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Discussion Starter #1
This problem is now into 2 weeks old. I am at a loss to figure out the correct way to change the dynamics between my 2 dogs.

i have an elder rescue dog, about 45 pounds. she is getting close to 12 yrs now. annie, my gsd pup, is just at 6 1/2 months old and weighing in at a hefty 67 pounds. she is now bigger and stronger, but with all the usual personality traits of a small pup.

initially my senior dog was very agreeable to this pup. she played with her, slept on the floor with her, and generally was a very good big sister. the pup is highly driven, a ball of energy. she actually borders on goofy she is so playful. but she's big, not fat just big, and clumsy at times. just all around overpowering when in a highly amped up play mode.

the pup is constantly charging at my senior dog to play. sometimes the senior dog wants to play and often she just wants to wander around and be left alone. the senior would give a snap to warn annie she was not interested in playing. then at times a bark and a snap, followed by a retreat to her spot. seldom but on occasion, the senior has had to take more action such as putting this much bigger pup down and in a submissive position.

during these interactions, i keep hoping that the pup will start to pick up on the cues that the senior dog is not interested in playing. i intervene only to the point of making sure no one is being hurt or injured, but annie remains clueless to the fact that she should back off.

well, it has now ramped up in the past couple of weeks. a few times my senior dog has retreated to my bedroom for some peace and quiet ... only for annie to go bounding in behind her to play. 3 times in the past week, my senior has actually gone into full attack mode. 2 of those times she actually sunk her teeth in.

but this morning was the worst. i got up and immediately went to let the dogs outside as usual. the senior dog was already outside and had gone into the backyard as is her habit. i let the pup out of her crate and as soon as the front door was open, she took off like a shot for the backyard. i could tell by how fast she was going, she was looking for my senior dog. i grabbed my flip flops and headed out immediately but not fast enough. by the time i could get to the back, the fight had already happened ... my senior dog had the pup down, with her full mouth on that pup's head. i could tell as i approached she was as angry as i had ever seen her. as i got closer i could hear the growl and knew it was a warning to me. i reached for the senior dog's collar and pulled her off, but she was undeterred. she went right back at the pup. i grabbed the collar and pulled her off 2 more times before the senior came to her senses and realized she had to stop the attack.

so now i have 2 problems and hopefully try to address them at the same time. i have got to let my senior know that she can not attack this pup. and at the same time, i have got to get this pup to read the signals that have clearly been sent to her from the senior dog.

i am at a loss.
 

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Keep the puppy from annoying the senior dog. Her puppy license has expired.
Some separation would work very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks sunflower, but i need more info. separating them will not be a problem. but at some point they have to come back together and live as a unit.

currently they will walk together peacefully. they eat in the same room without problems. the pup has been instructed to wait before approaching the water dish if my senior dog is there. the pup sleeps in a crate at night or when i leave the house.

but how do i help the pup clue into the cues the senior dog is clearly sending? does it come in time? or do i wait it out until the pup is more mature?
 

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IMO I would separate them before things get to rough, meaning if your puppy trys to play and your other dog just isn't having it try putting the younger dog in its kennel until its calmed down. If you take her back out and she is the same way put her back in the kennel and try the exercise again. Its all about teaching them how to play and when enough is enough. The puppy is at a stage where I have read they really start to challenge the rules. I know its seems like a pain to go back and fourth to the kennel but hopefully it will help. Hopefully your puppy will learn that if she plays too rough she goes in her kennel and doesn't get to have any fun. I once heard my trainer giving this advice to someone having a similar problem and it really worked for them!

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The puppy needs to grow up and that takes time.

Keep the puppy leashed with you holding the leash at all times. She will become your "ball and chain", you go everywhere together. Dont let her loose in the yard or house to traumatize the senior. Dont let her box or jump on senior when she wanders by.

When you are sick of dragging her around or its time to let her run free..put the senior in a crate or room and let puppy off leash.

Put puppy in crate to give yourself and senior a break. When puppy is tired you can give her some off leash time with senior while you are supervising. Be vigilant and step in before things escalate.

It will take time. Hope this helps
 

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I agree with Sunflowers, if the puppy isn't listening to the other dog's cues then you need to step in as the boss

If the senior is giving signals then step in and seperate right away, give the senior a break in the bedroom if needed. Once she realizes that you WILL protect her from the pup then she should calm down. If the senior is giving the puppy the stink eye or reacting while the puppy isn't doing anything, correct the senior.

Work on the puppy's "leave it" or "off" command which will allow you to control her from a distance, you will probably need to start with it onleash so you can enforce it.

Both dogs need to learn the rules, just like humans you don't have to like the other person but you have to tolerate them. Keep both dogs on the same level, both have expectations of behaviour and whichever one misbehaves gets corrected.

Some dogs just don't get along, my poodle tolerates my GSD but they're not left alone even though Delgado's no longer really a puppy. With the poodle being much smaller I can't chance a fight as the consequences could easily be deadly. Both dogs are crated when noone is home and will continue to be for the foreseeable future
 

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Discussion Starter #7
although i spend vast amounts of time trying to keep the pup working off her energy, i have to admit i probably don't use the crate to its full advantage. i don't generally use it as a time out very often. mostly when i want to get in the shower or doing a task that requires my full attention, like vacuuming.

i think i will be a lil more proactive to watch for those times when the pup is most full of energy ... like when she is out of the crate first thing in the morning and ready for a new day. her "ready for a new day" and the seniors new day aren't even on the same scale at the moment.

i think i wasn't prepared for this at all. i have owned 3 dogs (large powerful breeds) at the same time in the past, and all without problems. everyone seemed to respect the space of the other. at present, this pup is totally void of that understanding.
 

