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Please help - Dog and puppy interaction


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Hi everyone. I was hoping that someone may be able to give me some advice of whether this behaviour is normal and if not where to go from here. 

 

I have a really lovely Golden Retriever female who is 6. She is very puppy like still in that she’s playful but she does enjoy napping most of the day. I have had her from a pup and am considering contacting her breeder from on here about this. I love this dog so very much and want to help her feel better. 

 

Enter puppy. The sweetest little girl, so gentle, also a Golden, not mouthy, soft natured. She is now 3 and a half months old. She’s in puppy school and so smart. 

 

The Goldens enjoy playing little hide and seek sort of games together but they have only been able to do this a few times. One day when puppy was very little they were playing outside all fine, older Golden was waving a toy for puppy to sort of chase her and all was really good. That evening I made the mistake of giving older dog a treat biscuit while I thought puppy was occupied across the room. All of a sudden the biscuit broke in half and some of it dropped, puppy ran over to that direction and older dog grabbed her by the neck and pinned her down making a horrible viscous mauling sound. She didn’t leave a mark but puppy just screamed and screamed so loudly and so horribly. I carried her in my arms as she still screamed into the other room (There are baby gates up to separate them). She was fine and settled quickly and I did then go growl at my older dog which perhaps I shouldn’t have. 

 

The behaviour was unusual from older dog and made me cry that she could do that to the puppy. I also felt terrible that I set them up for failure without thinking. Puppy was fine after that and wanted to still play with older dog but because I was scared I kept them separated. They could still see each other and I incorporated lots of treat rewards for being near puppy but with a barrier between. 

 

I then started letting them be together a bit outside with puppy on a lead and it worked really well. I even let her off the lead a little and she was very respectful and older dog was very happy rolling around and trying to play. They also just last night had a wonderful little play together. Puppy was showing her belly and respecting older dogs space. Then tonight, older dog was outside and puppy on my lap having a cuddle. Older dog then came inside and I let puppy in the same room as older dog. Puppy ran straight to older dog and before I could get to her she put her paws up on older dog’s side close to her face and just as I got there older dog again grabbed her by the neck and held onto her scruff but it was more at the front of her neck. There wasn’t all the horrible mauling sound but she had pulled puppy’s skin out an inch or more and was holding onto it fiercely. I managed easily to then pull older dog off her and she released her. Puppy screamed so loudly and kept on screaming. There was no mark and puppy calmed down and is now playing. 

 

I was starting to cry because of the stress and worry and not knowing what to do. Older dog sat in front of me looking very sad and was trying to offer me her paw as if to say sorry. Older dog is now in the bedroom, not punished, that’s just a space she likes being, while puppy is out here playing. 

 

It seems to be a problem when puppy touches older dog. Older dog seems happy to play keep away or light chaises or hide and seek but doesn’t want contact. 

 

I know that dogs train puppy’s how to act and I know they can be a bit fierce, but I’m still worried because of the puppy’s terrible screaming from it and how older dog doesn’t growl or show teeth first. 

 

Is there something wrong with my dog for her to treat a puppy like this or is that the appropriate reaction to puppy getting into her space? What should I do when this happens? Am I making it worse by consoling puppy and getting mad at older dog? Do we have any hope of things getting better? Does older dog need a vet visit to check hormones or anything? 

 

It’s so horrifying seeing my lovely gentle dog do this to a sweet little puppy. 

 

Thanks for reading and for any ideas and thoughts. 

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I think the older dog is most likely teaching the pup what her boundaries are. Pups will scream loudly and act like the sky is falling, but in most cases there are no injuries, and pup learns that certain behaviours will get a negative response, so they adjust their behaviours to suit. By grabbing pup and coddling her, then separating the older dog, you might not actually be helping puppy learn those boundaries. Maybe next time, just check that puppy isn't injured, and let her calm down by herself.

 

I'd be making sure that older dog has a space that she can go to get away from puppy if she wants to be by herself, and just supervise them when they are together. If puppy starts being a bit over-excited and likely to annoy the older dog, YOU tell puppy to back off... I use the command "leave it" if I want the action to stop, or "gentle" if things are getting a bit excitable, but still mostly respectful... both dogs can learn both commands, so YOU are the one in control.

 

Don't be fooled by the pup's screaming when she has been soundly disciplined by the older dog... this is normal, and how the pup learns what is acceptable or not to the older dog. By picking her up and cuddling her until she stops, you are reaffirming to the older dog that puppy is more important than her at this time, and could lead to the older dog actually resenting puppy.

