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New Puppy causing issues with smaller, older dog. Don't know if we should keep him.

690 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers
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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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!
$300 for basic obedience is a lot! Holy moly. Supply and demand, I guess!
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