap all day. However, my puppy who loves dogs and always wants to play will not leave her alone. He follows her around, licking her face, sniffing her butt, and occasionally doing his playful bark while wagging his butt in the air. The older dog is fine whenever he is in the room, even close by, but as soon as he starts paying attention to her she growls and then barks and snaps at him. We usually grab him up at this point but when we haven't gotten to them in time the puppy seems like he barks and bites back.
No skin has been broken yet (except on my hand when I was pulling them apart once.) A few people have advised me to let them "work it out" but this seems dangerous and I'd like to avoid a vet visit for stitches. We have been saying "NO!" and grabbing the older dog's scruff when she starts to growl and shows her teeth. It makes her stop for a few seconds but if the puppy doesn't go away she starts again. We have also been telling the puppy "NO" when he is jumping up to see her or trying to wrestle her, but it hasn't really been working.
How do we make this a tolerable situation? Should we focus on training the older dog not to growl/bark/bite or the puppy to just not approach her? A spray bottle worked well on him when we were training him not to bark and I'm open to using that again if necessary, but I feel bad punishing him when he is just being a friendly, sociable puppy and I don't want to discourage him from acting the same way when it is appropriate, like at the dog park.
It's also probably important to mention that the older dog was attacked by a big strange dog several years ago and she was hurt pretty badly. I do not recall if she was friendlier to dogs before then, but she was also young at that point, probably no older than 3 or 4. I am not sure if her crankiness is due to fear of dogs or just her age. She behaves similarly to all other dogs - fine as long as they are not bothering her, but quickly escalating if they run up to her/sniff her/etc.
Thanks for any of your tips or tricks.