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I understand where you are coming from. I am dreading the same thing as I currently have a 13 year old shih tzu (13 lbs) and will be bringing home a puppy in 5 weeks. However, my senior man has earned the right to enjoy his home and not just be a plaything for a rambunctious puppy. I know that he isn't going to want to play with the pup, he only wants to play with his babies (stuffed animals) or balls. It will be up to me to be the puppy's entertainment and the referee for my old man. It's my puppy to deal with .. not him!

It wlil be my job to teach him to respect and give space to my senior and my Persian cat (she may end up wanting to play, under my supervision of course .. she tries to get my old man to play but he's having none of it).
 

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German shepherds dont really seem to have a concept of personal space..lol.

My 14 month old takes great delight in treating my collie like a bowling ball. Max, (gsd) wears a long line when he is feeling rowdy and he gets an "OFF",and a snap of the long line, if he tries to jump the collie. I quickly try to then get Max playing with a ball or toy, so he learns that he can have fun in other ways too!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
i am at least thankful at this moment, that my senior dog is no doubt the ranking dog in the household. if this pup were not submissive to the senior, this would be really bad. my senior might be smaller and over 20 lighter ... but she does all she can to just let the pup know she is not interested. it is the pup that will not just back off and give breathing space.

on the other hand, i don't think i realized how much i had to assure the senior that she would be protected from this rambunctious ball of energy. as ignorant as it might sound, i thought that surely the pup knows dog language better than me and would quickly learn the cues that her attention was not wanted.

ok ... i have some work to do ....
 

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I agree that you need to take over the situation and protect your senior. It also sounds like your younger dog needs more training and structure and another outlet for her energy, especially if she sees your senior dog as the outlet for her energy.

I had this same dynamic and although I did use to give my senior cat and dog time with me without a crazy young dog around and walked and trained my young dog separately, there were still a couple of incidents where the younger dog accidentally was too rough with the older dog and chased the cat. Both of my older animals ended up pretty depressed and so I divided the household during the time I was home. :(

You may have to keep them separated forever but hopefully that won't be the case. I would be sure to schedule activities separately that they both enjoy (hiking, trips to fun places to walk and play, training classes for the youngster, etc.) and also down time in the house, just with you.

Also, do you have your older dog on supplements for arthritis? I would suspect she might be protecting herself physically from getting hurt...
 

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I think the only option you have is the same option I had - you have to be the sole source of entertainment and activity for your puppy to the point that other dog is boring in comparison. My DH's dog won't tolerate my puppy's demands and I don't expect her to. I do expect her not to attack, but I don't put her in a position where she feels she needs to. They never play together although they're always free in the house together. If my puppy gets rambunctious, that's my cue to get outside and burn off some energy, but I don't usually wait that long, lol.
 

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These are 2 females? sounds like they are just gonna hate each other more and more from now on. Your gsd is going to get stronger and stronger. For now shes play bullying but it will change. Your gsd is going to be the alpha soon. She seems full of herself at only 6 months lol
 

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Not an expert, but I do have a multi dog pack ranging from teen to senior, and went through some dominance challenges in the beginning. It was a learning experience for me!

I don't tolerate it at all. I understand there's a "the dogs will sort it out mentality" out there, but as far as I'm concerned, there is only one alpha in my house. Everything in this house belongs to ME. I own all the toys, all the meat, all the furniture, all the dog beds, and mostly importantly, I own all the Dogs. They are my property and they are expected to respect my property.

When Jack started acting out, I started a crate rotation and leash schedule. He was not allowed to move freely at all through my house, and he had his playtime alone outdoors with me. He really had to work and prove to me he could be trusted to control himself and follow my rules before I gave him any opportunity to make another mistake. It was a gradual reintroduction process, done on my terms.

They all get along fine now, and he leaves my senior alone... But if she ambles into his path and cant move away quickly enough before he bowls through her to get a ball or something, he will get an immediate correction from me. OTOH, if i see that she's intentionally interjecting herself, she's the one who will get sent to her place for a minute. My house, my property, my rules ?




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Discussion Starter #16
all responses were gratefully accepted and i am on my way to some changes. i have been able to create a barrier at an archway in my house. i can easily confine dogs separately when needed and each have tons of space. i do this for myself as well as them. now i can do my chores without having to be on guard duty.

i have also started using my crate for "reset" time. it has worked like a charm. not just for protecting the senior dog, but with training as well. if the pup is refusing to submit to directions that i know she has learned, she gets a quick time out to bring her back to reality. i had stopped putting the pup in her crate for most of the day. now we train and play outside, she comes in for some water, and then a quiet nap with the crate covered for about an hour. i can't even describe the peace it has brought to my house.

i have made intentional moves to sit and spend time with my senior dog in front of the pup. i want everyone to get a clear understanding that i decide who is or is not in my pack. again, it's amazing how well it has worked.

and one last thing i did, and this might sound lazy ... but i was unaware of my own actions. i do not just give an order verbally if i think the situation is going too tense. if i was at my laptop or perhaps cooking, i would try to verbally stop the situation .... now i stop what i am doing, move in close, putting myself between them and looking all "authority figure" on them. much more effective.

thank you all for helping me clear my head in order to wrap my brain around this. i was truly overwhelmed
 
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