My fiance obtained a stray puppy in December. We believe she is a pitbull bred for fighting, given her appearance and the area where she was found. My first thought was how wonderful it was Lupa and I were staying with him that month, as Lupa would be the perfect candidate to teach canine manners; she'd teach her not take a growling dog's food, it's rude to take toys a dog is using, not all dogs like to play at all times, etc. She could teach these things very well, as she communicates her grievances to puppies without biting. I've seen many dogs misinterpret communication signals and I felt confident this wouldn't happen with this puppy.
Lupa tends to treat puppies the same way she does cats; she chases them and whines at them and pushes them around with her muzzle, knocking them over, helping them back up, trying to use them as a pillow and generally being a doting nuisance. She treated Banshee the same way at first.
Day 1- Banshee, about the size of 2 of Lupa's paws at the time, starts eating Lupa's food. Lupa, as expected, starts to show her fangs. This has no effect, so she shows more teeth. Banshee climbs into Lupa's food bowl and starts chowing down. I mean, this dog is all paws into the bowl, oblivious to everything but her voracious appetite. Lupa shows all of her teeth with an open mouth. She starts growling. No effect. Lupa touches her bared teeth to puppy's neck. Surely a bite would come soon. She looked at me. I swear the look said, "This has never happened before! Why didn't she get the first hint like everyone else?" Then Lupa completely relaxed and backed off her bowl an inch or two.
We'd only had Banshee 3 days when I had to take both dogs to my place, which already has a Chesapeake and a Springer. I had Lupa and Banshee in my room when the Springer came in. He'd just turned a year old and is still an intact male.
The springer was very playful with Banshee and freaked her out a little as he is much bigger than she. Banshee would go from trying to get away from him to trying to play with him. I think his large size and excessive energy confused her. The springer was excitedly sniffing Banshee when Lupa quickly hopped up and promptly got into his face, ears forward, teeth bared. Her jaws were just over Banshee's head to serve as a physical barrier between the two dogs. The Springer was removed from the room. Later, he came back in. Banshee decided to hide from him in a corner. He tried to approach her, but Lupa hopped between the 2 dogs and turned her head toward Banshee and her rear toward the adult male, creating as much distance between them as physically possible. She would lick the puppy and glance back at the other dog. She was relaxed, but purposeful. I'd heard of dogs doing this "tail to other dog" behavior as a way to say, "I am intentionally excluding you from my company," but I'd never seen it.
A friend who is familiar with her parents told me strong maternal instincts run in the family. It certainly seems to be the case.
1 German Shepherd (Lupa), 1 Cat (Hungry Joe), 1 Corn Snake (Caduceus), 1 Betta Fish (Quasimodo)