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Canine Behavior/Old Girly Chihuahua/Morkie Puppy


QUESTION: March 18, 2014

Dear JODY,

Mike and Dee , (sister and Brother in law) have  a dog 13 years old- who is ( ill with heart problems etc) and now a 3 mo. old puppy has been adopted-
When 13 yr old is left alone ( owners both work) and puppy is taken out of the house to another home ( mom and deb's ) from 6:30 to 4pm,  the 13 yr old can be seen howling at home alone.  what can we to to change this. we are afraid something may happen to the older dog!  
Also on the sad note:  She just lost her chihuahua mate, of 13 years too from a hit and run driver and was killed instantly on january 8, 2014

ANSWER: I'm sorry that the old girl recently lost her friend and companion. I don't typically recommend bringing in such a young dog to a house with an existing dog of such advanced age. It can be difficult for the senior to keep up with a puppy full of energy and puppies haven't yet learned to be polite and respect cut-off signals that the older dog may give when she needs a break.

However, it sounds like the old girl is lonely. She may be still grieving the loss of her friend. She may be experiencing separation anxiety when her entire family leaves at 6.30 in the morning and is gone all day until late afternoon.

The first thing I would try is to allow the senior dog to join the puppy to the daytime hang-out. She may be much happier if she can be with her new friend and a human to supervise their interactions.

The key for the human supervisors will be simply to make sure that after an hour of playing together, if the puppy is still filled with energy, the puppy needs to be redirected to another activity such as a food-stuffed Kong or a Bully Stick (the senior may well enjoy these things too, so be ready to offer one to each dog) so that they are being made to take a break from running around and wrestling or playing chase.

If the two dogs are settling and resting together without intervention/redirection from the humans, that's great!  

If there's no option to bring both dogs to the other house, then perhaps the human/s can come to the dogs' house and stay with them there. That way, things like the puppy's crate or playpen is already set up and if necessary, the puppy can be confined for a while (with a chewing activity such as those described above) so that everyone can relax and nap.

I assume that as the puppy gets older and demonstrates good potty habits, the pup will be left home with the older dog. So for now, I think the kindest and quickest "fix" for this situation would simply be to include the senior dog so she's not left alone at all.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to followup if I can be of further assistance.

Los Angeles Behaviorist

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thank you for your response. .

Can you tell me this:

Why would my female morkie, after 3 months
As shes 5 MONTHS now,  attack my 13 YEAR.
Old Chihuahua. ??

There are probably dozens of reasons that your puppy may attack your senior dog. I would need a lot more information and detail about the incident in order to be able to offer any ideas about your situation.

Please tell me the circumstances surrounding the incident:

What was the senior dog doing?
What was the puppy doing?
What toys were around - and were either dog playing with any of them?
What people were around - and were they interacting with either or both of the dogs?
What food was around - and were either dog eating or moving toward or hanging out near the food?

Try to think back and picture the body language between the dogs. Were there any staring contests? Was one dog actively avoiding looking at the other?
Were ears pinned to the head or pricked far forward on alert?
Was there any vocalizations - growling or barking from either dog - which one and what did it sound like? Was it low and soft or loud and obnoxious?
Did either dog show teeth before the incident?

Tell me about the incident itself - what did the puppy do? What did the senior do? Were there any injuries? If so, how serious were they - did anyone have to go to the vet's office?
How long did the fight last? How did it end (did a person have to break it up or did they work it out themselves?)
What happened immediately after the fight? Were they separated? Was either dog punished in any way from scolding to isolation (crate or locked in another room), physical punishment?

How were the dogs with each other after the fight? How are they with each other now?

And when was the fight?

Since I wasn't there to observe it, I need you to be my eyes and ears so that I can try to get a mental image of what went down. With that, I'll be in a much better place to try to help you figure out what happened and how best to avoid that happening again in the future.

Los Angeles Behaviorist

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, CPDT- KA, APDT


IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 5 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.


I have been professionally modifying behavior and training obedience for 7 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I have just changed the name of my business. It is no longer Good Dog! Dog Training. The new name is Nutz About Mutz!. If you see previous questions with the Good Dog! website information, that is my response.

I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications ; ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

I have a graduate education in animal behavior and learning. (While I completed my coursework and did the requisite research, I did not defend a dissertation. I am qualified, but not certified and so technically not a doctor. This is commonly referred to as Ph.D.-ABD which means All But Dissertation.) My educational focus was with non-human primates, but my personal interest is with domestic dogs and their relationships with humans and other animals. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences.

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