A dog might act like they hate puppies, but that’s not necessarily what is happening. There are many reasons older dogs might not want to deal with puppies, from their inability to read physical and social cues to the relentless invasion of your adult dog’s personal space.
Why Do Older Dogs Dislike Puppies?
Puppies are bubbly, jubilant, messy licking, up-in-your-space bundles of energy, and they generally have zero ability to recognize another dog’s body language. Many are separated from their mothers too early, so they don’t benefit from the natural training that takes place from being part of a litter.
For adult dogs with established routines, having new puppies invade their space is like how you may feel if a random kid started spraying you with silly string and tickling you with sticky half-melted popsicles. Even if it’s a kid you like, it’s annoying!
For grown dogs, training puppies is part of life. The tactics might seem aggressive to us, but for dogs, they are normal. But what about the dogs who are older in their years? In packs, the adults and adolescents train the puppies, while the seniors sit out. It’s simply not their bag anymore.
If your adult dog is unusually aggressive toward puppies, it may be because they’ve had a bad experience with them in the past. Or, they may not have any experience with them at all. Your dog might be triggered by the puppy’s vast movement and unpredictable behaviors. Positive reinforcement with things your dog likes, i.e., treats, is suggested to help your dog associate puppies.
Ways To Introduce Your Dog To A New Puppy
Have treats on hand. When your dog sees puppies, give them treats when they remain calm as the new canine passes. They will learn that a puppy equals a reward.
Have a leash ready. When a dog is off-leash and the puppy comes their way, clip the leash to the dog’s color to give yourself a little added control.
Create neutral zones by gently taking away your dog’s toy so they don’t feel a need to defend their prized possessions.
Keep your demeanor and voice calm and friendly. This lets a dog know everything is alright, so they follow your lead.
Short-Term Strategies For Tolerating The Puppy
If it’s a potentially dangerous situation or your dog can’t tolerate it, calmly and clearly alert the puppy’s human parent. You might let them know your dog doesn’t like puppies and to get some distance so you may pass. You might suggest the owner carry their puppy past your dog, but it’s easier to take on the responsibility yourself and move out of their way.
Leave the immediate area if all else fails. Puppies have no manners, but sometimes, their parents are learning too. Later, you might want to discuss how dogs train puppies and how senior dogs think puppies are annoying. But for right now, it’s about keeping the peace.
Adding A New Puppy To Your Dog-Accompanied Home
Adopting a new puppy is exciting for pet parents. If you have older dogs at home, you may be wondering how to introduce the new puppy. Puppies don’t yet understand the dog world as your older dog does. With some preparation, you can make the meeting successful.
Before you bring the new puppy home – Put away the older dog’s favorite toys and shoes to avoid territorial behavior. Also, it’s important to create a space in your home where both dogs can have private time. You’ll want to purchase separate food dishes to prevent possessive aggression. Lastly, make sure both dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
During the introduction – Keep in mind the older dog considers your house their house. To prevent aggression that is territorial, find a neutral area to introduce both dogs. Put the older dog on a leash while another person holds the leashed puppy. However, let them sniff and meet each other. There’s not a need to hold them tightly to your side. You don’t want them to feel restricted.
The first introduction needs to be relatively quick.
For all introductions, it’s important to stay calm. Dogs sense tension within you and it’s more likely to be stressed if you are. Your dog will take on your emotions and take them into consideration throughout the introduction. They look to you to understand how they need to react to the situation.
For the first week or two, continuously monitor both dogs and their interactions. Watching the body language of your dogs will help you gauge how they’re reacting to one another. It may take a while for them to become comfortable with each other, but will hopefully soon become lifelong friends!