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We recently adopted Charlie, a three month old Catahoula/bull mastiff mix- or at least we were told that...we believe through the help of some forumites that she is actually some type of hound mix (plott hound?) She is very playful and showing normal puppy behavior. However, my boyfriend and I have some concerns.

We have two other dogs- both four years old. One is a male Shih Tzu , named Edand the other is Sophie, a female yorkie mix. We are concerned about the size difference and the interactions they have with one another. Sophie, the yorkie, is very submissive, but will still growl and bare her teeth at Charlie when she gets too uppity with her and for the most part the same goes with Ed. They both don't want to play with Charlie and Charlie being the puppy wants to play all the time.

To burn off some of her energy we take her on walks with the other dogs- where they get along pretty well. We run around in the backyard, do some basic commands, and she also just started puppy kindergarten yesterday. At class we noticed that her play with the larger dogs is pretty rough, so we are apprehensive that she is going to display this with our small dogs.

My question is...does anyone else have experiences with a rather large size difference and if so, how did you go about with training and play time? My boyfriend and I are just overall worried that things might go out of hand and we want to do everything we can to prevent that. I think I've exhausted the search function on google and the forum for this topic, so any help would be greatly appreciated :)
 

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The puppy class is good, play is important to their learning.

A well socialized large adult dog will typically self-handicap when playing with small dogs. My 80 lbs dog can safely play completely loose with dogs over about 10 lbs (sturdy dogs like a jack russell) and hang out closely supervised with a yorkie sized dog or smaller. I know someone with 2 large bully breeds and a toy poodle who is most definitely in charge. Obviously, the question is how to get them to the 'well socialized stage" :)

If the small dogs don't want to play, it isn't so much how big the other dog is, she shouldn't be allowed to bug them to play. Redirect (ask for a sit or a down), get her playing with you, go for a walk etc.
Do you know anyone with a puppy-friendly (they can be annoying after all) adult dog that can have play time with Charlie? Well trained dogs are good teachers for rough and tumble puppies. A "tough" small breed can be useful in teaching a big puppy that they can't throw their weight around.

How does she play with smaller puppies in the puppy class?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Shell- That's reassuring to hear, I'm hoping that Charlie begins to understand the size difference of the dogs so that we can relax when they have their interactions.

We have a few friends with well trained dogs that we will definitely be bringing Charlie around for playdates (and yes, to burn off the annoying puppy energy :wink: )

I feel like Charlie was the most dominant out of the dogs in puppy class, and probably the biggest next to a Golden Retriever pup. She really likes using her massive paws to clunk the other dogs. To be honest, I was very nervous for the well being of the other dogs. She would pin them or hit them pretty hard with her paws and then try to put their heads in her mouth (at least she tried doing that with a small american bulldog). The Golden Retriever was playing and getting jumped on by all the other dogs, but when Charlie and her tried playing she seemed to back off and started barking at Charlie.
 

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My Dog Butters is a small 9 pound Bichon, but when she was a 3 pound puppy she did exactly with Charlie does - she used her paws and leaped and jumped on other dog's heads, and pounced on them lol...she would also 'paw' at them, at times pawing their face. Now, after MUCH play time and socialization, she knows proper play and doesn't do those things anymore. Basically, I never left her unsupervised with a dog, and when they played, I provided a LOT of break times particularly wehn things would get a bit heated. You gotta watch their body language, you can see just when it's about to get too exciting. Then you call time out.

Also, if your dog starts to hit a dog hard with paws, just interrupt him with an 'ah ah!' and take him away from the playing. He will learn that when he does that, he doesn't get to play with the other dog anymore. Otherwise, the other dog may teach him a lesson and give him a nip on the neck, or a growl and he will know it was inappropriate. In the end though, it's really up to you to supervise and let him know when he's playing too rough, as some dogs may not be old enough to teach a young puppy what's appropriate.

Please also make sure to take Charlie for a long walk before you attend puppy class and anytime you go outside to the park to play. If he's a bit tired out, or got excess energy out of his system, he will likely be a bit gentler when he plays. Please don't think puppy class means he doesn't need a walk that day. Some owners thinks that puppy class means that they burn the same amount of energy as a walk, but it's simply not true.
 

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Thanks Chubby- I guess we were more so conflicted when to break up play. Obviously when things get rough we are quick to break it up, but before it gets to that point we didn't want to interfere with "proper" playtime. We will start interrupting when she starts with the paws since this is a habit we want to break, and from then on interrupt when things are too rough.

We take Charlie out on multiple walks per day especially since our dogs get along more (as in they can sniff the same spot without the older ones growling) when they go out on longs walk. We don't think puppy class is a substitute for exercise, since its first and foremost a place where we are going to learn and not play.
 

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My 12 pound Eddee plays with my 65 pound Abbylynn. Eddee will turn his rear to Abbylynn's face and kick her like a mule with his back legs ... in the chest to initiate play ... instead of a play bow. I am very lucky that Abbylynn is a wonderful dog. She corrects him nicely. I break it up when I see the initiation begin wih Eddee turning his rear around. He will also sometimes begin to attack her face and legs. Then it is a time out! Even though I feel Abbylynn is a great teacher ... I never become laxed ... you just never know .... Eddee could become a snack! I believe in constant supervision when the size difference is so great!
 

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140lb Buster has been loose in the house with puppies as small as 3lbs. The worst thing he did was walk behind the puppies and stomp his feet...his bratty bully behavior was quickly corrected.

Busters first real interaction with a small dog was about 5 1/2 months old. My nephew and his Pomeranian came to visit. The boys got along GREAT and played together all day long.

When Bus was 15 months my BIL brought his GSD puppy over. Buster has very little use for puppies and pretty much refuses to play with them until they're 13-14 weeks.
He wanted to wake the puppy SOOOO bad


The boys eventually became great friends.
 

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I am going to try and find more threads on this topic. My Roxy is a smaller dog 17 lbs and acts like she is 200 lbs. She is only 2 years old and is developing a strange aggressive behavior towards primarily larger dogs which makes little sense. She is also not getting along so great with dogs her same size. I am somewhat baffled since we did not have this issue prior, sigh. I did not do any training with her and think class is in our near future...appreciating all the input, very helpful!
 

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I am going to try and find more threads on this topic. My Roxy is a smaller dog 17 lbs and acts like she is 200 lbs. She is only 2 years old and is developing a strange aggressive behavior towards primarily larger dogs which makes little sense. She is also not getting along so great with dogs her same size. I am somewhat baffled since we did not have this issue prior, sigh. I did not do any training with her and think class is in our near future...appreciating all the input, very helpful!
Definitely seek some help, but in the interim, when you see Roxy noticing a dog a hundred or fifty feet away, and she is acting fine/normal/cool, give her a treat! Continue for every dog you see, that she notices, and doesn't react to aggressively. do NOT correct her for being aggressive to another dog, as she may become leash reactive, and think that when she sees another dog, you will correct her, and therefore, the other dog is causing this.

Eventually, she should be okay with dogs that are closer in proximity. Jackpot if she's sniffing another dog, or allowing another dog to check her out. Always verbal praise, pets, and treats when dogs are around.

This is the only thing I know that you can do while looking for other help. Please don't correct for aggression issues, and please seek the help of a professional trainer.
 
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