Every time the canine population in a home changes, the group dynamic shifts. The addition of a youngster brings an extra-large dose of energy to the mix. Some canine resident individuals may not be immediately thrilled. All relationships take time and many require guidance from the owner. Training and cognitive games as well as management provide outlets for inexhaustible puppy energy.
Puppies Can Be Clueless
Few things are innately more interesting than members of our own species. This is true of dogs, too. Is it any wonder that the puppy wants to engage with the resident dog to the point of peskiness? When puppies push social boundaries, some dogs set them straight. Other dogs tolerate inappropriate inter-dog social behaviors.
When the resident dog reprimands the puppy, he may back off and modify behavior. Or not. It’s unusual for an adult dog to injure a puppy; sometimes a show of teeth is needed for junior to get the message. If reprimands escalate to an uncomfortable level though, intervene and remove the puppy. Have a plan for both the resident dog and the puppy to have individual time.
Carve out an extra daily playtime or walk with the resident dog. As excited as the family may be with the new dog, it’s stressful for the existing one. Time and attention from you will help reduce stress and assure your resident dog that no new canine in the midst can usurp resources and affection. His place in the family is secure.
As for the puppy, there is a new bond to forge by spending time playing, training, and leash walking with him, too. Management is an important component to maintain order. Use a crate or puppy playpen to help puppy learn to enjoy his own company with a chew or other mentally stimulating independent activity.
Lessons From the Resident “Sibling”
Here’s a truth: The prevailing behavior in a multiple dog household is that of the worst-behaved dog. This is motivation to start training the existing dog, if that has yet to happen. Use obedience training tools to reduce stress and keep order. The attentive behaviors of the resident dog will not be lost on the puppy. (Try a “fastest sitter gets the cookie first” game.)
If neither dog responds reliably to obedience cues, work them separately to start. Everyone will benefit, especially the humans.
Kimberly Mandel Canine Behavior and Training LLC
Copyright © Kimberly B. Mandel CPDT-KA, 2019 all rights reserved