How to Introduce a Puppy to a Dominant Dog

Knowing how to introduce a puppy to a dominant dog is important when trying to find the right fit for your family! One of the most stressful things about dog ownership can be adding a new member to your family. You may be ready to add another dog but not all dogs like the company of other dogs, and this is the most important thing to contemplate when considering adding a new family member. 

If your dog doesn’t like other dogs while walking, at friends’ houses, or at the dog park chances are good that he will not enjoy the company of a dog in his territory or sharing his space and his family. The next thing to consider is size compatibility. 

I would not encourage the owner of an adult Greyhound to get a Chihuahua! other dogs

A Chihuahua to a Greyhound might resemble a bunny too closely, or the prey he has been bred to hunt and kill. 

Most often dogs do better with dogs of like size, or extreme caution must be taken to make sure smaller dogs are not injured by larger dogs.

Sex is also an important aspect of adding a new furry child. 

Two intact males often grow up to have problems getting along especially when they reach sexual maturity, although neutered males can flourish together. Female dogs often prefer to live with members of the opposite sex.  Some of the worst dog fights I have ever seen were between 2 adult female dogs.  Intact male dogs often fight till one dog is seriously injured or there is a clear winner, however females often fight to the death.

Age is another vital aspect to consider.  I don’t know how often I have heard the phrase “If you raise them right…”


Size Matters…

Insinuating that a puppy can be trained to love or tolerate anything, but this simply is not the case. Puppies come with no guarantees and often, I believe, they are born with inherent temperaments and certain qualities that are not easily changed. Time and thought should be employed to try to find the best fit puppy possible. 

Puppies can also be irritating, especially for older dogs!introducing a puppy

An 11 or 12 year old dog may not want to be constantly poked and prodded by the exuberance of a pup, an adult dog may be a better fit for older or slower dogs. I love adult dogs and rescuing dogs, but it is just as important to make sure you find the right fit in an adult dog. 

Because I have worked so much with adult shelter dogs as Service Dogs I find it easier to acclimate an adult dog into my pack. 

Because an adult dog’s personality is already formed, and probably because I am a professional, I find much simpler to bring an adult dog home. 

My main criteria are that the new dog cannot have any issues with my existing dogs. 

My dogs can take a few days to adjust to having a new furry brother or sister, but I will not allow a new dog to come into my house and bully my animals! Temperament is also extremely important whether it be a puppy or an adult dog. Puppies are ever changing, the temperament of a puppy may not be the same as it ages and changes. That is what I like about picking out an adult dog, they have pretty much chosen who they want to be in life. 

If I have an extremely dominant female dog at home (and I do) I would look for an easy going fairly submissive male adult or puppy to bring into my house. 

puppies want attentionIf I pick a dog similar in personality to my already established female dog, we are probably going to have dominance problems at some point. Opposite personalities often get along best, as long as there is respect and no abuse going on i.e. I would never allow my girl to beat on the new dog or create a situation of abuse. 

I would simply be looking for a dog that would tolerate and accept my female dog as pack leader. Once a dog or puppy has been chosen there should be an acclimation period where the established dog/dogs of the family can still feel like home is their territory. I recommend keeping both new adult dogs and puppies on leashes for at least a few weeks until the pack orientation is ironed out successfully and everyone is tolerant and accepting of each other. 

I would never allow 2 new dogs to be together unsupervised in case a problem arose I would want to be there to witness it and make appropriate changes. As the already established pet, they should feel like their home and yard is still theirs and they are able to come and go without being constantly poked and prodded. If you allow the new dog or puppy free range, the problems of acclimation can become exasperated because the pet feels like he can never get away or have time to himself or one on one time with his family.

It is important when bringing in a new pet to ensure that the old pet still get all the time and attention he is used to; this will help to lessen the shock of a new play

Make sure you take your first pet out alone and often to get some one on one time while they are becoming accustomed to having a new brother or sister. This lessens the impact and his feelings of change.

Change is difficult for everyone, including our pets, and it is important to make sure that their schedules and lives remain as normal as possible when integrating a new animal into their lives. If you follow these steps and really put some thought and effort into getting a new dog, you should be successful with the integration and the building of your new family! If you are diligent and careful the added family member will become an important asset to your family!


Introducing a new Puppy to Your Older Dog

How you handle the introductions between puppies and older dogs largely depends on your resident senior’s personality.


older dog with puppy

Does he generally like and tolerate other dogs or pets?

If so, chances are good that he won’t take an instant dislike to the ‘new kid on the block’ (but that could still change once he realizes the new kid is here to stay!). Even if you’re sure that Fido won’t hate Fido Jr. on sight, take the introductions slowly and have another person on hand to help things run smoothly.

  ~~  Most dogs will want to thoroughly sniff the new arrival, and will stick to him like glue wherever he goes.

  ~~  Expect some excitement, maybe a little rough play, even some growling (usually on your senior dog’s part).

  ~~  Puppies and older dogs have entirely different social skills and playing styles, and it takes a while for them to understand, and accept each other’s quirks.

  ~~  Luckily, most dogs recognize a puppy and make allowances for the inexperience of youth!

