Puppy dominating Older Dog - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy dominating Older Dog

Hi came across the forum while searching for a solution to a problem I am having with new female puppy Luna,

We got her when she was 11 weeks old and she was quite tiny only 8lbs as she was the smallest (half the weight) of her 6 other siblings. She is now 18 weeks old and now weighs 17 lbs and eating the recommended amount of food for her age. As she is so small and its winter time, she sleeps in the house still and we are waiting until maybe end of March when the weather should be milder and she much bigger before we let her sleep outdoors with Oscar our other dog.

Oscar is a 7 yr old male Golden retriever who we have since he was an 8 week old pup. The most placid friendly natured dog I have ever known and because of this we were sure that introducing a pup to the home should not be too difficult for him.
Oscar sleeps outdoors in his kennel but would spend the evenings rolled up on an old large rug in the kitchen with one or more members of the family and then brought out to his kennel when we are going to bed. He only ever sleeps indoors when the weather is very cold or very wet. he gets walks in the morning and every evening and is usually only alone during the day for 2 and half hours every afternoon when there is no one home.

We introduced Luna very gradually to Oscar, initially letting them mix in the evening times when Oscar was in the house and for small sessions out the back during the day time where Oscar normally is during the day and where his kennel is. At all times and still now we kept giving Oscar loads of attention and always him first for feeding and patting etc. There were only 2 incidents of Oscar growling aggressively at Luna, which both happened during the 2nd week where Luna was jumping all over Oscar, while he was lying on the rug and each time Oscar growled, Luna left him alone.

The sessions outside increased and we felt we could leave them alone unsupervised for longer periods during the day, but still checking every half hour or so to make sure they were ok. However what we are noticing these past 2 weeks is Luna biting the hair of Oscars tail quite a lot and also from his hind area. So much so that Oscars tail is only half as bushy as it was before the pup came. She also seems to boss him out of his kennel and when she is biting his hair and jumping all over him, Oscar really does not try hard enough to stop her. We have found he is also eating his dog house which he hasnít done since he was a pup and just yesterday we seen that he managed to chew through a toy that he has had since a pup and we always considered it as Oscar proof.

We hoped that Oscar would be a help in teaching the pup good socialisation skills, but it appears to us that she is becoming dominant over Oscar and that is not happy about the new addition.

Thanks for reading through a long post and all advice on how to overcome this problem.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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couple of pictures of Oscar and Luna.
First is when they met for first time and second picture ist this evening
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 01:09 PM
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Sounds like Oscar is very stressed and not at all happy for the little sister. I don't really have any advice as I would never leave my dogs outside alone. My pups are like my kids and spend their time following me around wherever I go, inside and/or out. The puppy sleeps with me and the older girl has a bed beside mine.

When my new pup was introduced it was just an addition to the household and teaching the pup wasn't a responsibility of the existing dog. We just sort of supervised all of our activities together and they began to merge. Because we are all together it was easy to make sure the older dog didn't have to deal with puppy behavior beyond what she was willing to give. When she had all she could stand we gave the older dog a break and took the puppy for a walk or play / train session.

My puppy is a little older now and the girls are good buddies. Gratefully the pup shows respect when the older one is not in the mood and brings the leash to me. So we go out and work on obedience or do some frisbee toss or ball chase.

Maybe someone else on the forum has a similar set up as you and can help more.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 02:52 PM
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I too don't really have advice because I don't leave my dogs outside, and when they're inside they're not left alone together.

I can tell you that each time I've introduced a puppy to our household (three times in the last 10 years), it has taken several months before the older dogs have accepted the puppy into their circle. During that time I would never have left them alone together; regardless of temperament, the risk of injury to one or the other would have been too great. They were together when with a human, and separated or in their crates otherwise. They have always ended up being good friends (my current two are sharing a cushion under my desk as I type this), but I'm not sure that would have been the case if I'd left them alone without supervision. With this pair in particular, it was about six months before they were comfortable together in the house.

