Stressed pug plays too roughly with puppy


Stanley is being taught to be rough and over-excited


 Lola barks at planes and birds and bees. She barks at the door bell, at animals on TV and at the young sons’ Nintendo game sounds. She barks at other dogs if she can’t get to them. She barks at everything.

Lola, left, is a two-year-old Pug and the new addition is Stanley, just nine weeks of age.

The new problem since a week ago when Stanley arrived is that the two dogs constantly chase and play rather roughly  – something Lola also does with other dogs given the chance.

A nine-week-old puppy needs a lot of rest. It is a period of learning – so the lessons need to be the right things. He needs to learn how to fit in with family life and to be gentle. He needs to learn impulse control.

Duration of playtime should be limited. Just as with children, too much pushing and shoving can ‘end in tears’. It would be different if they were both puppies of a similar age and size when they would be learning bite inhibition and give and take, and would both have matching stamina.

This scenario simply means the puppy is learning to become very excitable like Lola – and rough.

A while ago I went to a puppy that had started to show aggression to the family due to the relentless rough play with the older dog, so I am glad they have nipped this in the bud.

The more excitement and stress Lola is under generally, the more she barks! Telling a dog to ‘shut up’ when a dog is barking may temporarily quieten it (perhaps!) but does nothing to address the dog’s emotions which are causing it all.

A great deal of time and patience will be needed.

At a quiet time when the puppy is asleep and the young boys at school, the lady can sit in the garden with Lola and start teaching her to cope with all the sounds, birds, bees and so on. She will teach Lola to be quiet using food. As soon as she alerts and before she barks, the lady will ‘mark’ the quiet behaviour with a special sound and food.

When barking does break out, they won’t scold. They will deal with it in a similar way as they would if one of their little boys started to shout in panic – by helping her out – by showing her that alarm is not necessary because they are there to protect her, and by helping her learn self-control.

All the stressful things in Lola’s days stack up to make her so extremely reactive, so the calmer they can keep her in general the better. This is not easy with two young boys, visiting children – and puppy Stanley!

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Lola, which is why I don’t go into all exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dogs can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dogs (see my Get Help page).