 

Above all, make sure that the older dog is still getting lots of your attention too... it's so easy to get sidetracked by the cute new puppy, and forget that the older dog needs your attention too. She has had you all to herself for 6 years, and she needs confirmation that you still love her just as much now there is a new dog to share you with.

 

T.

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This behaviour is completely normal for a dog. The puppy is being taught boundaries and respect about the older dog’s possession - in this instance, food. Some dogs have tighter boundaries than others when it comes to food or toys. 
 

Had the older dog actually used its teeth to bite or attack the puppy, then I’d be concerned. 
 

Dogs discipline their young differently to us. It seems harsh and aggressive but it’s normal canine behaviour.
 

You’ve learnt a lesson too, along with the pup. Your older dog highly valued his treats and food. Keep the pup away when there is food involved. Feed them separately. 
 

 

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Posted (edited)

Yep all pretty normal. Good advice above. Don’t make too much of the puppy histrionics aside from calmly checking there’s no real damage. There’s usually not! 
 

Goldens like many gundog breeds, are renowned for being quite strong on ‘resource’ guarding ……food, toys, spaces etc. 

 

Youre getting a lesson in the fact that dogs are free thinking individuals with instinct and drive of their own, and a will to act on them. 
 

often the biggest mistake people make is getting between the natural flow of things when introducing dogs together. 

Edited by Podgus
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I have an older dog 5 years old.  We recently got a pup at 8 weeks old.  For the first 2 -3 weeks the older dog would avoid the puppy by getting on the bed.  He didn't want anything to do with the pup.  He would look at us as if to say what have you done.

 

Then they had their first game together and our older dog realised this could be fun.  They haven't stopped playing since.  They are now great mates.

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Think most above have said it right , Pups being taught some manners , it will learn  when and how far to push the play , Only thing i would definetly do is feed them apart , I introduced a male  shepard to a full grown staffy male , who was the boss   but has he got bigger and older the only time the GS would stand up to the  staffy was meal times ,  he was very food possesive , would gobble his own and then eat the staffys ,  so i fed them apart , and never had a problem ,,, years later after the staffy had gone , i brought a male rotty in , and was amused at the rotty pup  being taught the same manners the staffy taught the GS regards play how much and how far ,   , what suprised me was  the GS did'nt mind the rotty pup pinching his bone , or a bit of food , quite often  they would  leave one bone and sit chewing the other bone together .

 

However that was only when the rotty was a pup , has he got bigger and older ,  the GS became more  back to normal and domineered the food , he would push his bowl over  to the rottys bowl show his teeth and eat both of them

 

Suffice to say it was an easy fix , one was fed inside the other outside , bones   one in the run one out the run , and it was important has the GS got older  had   his own place to go when he did'nt want to play , after he went , we got another rotty and it started all over again    but     by then when the new pup came in the first rotty had become  food dominant , its just a dog thing ,,,

 

i quite often  have my sons dog a stumpy tail , come around  he gets on well with my dog a little white  dog   a  who  knows what he is thing ,,  they get on well , but i feed them seperate ,, theres no issues except the heeler  gobbles his food , then mine will quite happilly shirk away from his own  and let him eat it , he's timid , can't stand up for himself so i have to do it for him and either tell the heeler NO or quite simply put him out till my dogs finished eating ,,

 

Your just discovering natural behaviour in the pack  ,

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3 hours ago, Deeds said:

I have an older dog 5 years old.  We recently got a pup at 8 weeks old.  For the first 2 -3 weeks the older dog would avoid the puppy by getting on the bed.  He didn't want anything to do with the pup.  He would look at us as if to say what have you done.

 

Then they had their first game together and our older dog realised this could be fun.  They haven't stopped playing since.  They are now great mates.

My sister rang me about 2 months ago , she has a little dog dominering snappy little thing , pug cross or something , her son brough home a pup  not sure the breed one of them big white herding dogs ,, she rang asking what should she do  the pug did'nt like the pug and snapped at it   run away from it  and just  did'nt want a bar of it ,, i advised her  put them out together  ,and ignore them let them get on wth it ,  the pug was used to being in sitting on her lap , she did ,  now there the best of mates the pug  she says is a new dog he's come to life  and she swears he's not has snappy anymore in fact a better all round dog ,, told her course he is , he's getting excercise and now actually being a dog

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Thank you everyone for easing my stress a little. The sound of puppy screaming was so horrible and so new to me. My older dog is usually so sweet and happy that it really shocked me too. I have to try to be braver and let them get used to each other instead of keeping them separate the majority of the time. I would never leave them unsupervised for both their sakes. I don’t want puppy annoying older dog either. I do need to have some more special one on one time with my older dog, that has been lacking because it’s been so busy. 

