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Hello All,

we have had Poppet for about a month now and she has grown from 30lbs to 40lbs, she's now four months. She is a delight. Generally well-behaved and receptive to training and praise. We're going with the positive reinforcement approach (as much as possible when she keeps biting my fingers, hands and ankles!!!!). She's okay with strangers, and great with the kids. All's good.

Our problem is integrating Poppet with Max, a 3 yr old Peekapoo, who weighs 13 lbs. Watching their behaviour, Max is the dominant one, and dislikes Poppet intensely. He growls whenever she comes near, and has started going for her.

Poppet, is totally unfazed by this, and tries to play with Max at any given opportunity. She will crouch down in front of him for 10 minutes if we let her, bounding around in circles to try and get him to play.

The idea of letting him teach her when it is okay to play and when not, and the idea of letting them sort it out on their own is all well and good, but she is 4 times his size. He'll snap at her. She'll yelp and pull back, and two minutes later she has forgotten and will walk over and literally close her mouth over the back of his entire head. Always in a playful way, and other dogs seem to be okay with it when she does it to them, but Max, as the Alpha and historic only dog - goes mental!!!

Having the two of them fight all the time is getting tiresome.

We've tried squirting them with water. Max recognizes the water and shies away from it now, but Poppet just shakes herself dry and carries on with Max.

We've tried separating Max as the 'bad behavior' for being aggressive towards her, but that doesn't seem to have any effect other than to make Max sad.

Poppet keeps trying to play with him. And Max keeps attacking her for it.

Any tips??
 

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to the board. I'm sure some of the more experienced people on here can help you with the issues between Max and Poppet. Good Luck!
 

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I bet Max didn't send you an e-mail telling you he wanted another dog in his house to compete for attention.

Now don't take this with wrong way... As the "only" dog before your GSD came along, I would spend time with Max so YOU are the ALPHA Leader and not Max. Basic obedience work on leash, walking with NO pulling right by your side, keeping him on leash and correcting his behavior when not appropiate with Poppet. Using some of Cesar Millan's methods he teaches owners with little dogs to become leaders of their pack.

Your right as Poppet gets bigger it could get really ugly in a heart beat if she becomes reactive to his bossy behavior with such a size difference. I would suggest you consult a professional trainer to work with you on this matter.
 

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hello, I dont have an answer to your problem, but wanted you to know I am having the same problem as well... our shepherd pup is 7-8 months old (rescue, we've had her about 3 weeks now) and she is around 60lbs... we also have a 5lb yorkie..... well, the shepherd is doing the same thing you describe, and the yorkie gets really mad and snaps at her, Mischa reads the warning wrong every time and things that means play, and I am afraid the yorkie is going to get hurt also, infact she has yelped a few times from Mischa being too rough.... I have reprimanded her many times for it and try to make her leave her alone, but the temptation is too great to play I guess..... so anyway, I would like to know an answer to this problem too!!
 

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There are absolutes here with my dogs (ranging from 35-67# and all different levels of "dominance"). Whether the dog is a puppy, an adult, or whatever, if there is an animal they can do damage to in play (or otherwise) they do not get to play with them or can only play with them in a way that I allow.

So for the cats-they are not allowed to harass or bother them. If they want to give them kisses, etc. fine. But that is an absolute and they know we are "nice to the kitties" as that is the phrase used to train it, or else they will be removed from the situation and not allowed to interact with them until they can behave.

For the dogs of different sizes, they must play with them appropriately. As soon as the smaller dog appears uncomfortable or annoyed (whether I think they should be or not) or I am not comfortable with the play, it stops.

Everyone understands this. It is very clear. Voice, eye contact, and controlling space get my point across.

Everyone here is also on some variation of NILIF (google it).

No small animal should have to be at the mercy of a large animal, regardless of how they respond. Period.

It will frustrate a puppy to have to learn those rules, so learning has to be done in small time increments. You do not want to create frustration, so you are going to have to keep them separated until both animals are under control. Expand that training over time. But separate until the puppies can execute the leave it command (a fun one to teach) immediately. Keeping the larger dogs on a leash, teaching them long downs (over time) and other ways to control their behavior will be something that will help them be successful at the vet office, in other public places, etc.

However, your small dogs, your first dogs, are the ones that you need to protect, regardless of how they are reacting. Of course they snap and defend themselves-you are not doing that for them, so they have to do it themselves.

Yes, maybe some extra training would be nice for them-but this is not small dog attitude-it's survival behavior for them. As the song says Gotta keep 'em separated.

Try that and let them develop a good relationship (instead of prey and predator or harasser and harassee) when the time is right.
 

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I brought a shepherd puppy into my house 16 months ago with my 11 year old westie. My shepherd was desparate to play and the westie did not want to - growled, snapped and lunged at my Shep -
who never growled back, backed off and then pushed the buttons again. I would stop this behaviour - from BOTH dogs. I would give the shepherd a time out and would verbally correct the westie as he was sensitive to tone of voice and that was always enough for him. Other then the times that the shep wanted to play they seemed to get along fine.

