Darcy, an eleven-year-old Lhasa Apso, is the sweetest dog imaginable. Bruno, an Old English Bulldog is exceptionally good for a four-month-old boisterous puppy.
The problem is when the two dogs are together.
It started off fine about eight weeks ago when Bruno was a lot smaller. As time has gone by Darcy has become more impatient with him. It’s very likely now she’s a bit scared and he totally ignores all her more polite warning signs.
She now snarls and bares her teeth at Bruno.
If she ignores him he pulls her tail and bites her. On walks he will pounce on her unless on a short lead.
Darcy needs help.
Currently there is no halfway house between the dogs being apart and being together. In the daytimes the man works upstairs and takes Darcy with him. The lady works downstairs – with Bruno.
Poor Darcy’s problems start at the beginning of the day or at midday when they take a break. She will be upstairs and Bruno downstairs. The boisterous puppy is waiting to ambush her as she comes down.
A lot of the solution is about management. For now, someone downstairs with Bruno will pop him on lead before the other brings Darcy down.
When the couple are both downstairs, the boisterous puppy is either terrorising Darcy, shut outside alone in the garden or shut in his crate.
He is surprisingly accepting of being alone in the garden. In all other respects he’s a very easy puppy.
I suggest a pen in their living room. They can put the crate inside it. Now all his toys and his box of rubbish and his meals can take place in the pen.
They can both safely be given chews.
The two dogs won’t be completely separated – but Bruno will be unable to get at Darcy.
Teaching Bruno the desired behaviour
Meanwhile they will teach Bruno the behaviour that they would like. They will keep him trailing a lead all the time when the dogs are together. Now they will start to click and reinforce each time he goes near to Darcy and doesn’t pester her.
They walk the dogs twice a day. Now one of these walks will be with the dogs separately. Darcy can go back to happily trotting beside them and stopping to sniff. She can be off lead without worrying about Bruno jumping on her.
Bruno can learn to walk nicely. They can continue to work at his fear of traffic. He, too, can have time either off lead or on a long line.
With a mix of management and training, I predict these two will get on like a house on fire when Bruno is a little older.