Helping an Adult Dog Relax Around the New Puppy While He has Toys

By: David Codr

Published Date: January 13, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we help 7 year old retriever mix Milo feel good about the new puppy the family just adopted, 8 week old Shepherd mix Bailey.

One of the things I like to do as a Dog Behavior expert is to help a dog practice things they have difficulty with. I often do this by altering the environment or situation to make it the easiest version possible. The goal is to help the dog practice acting a certain way, then repeat it. Once the dog is comfortable, you move to the next step or increase the intensity very gradually so the dog continues acting the way you want.

The mistake most people make when fixing dog behavior problems is moving too far too fast. You want to string together a series of successes while building up to the real world version.

I knew Milo was anxious around the new puppy and the humans had been keeping them someone separated. In the room, but not together which is wise if your unsure how the dog will react.

I brought over a puppy play pen and set it up so that we could put the puppy into a safe place to start the session. I kept an eye on Milo while I chawed with his guardians. He was slightly stressed, breathing a little fast and pacing back and forth. He got the most anxious when the puppy came close to the side of the play pen, especially with a toy nearby.

Getting a second play pen will give the guardians the ability to put them up next to one another, but with a few feet between. This way the closeness reaction I saw from Milo will be prevented.

Setting up a fence or play pen is a good approach to use when introducing an adult dog to a puppy, especially if that adult dogs seems anxious or nervous.

To help the dog feel comfortable about the puppy approaching while he has a toy I set up a scenario where we can provide a positive reinforcer while the puppy approaches.

By repeating this process enough, Milo will start to think treats fall from the sky when I have a toy and the puppy approaches. With sufficient practice, Milo should develop a positive association with the puppy.

Obviously the goal is for the adult dog to accept the puppy at first. But if the guardians practice this exercise and the other tips we shared in this in home dog training session, I’m betting these dogs become best of friends.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categorized in:

This post was written by: David Codr

Follow Us via Email