Here is another story where introducing puppy to an older dog is proving to be a problem.
My last case of introducing puppy to an older dog was just a couple of days ago. The two played too roughly and this wasn’t good for the puppy.
This case is about two Chihuahuas, puppy Teddy and 8-year-old female Blue. They can’t even look at one another without Blue growling and Teddy barking at her in a scared kind of way.
They are afraid that, if loose together, Blue will hurt tiny Teddy and later cause her to be reactive to other dogs in general.
They have had Teddy for just a few days and already have a complicated routine for keeping the two apart.
Introducing puppy needs careful planning.
At the moment, Blue considers interloper Teddy to be very bad news.
Increasingly, with each growl and show of aggression, Teddy is seeing Blue as very bad news also.
Our strategy has to be one of changing this.
Each dog needs to learn to see the other now as good news.
They will first invest in a puppy pen so that the two dogs can be in the same room – but safely.
At present Teddy spends quite a lot of time in another room in his crate. Very fortunately, so far he is chilled with being left on his own.
Now the two should be kept at a distance where neither reacts to the other. Blue will be on lead while it’s necessary.
Each time one dog looks at the other, he or she immediately gets something tasty.
To introduce puppy in a fun way, I suggest a kind of ‘party time’. Puppy Teddy can be given food in a Kong in the pen at the same time as Blue is given a Kong outside the pen.
They can do the same with scatter feeding or with snufflemats.
I also suggested they use a clicker for one dog and the word ‘Yes’ for the other. When one dog looks at the other – click/treat (or Yes/treat). Each dog will then know beyond doubt just what it is he or she is receiving the treat for.
The treat is triggered by the other dog.
(NB. The clicker isn’t a magic device – I first teach its correct use).
Poor Blue lost her companion a few weeks ago and is suffering when left alone. I’m sure that, given time and patience, Teddy will become her new companion.
One week later:
“The meeting was excellent, it was very informative and also fun, guiding us and pointing us in the right direction. Before the meeting I was stressed thinking I had made a great mistake in getting Teddy, but after talking to you I realised that it is a common problem, I felt so relieved, not only for me but for the dogs, they are both enjoying the training as are we”.
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help