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Mwelsh03 08-04-2014 07:17 PM

When is puppy play too much?
So my wife and I finally got a second dog. He's great so far and he is already displaying signs of being very intelligent. I have one issue, my 15 month old gsd will not leave the puppy alone.

When I say he won't leave him alone, I mean he will literally put the puppies head in his mouth and force him to the ground any chance he gets. How do I know when their play is getting to be too much? There are rarely any growls, but the puppy does appear to get aggressive towards my older dog. He will eventually get angry, or so it seems, and start biting hard. I don't think it's hard enough to hurt the older dog, but it seems pretty vicious to me. When he misses I can literally hear his jaws snap.

Will the older dog let him know when the puppy is playing/biting too hard? He hasn't yet and I'm not sure he has it in him to tell the puppy when to stop. Is biting, pawing, aggressive behavior normal for two dogs playing together? Keep in mind, whenever the puppy is out of his pen, all they do is fight/play like this. They never have a moment when they are nice/civilized to each other.

I am really just looking for a place to draw the line or if I need to draw a line at all.

Thanks for the input in advance.

MichaelE 08-04-2014 07:26 PM

Your older dog will draw the line, and will correct the pup when he crosses it.

Mwelsh03 08-04-2014 07:29 PM

That's what I'm afraid of. I don't really want him to hurt the puppy. How exactly will he draw the line? I am just looking for any signs to let me know when to step in.

MichaelE 08-04-2014 07:47 PM

Very young, and young pups often get a pass from older dogs who would not put up with that behavior from adult dogs.

They know. And they will teach the pups. Don't worry about them hurting or injuring the pups.

SuperG 08-04-2014 07:57 PM

I vote the same....the older dog is giving the pup a free pass of sorts...however..a day of reckoning looms on the horizon for the young pup.

However, if you feel the need to be a moderator of sorts...nothing wrong with that BUT...the older dog will do what you might be trying to do in 1/1000 of the time. There also might be a happy compromise between you leading the way along with some reinforcement from your older dog.

Let us know how it unfolds......


Cassidy's Mom 08-04-2014 08:05 PM

Personally, I'd err on the side of caution and step in when things look to be getting out of hand. This may or may not escalate into a big problem down the road, you never know. It could be the the puppy is just testing his boundaries with your other dog, who will let him know when he's gone too far, and the puppy will respect those warnings. BUT, on the off chance that things won't go so smoothly, I'd not let the puppy pester the other dog to the point where he's grabbing him by the head and forcing him to the ground.

The fact that the puppy is coming back so hard in response might mean that he's feeling defensive, which could end up being a nasty fight at some point in the next few months if one of them decides not to back down. My dogs play very rough and it's really loud. To an outsider it might look like they're trying to kill each other, but I can tell that they're both having fun and it's pretty mutual. Once in a while there's a tone to their play that tells me somebody is getting mad, perhaps because the other was just a bit too rough, and that's when I tell them to knock it off.

I was much more pro-active about supervising their play when one was full grown and the other was a young puppy. I'd interrupt for some OB exercises for treats, like sit or down and watch me, etc., and then I'd release them back to play again. Keefer was actually pretty bad about trying to play with Halo the same way he did with Dena, who was his half sister. She was nearly a year older and under 10 pounds less than him, so they were very evenly matched. Halo was a tough little snot :wub: but she was only 14 pounds when she came home at 10 weeks old, so I was on him a lot to get him to play more gently until she was older and bigger.

Mwelsh03 08-04-2014 08:21 PM

Yea that's what I am struggling with. It seems like my 100 pound gsd is bullying the young dog to the point he gets defensive sometimes and bites back hard. The pup hasn't bit him hard enough yet to tick him off, so maybe they are just playing rough right now?

Cassidy's Mom 08-04-2014 08:33 PM


Originally Posted by Mwelsh03 (Post 5864898)
Yea that's what I am struggling with. It seems like my 100 pound gsd is bullying the young dog to the point he gets defensive sometimes and bites back hard.

This would concern me. Others have mentioned the "puppy pass" - at some point that will expire, and things your other dog allowed the puppy to get away with will come to a complete stop and he won't put up with that crap anymore. Ideally, your older dog will warn the puppy, the puppy will back off immediately, and they'll come to an agreement about what kind of play they enjoy together. But like I said, it might not go that way.

What I don't want to have happen in my house is for my puppy to feel like she has to take matters into her own hands (er...paws? :)). I want my puppy to know that if my other dog is playing too rough, *I* will protect her, she doesn't have to defend herself. That's why I like to interrupt play every so often while everyone is still having fun. I also want them to not be so into each other that they won't stop whatever they're doing and pay attention to me when I need them to. If they blew me off, I'd put them each in their crate for a brief timeout.

So far, it's worked well. If they start getting too rough and I think one of them is starting to not be having as much fun as the other one, I can say "HEY, do you want a timeout?!?!?!" and they'll usually stop what they're doing and look at me. :D

Mwelsh03 08-04-2014 08:33 PM

Here's a video of them playing. Too much or perfectly normal?

Gsd and puppy - YouTube

MichaelE 08-04-2014 08:53 PM

Perfectly normal. Your adult Shepherd has her mouth all the way open, has not closed it on the smaller pup, and is not being aggressive.

And yes, the 'puppy pass' will expire. That's when your dog better have a clue by then or she will be taught the hard way. That's nature.

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