But, as the shepherd matured and because she is a dominant dog - the westies aggressiveness towards her became an issue in her mind and because I was ignorant of canine body language I didn't recognize what was happening.

The shepherd was crated at night and when alone the westie was not - but the door was always closed to the room where the shep was so that the westie couldn't tease her. When one dog went out they both did.

A month ago I went outside to garden, the shepherd was inside watching me. She was in heat so I couldn't let her loose outside with me - no fences. Whatever aggressive action the terrier made, the shepherd decided to correct him and put him in his place. Because of his size this correction caused enough damage that I had to put the westie to sleep. The shepherd spent most of a week looking for him - she had no idea that her correction was enough to be fatal. It wasn't an attack on the dog - I was in the house in a heartbeat and pulled her muzzle off the small dog. She did not try to bite me nor did she go back after the westie - as far as she was concerned she was correcting his aggressive behaviour and it was over.

I am posting this as I want you to find out all that you can on how to integrate your dogs. I know that it can be done and what happened in my case could have been avoided if I had known how to correct them from the beginning and if I had maybe recognized some body language that may have been going on during that day or days before it happened. I had also brought in a new pup - so that my shep would have someone to play with - but they never play and didn't play unsupervised so the pup was not there when this happened.

1. If your dog has a dominant attitude then you must make sure that he/she knows that you are the leader. I know now some of the areas where I didn't show my shep that. She know obedience and knows to a point - but it must be absolute.
2. learn canine body language and catch issues before they start.
 

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i'm so sorry to hear of this; i feel your loss; this is why i let my gsd pup around the small dogs; i have minpins ranging from 8-20 lbs, from very young to one that i just lost who was 19.5 yo; i've always allowed them to play w/one another and always allowed the smaller dogs to put the large gsd pups (and adult rescues) in their places; i think this teaches the pups to respect other dogs; i've NEVER had a serious injury and i think it's because as pups the other dogs teach them respect; this is exactly what happens in the wild;

right now i've got a 10 mos old gsd pup; he's a roughneck and that's fine w/the other gsds but last evening he got a nip from a 10 yo min pin and he's been much better behaved since; he's learned what he can/can't do w/this older dog and he's respecting the pin's boundaries; this pup also has a couple of small scars from getting nipped by the alpha male (a 10-11 yo mal) b/c the pup consistently ignored the mal's warning postures and growls; the mal nailed him and i'm ok w/that the pup clearly crossed boundaries, was warned and ignored; he learned there's a consequence; he's much more respectful of the mal now;

as a puppy, they're more apt to learn manners and less apt to cause an injury b/c of dominance or aggression, then when they're older, they've already learned respect and get along better; i've mixed very small dogs w/large and x-lg (great danes) dogs for some 15 yrs and this has always worked for me; BUT i do supervise b/c a large puppy can injure a small pin very easily just b/c of the size difference

imho, separating them and not allowing them the chance to be dogs and work things out sets up a dangerous situation that can result in serious injury/death
 

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Re: Shepherd Puppy - Small 3yr dog - how to integr

I think you are setting up a very dangerous precedent, Ellen. One day you may have a situation that escalates into a fight where someone really gets hurt. The fact that you've got a puppy with scars concerns me. There is NO fighting allowed in MY house, ever. Dogs can warn another dog off through posture and vocalization but beyond that I step in immediately and when I bark, they listen.

Working things out could result in serious injury. Should you have a larger dog whose puppy stupidity gets the better of them or an adult who issues an unduly harsh physical correction (such as one that leaves scars on a puppy) then you are putting your dogs in danger.

I have never had to separate but if I've got a teeny dog with frail bones or a puppy then I've got the bigger dog on a leash and I'm watching them like a hawk until everyone can learn to respect one another. I have had gsds that played very well with smaller dogs and others that didn't play as well. Those small dogs can be seriously injured in a matter of seconds. It's not worth taking the chance.

Keep the larger dog leashed and the smaller dog under control (leashed if necessary) until both are comfortable. Use positive reinforcement for ANY behavior that's good like ignoring each other. Start out slowly. Take them for walks first and then bring them together in the same space once they are ignoring each other.
 

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Re: Shepherd Puppy - Small 3yr dog - how to integr

I sympathise with Cameo and acknowledge that our own situation could have resulted in the same outcome and for the same reasons. Buddy (our adopted Matlese mix) was very dominant in his first home and has a bite history. He tried to be dominant in ours but was soon put in his place wih NILF. But, as he is also very clingy, he tends to get under peoples feet where he is likely to be stepped on by visitors. If that happens he will lunge as if to bite but does not connect - it is very subtle but I (and Quynne) notice.

He was very dominant towards Quynne from the start but, when he bit Quynne when she was 2yo (on the same elbow where elbow dysplasia has now been diagnosed- and until then they were "best friends"), that was the first instance when she retaliated. That seemed to solve the problem for a year but there have been other incidences since she turned 3yo where Quynne has corrected Buddy's behaviour when (if we had been more aware) would not have been necessary. Now they are securely separated as I do believe Quynne would kill Buddy (even accidently) if she got the opportunity.

