Dog attacks puppy? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Dog attacks puppy?

Ever since I got my now 4 month old golden Piper, my 7 year old Shetland sheepdog has shown aggression towards her. Sometimes it seems he wants to play with her and will have his tail up and run next to her. The second she gets too close or jumps on him, he snarls and tries to bite her and at this point I usually pull her away. Sometimes after I separate them he continues to try to go after her and bite her. Yesterday, I let Piper outside off leash because I didn't know the sheltie was outside, and she ran up to him and he snarled and pinned her down. I don't believe he bit her. How do I handle their interactions? Should I let her off leash and let them sort it out themselves (which I am scared to do)? I know puppies should be corrected by older dogs but seeing the way he keeps trying it go back to bite her after separated worries me that he is not only correcting. Any ideas on how to get them to get along?I keep them separated pretty much all the time for fear she will get hurt. He also seems territorial over certain areas of the house, and snarls at her when they are both in my bedroom or the bathroom my older dog likes to stay in. I know part of the problem is her jumping on him, so any ideas on teaching her not to do that would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 09:56 AM
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I've always let our dogs sort it out themselves, under my supervision, and it's always worked itself out. We've introduced three puppies over the last 15 years, and while the early months have sometimes been difficult, we've never had a long-term problem. We've successively had two females, a male and a female, and now two males.

I would say the most important thing is to support the resident (older) dog. The last time we introduced a puppy, our resident dog - a 10 lb. toy poodle with a 75 lb. attitude - was not a happy camper (that is a gross understatement). It was two or three months before they were able to share a space (i.e. be in the same room) without him snarling and growling at the puppy. We made sure they were separated at meal times, and reinforced the poodle's position as the resident dog. The puppy soon learned not to jump on the poodle - the poodle made sure of that! After a month or two, they could play together outside, and occasionally inside. By the time the pup was 6 months old, they were friends. However, it was a very long time before the poodle would allow the puppy into "his" (my daughter's) room - any attempt by the puppy to get in the room would result in an attack. We simply kept the puppy out of that particular room, so the poodle would have his own space.

Fast-forward a year: they are inseparable. They share a cushion under my desk while I'm working. The puppy (now an 18-month-old, 50 lb. golden retriever) is allowed in my daughter's room, and on her bed, at the same time as the poodle. They can even share food from the same bowl. We didn't do much to achieve this, except let them sort things out themselves, and reinforce the poodle's position. I think we only intervened once, in the very early days, for a totally unprovoked attack by the poodle, and even then, it was only a verbal correction ("hey, cut it out!").

It's really hard to give advice on your particular situation without seeing the dogs together. From your description, it sounds like your sheltie is trying to educate your pup not to jump on him, and if that's the case, he's entitled to do that. Your golden is going to be much bigger than the sheltie, so it's important for her to learn respect, otherwise the sheltie is going to get hurt one of these days. If he's not biting the pup, I would tend to let them sort it out between them. He'll teach her not to jump on him: it's his job to do that, not yours.

If you're really worried, however, the best thing would be to call in a trainer who can watch them when they're together and advise you accordingly.

Good luck!


Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 10:37 AM
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I agree with ceegee on this one.. I have done the same thing for many years. I have a 6 lb chihuahua that literally hung on the golden's lip. I was careful because he is so small but just observed. Now they snuggle together and the golden (15 months) lays down to play with the chi.
The resident senior is trying to establish boundaries and apply discipline and you are sort of getting in the way. Let them work it out before the pup gets any larger. Doesn't sound like the sheltie is going after the pup, just establishing his personal space with the new kid.
If there is true aggression towards the pup you need to consult a trainer.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice! I tried that this morning, and just let go of her leash while she was with the sheltie. She got excited and jumped on him, and he either pinned her down or she just went on her side, and he bit her. She started to yelp, so I separated them. After that, she did not jump on him again. They were able to walk around the house and pass by each other with no problems. Thank you for your help!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 09:51 PM
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We have introduced 5 dogs to the family as older ones get on in years, in every case they have "corrected" new pups behavior, maybe some snarling and pinning down, but after a while they always become great pals. Dogs seem to have a way of sorting things once they realize the new kid is really a permanent part of the "pack". Supervise them so one doesn't really get injured, but they will become friends after a while.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 09:34 PM
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When we brought our 8 week old golden, Luna home, we supervised the introduction to our resident 7 yo. jack russell, Phoenix and bil's 6 yo. toy poodle, Dau. We knew that Phoenix would be boss due to his personality. We never left them unsupervised. Luna learned her place when she ran in front of Phoenix when my son sat down with food.

The only time it got scary was recently when Dau crossed Phoenix, who pinned her but didn't hurt her but Luna joined in, grabbed Dau and started to shake her. I managed to free Dau when my older daughter grabbed Phoenix and my son grabbed Luna. I believe Luna broke the skin on Dau's leg as I had blood on my hands when I took Dau outside to calm her. We know that Luna was following Phoenix's lead but due to her size, did draw blood. We now watch the girls' interactions more closely.

They need to establish hierarchy and will co-exist once that is done. There will be times when one needs to remind the other(s) but its back to business as usual afterwards.
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