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Canine Behavior/New Puppy Older dogs. Plz help.


I got a puppy just over 2 weeks ago and the day after I got him my mini fox terrier, Oliver (6yrs old) had a relatively small go at the 6week old pup, he left no marks but he did frighten the puppy. My other Dog Noah (Chihuahua X Alsatian 7yrs) retaliated at Oliver and nipped him while I (in shock) comforted the puppy (Bentley) A week later while myself and my partner were at work, after a week of monitoring we cautiously left them alone, my parter came home to Bentley with 4 bites and covered in blood. Obviously we took him straight to the vet, to be told that the mini foxie had acted out in fear rather than aggression (he lost an eye earlier in the year and  is jumpy at times) So we have made sure to separate them when we are not around. Then a few hours ago I was busy but around withe dogs and my partner was outside, everything was calm then I heard the puppy screaming and both dogs barking and growling at him as well as nipping at him, drawing blood on his back. I didn't quite see what happened, but it probably lasted a minute but the fight seemed to last forever. Is this normal or jealous behaviour and what do I do about it. We love and show affection to all our dogs, taking consideration of the hierarchy. The older two have grown up together.

Hi Samantha -

I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your pups.  It can be very challenging to introduce a new dog to any established family and unfortunately things can get ugly at times.  Your situation sounds especially difficult and I recommend contacting a local dog trainer to help you work through these issues.  I will try to help you the best I can in the meantime.
I would recommend keeping the pup crated (or confined to a separate room away from the other dogs)when you or your partner cannot supervise interactions to avoid future injuries.  In order to avoid fights and resentment amongst the dogs it is important to keep your two original or "resident" dogs' lives and routines the same.  They must continue to have one-on-one time with you and your partner (and all family members)and you should not change their lifestyle in any way (moving their crates, food bowls, changing feeding/ walking times etc)so they don't resent the puppy.  The dogs should have been introduced on neutral territory such as a park or a neighbor's yard rather than coming home with the new pup and plopping him down in the living room.  (I will include some links for further reading information below.)If your resident dogs aren't barrier aggressive you can try letting them sniff the puppy through a fence or while he is crated so they can get to know the dog without risking injury to either dog.  You can also walk the dogs together parallel to each other with each dog on their own leash and try letting them interact after burning off the excess energy during the walk.
If nothing has changed with your resident dogs' lifestyle then let's consider your new puppy.  Most puppies don't leave their mom until they are at least 8 weeks old.  Puppies count on their mom and littermates to teach them canine manners and bite inhibition.  Since your puppy is only 6 weeks he may be lacking canine manners or he might be behaving inappropriately with your resident dogs.  Please consider a group puppy class to socialize your pup (you can never have enough socialization for a puppy.  They need to meet dogs, people etc)and help him to learn appropriate manners.  Make sure he is exercised and tired before allowing him to interact with your adult dogs so that he is not overstimulated and unknowingly provoking the adults.
I think that with the help of a trainer you will be able to safely integrate Bentley into your family, human and hound.  Unfortunately, there are no equals in a dog pack and hopefully everything will fall into place in time.  It would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with doggie body language to help prevent fights so I have included a link with information on that.  Best of luck with your dogs...keep me posted. - this link has good tips such as a fence meeting (keep in mind you do not want to try a fence meeting if your dog is barrier aggressive or a fence fighter) there are also other links within the article with more information. - dog body language and facial expressions

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Jennifer Ganser, LMT, ABCDT


For canines I can answer questions related to behavior, obedience training, health and massage therapy (anatomy, health benefits) For equines I can answer questions related to behavior, barn management, health and massage therapy (anatomy, health benefits) I am not a veterinarian and it is not within my scope of practice as a licensed massage therapist or certified dog trainer to diagnose health conditions. Please contact your pet's veterinarian for illness related questions and emergencies.


I am a licensed massage therapist for people, horses, and dogs and a certified dog trainer. I teach group obedience classes as well as private lessons. I also work with horses and help barns establish good management practices.

Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) National Certification Board of Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

2009 - graduate of Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy 2010 - certified in canine/feline first aid + CPR by Red Cross 2012 - graduate of Post University equine program 2012 - graduate of Animal Behavior College Obedience program

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