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bongo's_handler is offline  
Location: Roswell, GA
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 17
16-03-2017, 01:09 PM

Introducing a new pup (sorry it's long)

Hello all!

I have been handling my current dog, Bongo, a energetic 60 pound Boxer/German Shorthair Pointer/Retriever mix for almost 10 months. He just turned a year old on the 2nd, listens to all my commands, makes great eye contact, and respects me as the alpha. However, he is absolutely insane around other dogs. He is very submissive and respectful, but the little monster could play ALL DAY if you let him. I often go over to my neighbor's house and let him romp with his two Great Danes. But you know dog training, there's always something to work on. I recently started training a neurotic white German Shepherd bitch puppy, who was found abandoned and tied to a pole in the rain. She's taken some time to acclimate and calm down (she's afraid of tall men with baseball caps- she barked at my friend's brother for 3 days) but she was finally ready to introduce to Bongo. Now, Bongo is used to being the smaller dog when he plays. He's used to giant Great Danes that put his whole head in their mouths. So when we turned both of them out in the backyard to play, he was a little too intense on Winter (the Shepherd pup). I took the toys out of the backyard so Bongo wouldn't be possessive and freak her out, but she came over to me for reassurance at least 5 times. Every time Bongo would start barking at her, egging her on, knocking her over at 25 miles an hour, and biting too hard to the point she yelped, I would grab him by his scruff, scold him, and put him in a Down-Stay. That helped to calm him down for a little bit, but 10 minutes after I released him he was back to his old antics. Does anyone have any tips and tricks to keeping the older dog calm and letting the puppy know that it's a safe environment? I would really appreciate input. Thanks!
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Miriam John
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Miriam John is offline  
Location: Vermont, USA
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 5
Yesterday, 04:30 PM
This can be a tricky situation at first (I had the opposite problem, where my new puppy kept playfully harassing my older dog) but with a little patience it can be worked out. It sounds like Bongo has excess energy, as many young dogs do, and he needs to learn to hold himself in a more mature and calm way when around a little puppy. Right now it sounds like he is so enthusiastic he isn't able to notice that his actions are frightening Winter. I would suggest calmly holding him back, helping him take a pause so he can notice Winter's body language (if she's scared, anxious, etc). If you grab him, correct him, make him focuse on your alpha status rather than on Winter, you may not be really helping the two dogs work out their own relationship because Bongo will be focused on you instead of Winter, and then when you let him go he will still be too enthusiastic about Winter. Here are some things that I did that helped my dogs work out their relationship and come to a mutual understanding:
-When my puppy (Chante) upset my older dog (Lovey) sometimes I would sit down with Lovey and sympathize with him that he was scared and nervous. I didn't pay attention to Chante, and pushed him away if he tried to get in between me and Lovey. Chante had to sit and listen to me sympathize with Lovey, and I think he understood from my tone of voice and body language that I was signaling that Chante's actions were making Lovey upset.
-I would calmly hold Chante back from Lovey, talking to him in a quiet voice and telling him to be peaceful and respectful.
-Generally I didn't want to interfere too much with the dogs interactions with each other, but if Chante got too rough and was really freaking Lovey out, I put myself in between them and told Chante firmly that he needed to back off.

Also, it would be great to have the dogs together inside, or in an environment where the dogs will be calm and resting. This way they can bond and learn each other's signals and energy without it getting too crazy. If they rest together in a peaceful environment, it might help them bond and be more likely to trust and respect each other's limits in play. Also, to help Winter, you could put Bongo on a leash at first so that Winter can get out of his range if she needs some space.
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