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Well done @Amazetl for listening to the great advice you've been given.   Your pup has proved very good at summoning the staff to help .. but pup needs to learn where the boundaries are in relation to the older dog.     I have a 13.5 year old Border Collie boy who loves his little 'sister' 5 year old BC)(--- can't wait till she gets out og her crate in the morning to play bitey face.   But you wouldn't know how much he lovves her if you saw him telling her off big time for persistently getting in his way when he's doing some agility training.  When she crosses his patience line, he falls on her growling and sounding really fierce.  She knows that she's pushed him too far, and hits the deck ... only occasionally making the mistake of thinking he's finished with the telling off, when in reality he's only stopped to draw breath .. he will then resume the telling off and she hits the deck again.. and waits till he's finished.   mind you, in his ccase the disciplining doesn't really work all that well .. if I don't do something, she will go right back to annoying him again. :laugh:

 

It would be worth teaching your puppy some boundary training/Hot Zone training ... having a dog bed or mat pup can be lying on until you give permission to get off.   THis will help show the older dog that pup is learning some self control.    There'll be some good stuff on this on the net.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Normal but also failure of management and yes that sounds harsh .

You have a 6 yr old dog that’s lived a single life off doing what it wants with no disruptions or expectations,a dog that you deem lovely .

Failure to manage can lead to issues though so normal can change bigtime .

 

 

Pup comes in instantly expected to share ,interact and have its life changed bigtime and in an instant you take the puppies side and discipline the older dog for dealing with the unknown.

 

Not every dog wants company, not every dog knows how to live with company and not every dog got the memo that all should be perfect according to there human.

 

Puppy comes in invading there space,grabs,pulls and annoys and older dog is just expected to suck it up love it .It’s a major life change for most dogs who have been single spoilt dogs .

 

Rarely does this work straight away .

Older dog needs it’s space and time out .

Dog also most likely has been giving warnings that humans aren’t taking serious so has disciplined or reacted to pup .

Older dog then gets told off .

 

So moving forward older dog needs a safe zone ,pup needs a pup zone and building a relationship needs to be done slowly.

 

Respecting a dogs reaction is important .

Turfing outside to get on with is irresponsible.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Dogsfevr
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Posted (edited)

The hot zone and being on mat learning self control and giving my older dog confidence is a great idea. 

 

Puppy has NEVER jumped on older dog or mouthed her or anything like that. The only play they have done was contactless. Puppy put her paws up onto older dog and held them there very gently and before I got there she reacted. Puppy is super gentle and not mouthy but also I haven’t let them be together. Puppy is always separated either with a barrier or in her playpen. She doesn’t even sleep in the same room as older dog. They have had very limited interaction due to when she was so little and the incident with the dog biscuit. 

 

Older dog can see me taking care of puppy and see her in her pen and through the baby gates. Her life has changed dramatically but I have tried my best to keep her protected from any puppy antics. I think perhaps I have protected them both too much. 

 

Is anyone able to direct me on how to help build a relationship between them slowly? I have tried giving treats for watching puppy through barrier and that goes down well. I haven’t given any treats together since the dog biscuit happened and I’m unsure whether to try using a toy with them, like playing fetch together as I don’t know if older dog would want to share toys. 

 

Puppy is just about ready to start walks so I was planning on walking them both sometimes together to see if they enjoy that. Older dog is definitely interested in puppy and when puppy was little and cried older dog seemed alarmed. Puppy was asleep and started crying in her sleep very loudly (this was before anything between the two of them happened) and older dog raced to where she was behind the barrier and alarmed me and looked very concerned. 

 

And when I have let them play a few times older dog gets so super happy to see puppy but doesn’t touch puppy. She rolls around on the ground and makes funny sounds and then starts zooming around happily. I feel like I should be brave and let them be together under supervision in the backyard but it’s just so scary for me as puppy is so petite and so soft natured. 

 

Other info, puppy is very good at showing her belly and getting down low. It was very out of character when she went over to older dog and put her paws on her. I think it scared older dog who is also very soft natured and also disrespected her. 

Edited by Amazetl
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Ummm... can we have names of your 2 dogs please? Oh... and we definitely need photos... you can't talk about GR puppies without photos here... it's a rule... *grin*

 

T.