Your older dog is clearly suffering (eating the kennel, destroying his toys). I personally would not leave him alone at all with the new dog. Right now she's a pup and your older dog is letting her get away with stuff. But there will come a time, fairly soon, when he no longer sees her as a pup, and he might not be quite as lenient then. In the meantime there's no-one who's teaching the pup what is and is not acceptable, or giving the older dog a break when he's had enough.

I hope someone is able to give you some advice. All I can suggest is that you keep them apart unless there's a human present to supervise.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Hi thanks to you both for getting back.

We do feel Oscar is depressed for sure and we have started to give him even more 1:1 time to help reassure him that he is still our Number 1 and hopefully this will help.

I can see we have totally opposite set ups. But just to clarify that when I say outside alone, this is a secure safe area in the garden which is on the other side of our kitchen window with porch door for access to it. So basically we can see Oscar and Luna at all times if we need to and we have only recentely started to not be out beside them at all times when we are letting them interact

He has grown up as an outside dog and as our home is on a 2 acre site in the countryside and we spend most of our spare time in it either gardening or relaxing, Oscar has access to so much more stimulation than he would if he was indoors most of the day.

I probably haven't explained properly but we have supervised their interactions quite a lot and really we were hoping Oscar being the older dog would be a help teaching the basic dog on dog rules/etiquette that the pups would learn from their parents alongside us teaching her the other socialization skills she would need to learn for around people and other dogs/animals/events etc. we have been teaching Luna acceptable behaviour whenever she has been annoying Oscar and he has not been correcting her himself and also in the house when she gets too much we put her in her pen for her to give Oscar a break which has been working well as is now starting to spend more of the evening lying beside Oscar on the rug in the evening instead of annoying him. Also she is starting to amuse herself more with an old basketball instead of Oscars tail as much.

They do appear to get on very well other than my fears that Luna is being too pushy towards Oscar and that Oscar is not able to cope with this and is getting confused and stressed about this new situation. I was talking to someone in work today about it and they mentioned that they have heard of occasions before where a female pup can become very bossy towards an older male dog.

I definitly will be taking your advice about not leaving them alone unsupervised for a long while to come yet as I would hate for a situation to develop where Oscar became agressive.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 04:20 PM
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Welcome to the forum - I'm originally from Ireland. I think you are taking the right approach in not leaving them alone together. Even supervising from the kitchen window or patio door is probably too far away. I understand that often dogs are still outside dogs in Ireland. My family there could not understand how I planed to have Sona as an indoor dog - but they have been won over 😀. You may not find too many members with a similar set up but I hope it works out for you and you can reduce oscars stress. Let us know how you get on. Oscar and Luna look percious.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 05:07 PM
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I'm sorry I don't have any advice but just wanted to say how adorable Oscar and Luna are . Good luck.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Luna when she was only 8 weeks old. She is little ball of fluff 2nd from the end on the right
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 04:55 PM
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Good heavens! She is beautiful - but what a mix of looks from one litter!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 06:16 PM
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If Oscar hasn't had a health check recently, I would suggest that as a first step, to rule out any conditions that might be causing him to feel stressed, and out of sorts. At his age arthritis can be a concern, and it can be especially painful with the damp and the colder weather.

Also consider whether Luna has something to do when she is out there with Oscar, other than play with Oscar. Are there toys for her to play with, shake around? Are there things for her to do, like obstacles she can explore, go through climb on, (all part of socialization for a pup) a ball she can push around?

Consider what Oscar does when he is outside alone, does he wander and investigate, or does he lay and wait for something to happen? Our dogs adapt very well to our lifestyles, they move when we move, rest when we rest, especially as they get older, and are unlikely to do much moving around without encouragement from another dog or from us.

It is not the destination but the journey that matters. Thank you Charlie, for the journey, it was truly amazing!
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