Poor little Lhasa Apso Max is scared of the new puppy. He is a great little dog with a wonderful temperament, but for four years he has been a much-loved Only Dog.
Things have already come a long way in the couple of days since they brought Frenchie puppy Brie home. Max’ first reaction was to growl in a defensive manner. He then ran away and hid. His family had assumed he would love her because generally he’s very happy with other dogs.
Scared of the new puppy.
She is tiny and adorable but Max doesn’t think so. She is a big challenge to him. I’m sure he feels threatened.
At my suggestion over the phone, they immediately bought a puppy pen. I managed to go and see them the next day.
When I arrived, the friendly Max came into the sitting room where we all were and where the puppy pen was. He sidled along the wall, as far away from the puppy as he could be, avoiding looking at her. He had been staying by himself out in the hall.
As soon as I got to their house I began to work on Max. To start with Brie was asleep, a little brown velvety bundle, so less threatening to Max. Each time he looked towards the pen, from a distance, I threw him food.
Gradually he moved nearer. He was bit by bit becoming a little less scared of the new puppy.
We carried on talking about the best strategies, how best to deal with a puppy who cries when left alone at night and so on.
Then Brie woke up.
The man picked her up and took her outside before popping her back in her pen.
Fortunately she seems quite a calm and quiet puppy – so far! Bit by bit Max, while we paired food with Brie, was getting braver until the lady, with one hand over the pen from where she was sitting in her chair, fussed Brie as Max watched.
As she did so, every time Max looked at the puppy, she said “Yes” and dropped him a bit of food.
I took a short video of the lady in action. She quickly showed Max that barking at her doesn’t get the food but – immediately afterwards looking at Brie does!
They couldn’t believe how far he had come in a couple of hours. Bit by bit he’s becoming less scared of the new puppy. It demonstrates the power of food – off balancing out something the dog really doesn’t like with something he loves.
They can now build a situation where Brie is, almost literally, the best thing since sliced bread! They can do this by by associating Brie with special food he doesn’t get at other times.
A stitch in time….
They mustn’t be tempted to push ahead too fast. They can soon leave the pen door open. The step is too high for Brie to come out, but Max will be able to go in – if and when he chooses, supervised of course. Her toys will tempt him soon, I’m sure!
Direct approach by Brie will be Max’ biggest challenge, so for now they should prevent that. As he relaxes, he can approach Brie but not visa versa.
Puppy nights are disturbed, but it won’t last forever. I believe that it’s so much better to have a secure and happy puppy, gradually weaning her away from constant company, than an insecure puppy who cries for hours and then may become afraid of being left.
The next day:
‘Max – he’s doing really well. He’s been up to her pen a few times today and sniffed and I’ve fed them at the same time near (ish) each other and he’s eaten. He’s also come outside by choice when Brie has been outside so going in the right direction’.
It will be no time at that Max is no longer scared of the new puppy and their problem will be the two dogs rioting around the house!