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Posted (edited)

You have been given a warning. Your older dog is prepared to take issue with access to food.  Resource guarding like this isn’t uncommon in the breed.  She wasn’t scared. She was possessive. 
 

Adjust your management accordingly.  Feed separately. Ensure the dogs cannot get to each other’s food. I’d be feeding in crates. And yes, be very careful with treats. 
 

Resource guarding is perfectly normal canine behaviour. Your job is now to manage it.  
 

Can I suggest a home visit from a decent trainer to help you take their relationship forward?

Edited by Salukifan
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I am considering a home visit and have looked up a couple trainers in the area. They were only around food the one time with the dog biscuit, the other time was when puppy put her paws up onto my older dog’s side/close to face area. It was while older dog was standing at the treat cupboard though (hoping I’d come over and open it) so maybe it was still over food? I have another elderly dog (Labrador) who she has no guarding issues with at all with anyone including puppy. That dog is also great with puppy but doesn’t really play. 

 

We haven’t used crates but I do have one and puppy likes going in there just naturally on her own but I’ve never forced her in. My older dog doesn’t like small spaces, whenever she sleeps it’s stretched out, she won’t get up on the armchair but loves the couch for instance so I’m not sure if she’d like a crate but I’ll try. I will start feeding puppy in hers. They have always been fed separately, older dog and my other dog have always eaten together and can eat out of the same bowl, not that I encourage that. I can also touch any food including a bone and she doesn’t react at all. 

 

So she’s having a hard time accepting puppy into the pack? I’ve kept them too separate? Or is it because she’s the third dog? Or puppy is just so at the bottom of the pack? I really feel my dog is insecure and I’ve noticed recently she has startled a couple times here and there easily which she never had before. Once was when puppy made a noise touching her pen. But maybe also she doesn’t want to get in trouble from me about puppy. She always is a good dog and hates even the slightest of little correction. 

 

Thanks for all the support everyone. 

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19 hours ago, Amazetl said:

s anyone able to direct me on how to help build a relationship between them slowly? I have tried giving treats for watching puppy through barrier and that goes down well. I haven’t given any treats together since the dog biscuit happened and I’m not sure whether to try using a toy with them, like playing fetch together as I don’t know if older dog would want to share toys. 

One of my dog training gurus is Susan Garrett .. I take pretty much all her online classes, but for general training purposes, her podcasts have some absolute gems.   For your immediate purposes, I would recommend Podcasts 14, 15 qand 15, and 72.    You can find them here Susan Garrett Podcasts.

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And a big yes to crate training the puppy.   (Note ... you never want to 'force' your puppy in .. but you can have the best game playing things like Yer in Yer out .. pup chooses to go in crate .. is rewarded with food given for a sit at the back of the crate... pup leaves crate when you give the release cue (that you should be using for going out door etc. .. I use "Break" ) then pup gows back into crate to see if there'll be a magic treat .. treat in the crate, wait a moment, then release ... rinse and repeat ... then finish the game while pup is still having fun...   So the crate becomes a place the pup chooses to go.    My 13,5 year old BC boy still sleeps in his crate beside my bed .. airline crate .. door has been off for about 8 or more years, and he could go anywhere ... but he loves his crate for night time.. and is happy to use one anywhere, because for both my dogs, so much value has been built for a crate.

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Thanks. I’ll check out those podcasts. Puppy really took to going in crate the moment I set it up. She is used to a playpen. She enjoys taking her toys in the crate. I haven’t at all shut the door on her. I actually would like to get her to sleep in the crate in the bedroom if possible because she is still getting me up to go outside to toilet a few times through the night from her playpen in the living room. She often wants to play in the middle of the night too and I was thinking the crate with a cover partly over it might settle her into a deeper sleep. If she sleeps in her crate in the bedroom with the big dogs out of the crate would that be a bit of a bonding exercise even? 

 

There is a second bigger crate that she has also played in and our elderly dog enjoyed going in too although they have never been crate trained or had one before. 

 

Thanks again everyone. 

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Naawww  .. that's lovely.   YEs definitely ... covered crate in your bedroom .. then if she needs to go out, you can just quietly put a light leash on her to take her outside for a pee .. all very calm and quiet .. then when she's peed back inside and into crate with a treat.  door shut, cover over and back to sleep.   Shouldn't be too long before she doesn't need to go out at night, particularly if you limit water a bit before bedtime.   Keep the routine going, and you'll find she's beating you into bed.      The bif dogs can sleep wherever they like without any worries about being disturbed.  The crate becomes the puppy's safe and happy place for rests.      So good job with the crate training.   So good that she's happy in there.

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