There is no way I would risk this happening again and it is not hard to manage if everyone in the household is willing to implement some very simple procedures - however mistakes can occur and that needs to be acknowledged.

Small dogs and big dogs together are wonderful when it works and there are many incidences where it does work ........... but when it doesn't the consequences can be dire.
 

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Re: Shepherd Puppy - Small 3yr dog - how to integr

It doesn't mean that the correction is meant to be fatal either.
But a small dog cannot withstand much of a correction. I practice and have practiced NILF with Shayla. She doesn't eat until I say OKAY, she goes out the door after me, she sits or down for a treat or the throw of a ball. But Sammy's aggressive attitude towards her - maybe because it was the beginning of her heat or whatever - finally forced in her mind the need for a correction. If he had been a bigger dog then it would have been different.

But I have learned unfortunately in a painful way that I need to understand more about canine body language and maybe if I had understood more I could have read signs that may have been there.

Read, ask questions and don't put your dogs or yourself into a position that could have dire consequences. It is not easy to deal with and although I know Shayla wasn't "attacking" per se my dog -it has been hard to forgive her and to deal with my westie dying in pain.
 

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Re: Shepherd Puppy - Small 3yr dog - how to integr

All very valid points, Cameo.

Please also accept my sincere sympathy on the very sad loss of Sammy. RIP Sammy ......
 

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Re: Shepherd Puppy - Small 3yr dog - how to integr

I've just been through this situation with integrating my GSD pup into the household with an 11 year old Weimaraner, 3 year old Lab, 2 year old Min Pin and bringing in a Vizsla pup 2 months after the GSD pup.

The Weimaraner is very old and had no interest whatsoever in the pups. He stayed away from them, and they stay away from him because he has no interest whatsoever in playing. That was easy.

The Lab loves to play and is not aggressive at all so he welcomed the puppies and loved having the young ones around to play with. That was easy.

The Min Pin, however, was a different story. He was the one that I had to watch closely and make sure that he wouldn't attempt to bite the pups. For the first few weeks I wouldn't leave him alone with the pups. After the GSD pup was 3 mos. old he started to chase the Min Pin. I did not tolerate that and kept them separated so that the GSD wouldn't hurt the Min Pin. He wasn't aggressive towards him, he just liked to "stalk" him and then liked to pounce on him as a puppy play gesture. Since my Min Pin weighs all of 6 lbs. it could kill him. This continued for a few months and when I brought the Min Pin outside once the GSD started the "game" I picked the Min Pin up and I wouldn't let the GSD chase him. By the time the GSD turned 5 mos. old they stopped the fuss and now peacefully co-exist. It took a few months to settle this but at least we have a good situation with all of them now.

Hope this helps.

Good luck.
 

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From personal experience; terriers and GSD's, seldom if ever a good mix.

I suppose the two different breeds can be integrated. As for a Eleven year old Westie and a new pup. I cannot imagine them ever getting along.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks veyr much for the insight, and sorry to hear of the tragic experiences.

We've gone for the safe middle ground. We were definitely failing to protect Max (peekapoo) enough when Popet (GSD) was around, so we have made that our first priority, making sure he eats first and alone, without hassle, separating themlways if we are not around, making sure Poppet does not harass Max.

We have also started to punish Max when he is being unreasonably aggressive towards her. If we're having a group hug, or a cuddle session, or just getting ready top go out the door, if Poppet gets too close to Max, he starts to growl and will even snap at her. As soon as he starts to growl we'll scold him, and spray him with a water stream.

So to sum up - we're stopping Poppet from harassing Max, and we are stopping Max from being aggressive towards her.

It is already showing results, and occassionally (i.e., in the back fo the car) they have even been known to sleep on each other, until they realize what is going on of course ... ;-)

Thanks for all the advice, I think we're on a good track!!
 

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My 5 pound Brussels Griffon is not always delighted with my 75 pound 7 mnth old shepherd.

For now the GSD always listens to the little dog but as he matures I realize this might change. I never let the little dog overly correct the pup and likewise I never let the shepherd rough house with the little dog unsupervised.

When they do play it is when the Griffon initiates and it is so so cute to watch. I am amazed how gentle the shepherd can be. Not when pkaying with ne or my boxer but he does have it in him.

Stoll I worry those big feet of his will hurt the little dog on accident. I can tell it is often a worry for the little dog as well.

Good luck.
Unfortuneately no easy answers.
 

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Originally Posted By: Timber1From personal experience; terriers and GSD's, seldom if ever a good mix.

I suppose the two different breeds can be integrated. As for a Eleven year old Westie and a new pup. I cannot imagine them ever getting along."


My westie grew up with my first shepherd and they were best friends. Never very far from each other. Snickers was not as dominant a dog as Shayla though and
of course the westie was two years younger then Snickers.
She taught Sammy everything and he even marked her as
HIS terrirtory - he pee'd on her hips when she squatted and it
took me some time to figure out that he was 'marking' her or
protecting her by covering up her urine scent with his. He slept
curled up by her stomach and the cat (not the present one) would
sleep curled up in his.
 
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