Canine Behavior/New Puppy


Hi Jody, I have had my toy poodle male for about 4 years and a few days ago I brought a new dachshund/chihuahua mix female 9 week old puppy home. He's already been used to our cat, but seems to feel sad or jealous of the puppy. I'm trying to distribute my attention evenly. However the puppy needs more of it at this time. How long do you think it will take for them to get along? Right now she is chasing him and wanting to play, and he goes running from her. Thank you for your help!

Thank you for your question. The issue you're experiencing is not uncommon. Your resident dog wasn't part of the discussion and may not have been interested in having a new family member. I don't know if your resident dog has experience with puppies. Even dogs who are quite social with other adult dogs can be put off by puppies. Puppies have energy to spare, they don't respect personal space or heed communication meant to create space. Puppies are persistent in their efforts to play, even well after the adult has been clear they're done playing or not interested in playing. And puppies don't smell or sound right. They are pre-pubescent and so they lack the hormones of an adult dog. This means it may not be completely clear to the adult dog that the puppy is in fact also a dog. They have higher pitched, yappier voices and this can be disconcerting to some adult dogs as well.

This doesn't mean you can't help your resident dog learn to feel OK with the puppy. But it may take a bit of time. We need to give him the space he needs to figure out what's going on and come to terms with it.

Spend time with him separate from the puppy. The puppy should be sleeping the night and all naps during the day in a crate or play pen. This gives your older dog a break. He'll be free to move around the house at his leisure, without being pestered. He can be near her or well away if he wishes. The puppy needs to have several long breaks each day at this age. So for every 1-2 hours of awake time playing or hanging out, she should have 1-3 hours then in her crate. And it should be broken up like that. Rather than 8 hours out in the house and then 10-12 hours in the crate/play pen, it should be 1-2 hours in one, followed by 1-2 hours in the other.  This is useful also for potty training as if she's in a confined space (after a potty) for a couple hours, then she'll be primed and ready to go potty first thing when you take her out. This gives you the opportunity to announce Potty Time and then take her to her potty spot. At 10 weeks of age (2.5 months), she can only hold her bladder/bowels for about 2-3 hours at most during the day. So be sure that she gets potty breaks in a timely fashion, or that she's confined in a space large enough to have a potty spot separate from her living spot (potty pads at one end of a rectangular play pen and a bed at the other. She should have a couple of chew toys in there with her as well. She should eat her meals in that space as well. Eating in there, having toy time in there, sleeping in there all helps her learn what is appropriate for her to put her mouth on (prevents her from chewing things she shouldn't), helps with potty training and helps her learn to be able to entertain herself while alone (helps prevent the onset of separation anxiety).

While the puppy is confined, you can have play time, cuddle time, or out for walk time with the resident dog.

Note: This playpen or crate should be in the main living space so she's not isolated away from life and activity, but is confined to a specific area so she can't overwhelm the resident dog.

Now, when she's out with your resident dog, make sure that he's still getting lots of love and affection. Get her playing tug with a toy with you in one hand, and with your other, give him love and affection - or play tug with him with another toy. Run around with the two of them together, giving them a chance to sniff stuff together. If she's big enough to put a harness on her, you can leash her and tether her to a piece of furniture allowing her to be in the space and giving your male the choice to go over and engage with her, or he can choose to settle further away. This will also help her learn to settle in the same space, but separate from him.

Save his very favorite treats to give him only when he's in the same room with her (when she's out of her play pen). This will help him see her presence as the predictor of great things.

Keys to supervision/intervention. If he is telling her to back off (growl, stiff body, or running away - not playfully), then redirect her. Pick her up if necessary, or just call her to you and engage her in another activity. Let him know you've got his back and won't make him just put up with her. You'll help him by getting her off his back and into some other activity.

On the flip side, if he tells her to back off and she does, but he keeps telling her (grrr....bark, snap), then you need to redirect him. Now you have to have her back so she knows that you won't allow him to just beat up on her. He's allowed to make his point, but he's not allowed to badger her over it.

I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to followup if I can be of further assistance.

Los Angeles Behaviorist  

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, MS, CPDT-KA


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 8 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 and many other issues. 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 a professional obedience trainer for 9 years, and specializing in behavior modification for 8 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I own my own dog training and behavior modification business called Nutz About Mutz.

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 masters degree (MS) in Animals and Public Policy, with a minor in Animal Behavior, from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. I also have 3 years of graduate education in Animal Behavior and Learning from UM-Missoula and UL-Lafayette. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences, workshops and seminars. Beginning in March, 2017, I will be the Behavior & Training Manager at Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff, AZ.

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