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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I joined to post this question as my SO and I are at wits end and we don't know what to do. We have 13-week old puppy that we brought home about 8 days ago. He's a Shepherd\Lab cross and seems to be a happy, playful and very rambunctious little guy. Our other dog is a 14 year old Chihuahua cross. She is generally pretty anti-social with other dogs but we've had 2 previous large-breed dogs (both older rescues) that she has co-existed with without any problems. The issue is that the new puppy wants to play with her SO BADLY that he generally loses his mind whenever he's near her, and due to the fact that he is already about 3X her weight and is all paws, we're afraid he's going to inadvertently hurt her. She is not a playful-type dog, and will actually leap and bite at him, but he just stands there when she does that, so we don't think he'd intentionally hurt her, but she's not in great physical health and the few times we've tried to get them together, he's all over her, pawing and jumping around. At the moment we have our house divided into "his and her" spaces, but we cant keep living this way. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of situation? Any tricks or methods we could try to get them to coexist? If we cant solve this we're going to likely end up having to rehome him. It's just not fair for her (and us) to be cordoned off in what was her (our) home.


Thanks all.
 

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Your concerns are very valid. It is entirely possible for a large breed puppy who doesn't know his own size or strength to accidentally hurt a small breed, elderly dog.

Keeping them separated is the only real way to completely prevent injury or stressing your elderly dog, I'm afraid. Allowing the puppy to see but not play with the older dog helps him get over the novelty of another dog, but it does take time for puppies to learn manners. You can achieve this using an exercise pen or baby gates. You could also try having the pup drag a leash (supervised, of course), and when the pup seems to want to bother the older dog, you gently lead him away. I would only try this once the pup was not losing his mind at the presence of the older dog behind the barrier, though. You Chi clearly does not want to play with the puppy...so don't make her. Prevent the puppy from doing so. It sounds like she just wants to left alone.

In a nutshell, there is no easy overnight fix for this. All solutions will involve time and separation. The setup is only temporary, but it may last months, perhaps a year or more depending on how determined your pup is to play with your senior.

If this is not something you can manage, I would suggest rehoming the pup. I would not get another dog until your senior Chihuahua passes since she does not care for other dogs, or you may end up in the exact same situation even if you opt for a small breed dog or an adult dog. This will make her last years with you as stress free and enjoyable as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for responding Lillith. We managed to get them out walking together yesterday, but he's still eager to play with her when he sees her in the house. We are sort of at a deadline for solving this as I have signed us up for puppy training starting in two days, I'm thinking that if I can get him to understand "off" and "down", we might be able to use those to keep him off of her until he calms down a bit, but I'm reluctant to pay the $300 for training just to then rehome him. We are considering trying a heavily supervised free-time with the two of them to see if he'll discover on his own that she's not interested and just leave her alone. I'll update with any new developments.
 

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Thanks for responding Lillith. We managed to get them out walking together yesterday, but he's still eager to play with her when he sees her in the house. We are sort of at a deadline for solving this as I have signed us up for puppy training starting in two days, I'm thinking that if I can get him to understand "off" and "down", we might be able to use those to keep him off of her until he calms down a bit, but I'm reluctant to pay the $300 for training just to then rehome him. We are considering trying a heavily supervised free-time with the two of them to see if he'll discover on his own that she's not interested and just leave her alone. I'll update with any new developments.
If he hasn't figured out she doesn't want to play by now, he's not going to magically make the connection in two days, I'm afraid. You're asking too much from him at this age. This pup needs guidance to that conclusion. Throwing them together and hoping for the best will just lead to an increasingly frustrated puppy and a stressed senior, or at worst an injured senior.

$300 for training?! That's a lot for what I'm assuming is a puppy kindergarten type class. I've seen $50 to rarely $100 (USD) for puppy kindergarten classes, but $300 sounds a little outrageous unless that really is normal for your region!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's $300 for 6 weeks of basic obedience, not puppy-specific training. Unfortunately, in our area, there are virtually no puppy classes being run due to restrictions on class sizes and numbers, and the classes that are being run fill up immediately due to all of the new "Covid-dog" owners out there.
 

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Whenever I have had a puppy along with older dogs, I have kept them separated until the puppy is old enough to learn basic commands, especially if the smaller dog does not teach them by growling or snapping at them and the puppy pays attention, which some of them do not do. I have one male Shih Tzu x Maltese, that when he was younger he was my one dog that taught pups to leave him alone without hurting them but letting them know in no uncertain ways that they needed to leave him along. He is 14 years old now so since I now have a Standard Poodle puppy, I just keep them separated unless I am right there to protect him.
 

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$300 for basic obedience is a lot! Holy moly. Supply and demand, I guess!
 

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I have the same situation in a kinda sorta way. A puppy dying to play with my older dog, and an older dog who is, not smaller, but plagued with health problems that make him nothing but a misery. Puppies like him do not back off. My older dog has disciplined him enough that he's stopped and thought about it for a few minutes, then he's right back. Maybe another dog who would discipline him more thoroughly could make him stop it, but mine is a soft dog. And I don't want the puppy hurt either. So I keep him separate.

At least in my case the puppy is smaller than the older dog and won't grow bigger, so he can't really hurt her physically, just make her miserable.

You aren't going to train puppy rambunctiousness out of a puppy, and if you keep letting yours plague the older dog, the older dog will get hurt. Your choices are to separate or to rehome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just to close out the post. After many hours of discussion and many tears shed, we have rehomed our puppy. He went to a good home with young kids and will hopefully live a good long life. We're going to get another puppy after our older dog passes. Thanks for the responses.
 

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I'm sorry you had to make such a difficult choice, but sometimes it's the best and kindest thing to do. Give your senior a little extra attention - sometimes it can help to reinforce why it was the right decision with a little extra bonding and love, even if you already know in your head it was the right call.
 
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