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Hey, everyone! So me and my boyfriend have stumbled upon a very young pit bull mix puppy. My boyfriend works for the apartments, and sadly someone moved out and locked this poor puppy in their room! Not wanting to see her go to the pound, we decided to take her in. She's very young and I assume the people took her from her mom and littermates too early. Anyway, I am guessing she is about 7 to 8 weeks old at the moment. We both have raised our own dogs before but not one quite this young. We are trying to go ahead and socialize her as she is going to be living at an apartment where many other dogs are. We took her home to meet my parents 11 month old pit, who is VERY playful. The 11 month old is super gentle, but doesn't quite know when enough play is enough and the other dog is done. Due to this, when they met the young puppy was tired from a few minutes of play and wanted to relax and the 11 month old kept trying to play. The young puppy began lashing out and growling and snapping when the older puppy got near her. I know she is just trying to communicate she is aggravated and that she needs to learn social cues from other dogs, but is there anything we should practice as owners to help her feel more confident or comfortable with older dogs? Is this behavior normal for a puppy so young? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
 

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You should not let the puppy play with the older dog till it thinks it has to protect itself when it has had enough. A puppy of that age gets tired very fast and you should separate them before it has to get to the point of snapping at the other dog because if you do not interfere, that is the only way the puppy can try and stop the other dog from playing with it when it has had enough.
 

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It is great from puppies to learn from older dogs but those older dogs need to be well mannered and adjusted themselves. Which your 11 month old might be, but keep in mind that 11 month olds are not yet adults either. If the puppy wants to take a break you need to create that situation so that the puppy doesn't grow up learning she needs to escalate to get what she wants. It would be good training for your other dog to learn to calm down around the new puppy as well.

Also, keep in mind that socialization is not simply growing up around another dog, but repeat positive exposure to as many friendly dogs, people, and other animals as you can for the next 8 or so weeks (and beyond, but those first weeks are the most important). Especially for a pit mix that may have been separated from her litter too early, socialization is crucial. If the puppy has learned to lash out and snap due to your older dog, she should have infinitely more positive experiences with dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes so that she grows up not thinking that she needs to respond to dogs with that severity. If you have a well run puppy class nearby, I strongly recommend you enroll. Also, enlist the help of friends who have well adjusted adult dogs. Dog parks are a hit or miss... Watch what's going on before going in, as there are plenty of people who bring dogs that should not be in a dog park. If a socially inept dog creates bad experiences for your puppy it may set you back.

Me, I have a dog that enjoyed dog parks when he was young and then I kept him in those situations when he matured and didn't like other dogs. Due to that (and maybe some genetics), 8 years later I have a 70lb dog that may lunge and snarl when approached at close distances by other dogs. Key being: provide MANY, POSITIVE experiences :)
 

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Yes what Canyx said ::: It is great from puppies to learn from older dogs but those older dogs need to be well mannered and adjusted themselves ::: Your puppy is learning, if it takes your puppy lashing out harder and harder then even harder on another dog... that is the interaction and level of force it takes to get results that you puppy is learning he needs when interacting with other dogs.. More likely to end up with a pup that views all dogs will treat them that way to want nothing to do with them in the first place.... (food for thought) You want a pup to learn the lowest level of force/protest is all that is needed to get results.. and find relief of the situation.. (Best when you see your pup is tired to step in and set a stop rest boundary for the 11 month old) 11 month old is still a puppy, still learning has no boundaries, but an age of exploring, testing and expanding their own view of boundaries, and at an age where winning is important to them.. so the 11 month old is learning from the experience.. that even when lashed out at, the 11 month old can take it, and go right back at it with no consequences.. Neither pup is learning the best interaction skills for the future...
 

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Certainly if the younger puppy is tired and wants to rest, separate it from the older puppy. Teenage puppies can be a terror, and sometimes they completely throw manners out the window. They often need help remembering them! You could try taking the young puppy to some classes, perhaps, to socialize it with dogs its own age, and let it meet adult dogs who understand their manners and when it is time to leave puppy alone.
 
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