The seniors tolerate more and are usually fairly gentle in their reprimands. Unfortunately puppies don’t have this sixth-sense to guide them and tend to ‘hound’ the older dog and cross all social boundaries without a backward glance! Older dogs may be wise and tolerant, but they’re not saints… and puppies who step too far over the line, or do it too often, will be corrected.aggressive dog

If the first more gentle correction doesn’t work, growling, nipping or even physical dominance will be used.

In this sort of combination it’s best to let the two of them sort things out for themselves as much as possible… but don’t leave them alone together for at least the first couple of weeks, just to be safe.

Step in only if you’re truly worried that one of them is going to get hurt (and it’s not always the puppy who’s most at risk).

When that happens, correct them both, separate them for a while, and redirect each combatant’s attention with calm one-on-one play, or cuddles.


Is he just a little unsociable?

If your older dog isn’t keen on interacting with other dogs you could have your work cut out for you to convince him that the new puppy is a good idea. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible to do…. in fact, sometimes an old dog will surprise you with his acceptance, tolerance, and love for the new arrival. But don’t go into this expecting that to happen, be prepared to have to work at it!

older dog

With a resident dog who isn’t Mr. Congeniality, it often helps to make the initial introductions on neutral ground (to avoid aggressive behavior).

The (dogless) home of a relative or friend is a good choice, or a quiet corner of a local park (but only if the new pup is fully vaccinated so he won’t pick up a disease).

You want it to be somewhere that your senior dog is already familiar with and feels comfortable in, and someplace fairly quiet.

That will keep the emotional level of the meeting low-key.

  ~~  Have someone else hold the pup while you stay with your senior.

  ~~  Don’t ‘push’ them together, let any sniffing and investigation come naturally.

  ~~  If the pup gets too pushy, or your dog too defensive, step back and regroup.

  ~~  Talk quietly and reassuringly to your older dog and encourage him to be gentle.

Once these initial introductions are made you can head for home, together. Walk both dog and puppy in at the same time, with your resident dog leading the way. This helps to reinforce the pack structure, without allowing your golden oldie to get territorial.basic obedience

Then allow the two of them to interact as naturally as possible, with you supervising at all times. If things get rough, one of them gets upset, or they get too snippy with each other, reprimand them gently but firmly, and give them both some alone time. As your older dog isn’t naturally a social butterfly, make sure he gets plenty of quiet time away from the newbie, or he could feel overwhelmed and anxious.

Don’t leave puppies and older dogs like this alone together for several weeks, you need to be absolutely sure they’re friends before taking that chance.


Beyond The Introductions….

The first couple of days, or up to a week, are usually the most challenging. By the end of that period most puppies and older dogs will have accepted the presence of the other one, and will be on the way to working out a relationship. Not ALL dogs will adjust this fast, some can take weeks, but others will enjoy each other’s company from day one.

So much depends on their individual personalities, that there’s really no way to tell ahead of time how it will go. But in addition to the tips above, there are some other things that you can do to help the two of them get along.

submissive puppy


‘Management’ Tips

1) Prevent Squabbles: Avoid arguments over ‘resources’ such as toys by making sure there are plenty to go around. Don’t just give Fido Jr. the shiny new ones either, make sure your senior dog has his own new, and special, toys. Don’t let the pup ‘steal’ any either!

2) Have Special Time With Each One: Make sure each dog has special one-on-one time with you, and other family members. If your senior dog is closely bonded with you, or another specific family member, have the rest of the family interact with the puppy more so that Fido doesn’t lose his BFF. This can head-off jealousy, especially on your older dog’s part.

3) Find Outlets for Puppy Energy: There’s a lot of truth in the old saying ‘A tired puppy is a good puppy’, so do make sure that Fido Jr. gets plenty of exercise. It will make him less of a strain on your old dog’s nerves. But don’t play a hectic game of ‘fetch’ in the backyard which your old dog can’t join in, but is left to watch from inside. Be creative, and empathetic in finding ways to exercise Jr. without upsetting Snr.

4) Watch for Changes as Puppy Grows: Although older dogs will tolerate puppies, even when they misbehave, at some point their ‘get out of jail free’ card expires. This usually happens when the pup becomes an adolescent (imagine the friction between a teenager and parent/guardian). Be ready to correct any misbehavior or over-reactions (by pup or senior) and act as referee for a while.

5) Take Your Older Dog’s Health into Account: All dogs are different, and some seniors are hale and hearty, while others are more frail and fa….. (Okay I won’t go there!). Seriously though, not every senior dog is healthy enough for a new puppy playmate.



What’s Normal and When Should I Worry?

If the doggie status-quo hasn’t changed much in your home for a while, you might be wondering what to expect when puppies and older dogs get together.aggressive behavior

Or maybe your senior dog is your first dog, and you’ve never tried to ‘blend’ a canine family before.

Either way, there are bound to be times when you wonder, “Is this dog’s behavior normal?”

So, here are some of the things you’re likely to see, and a rough guide as to whether they’re normal, or something you need to get help with.


Your older dog chases, bites or hurts your puppy

This is NOT normal, with one caveat… during the first day or so, older dogs may sniff the pup a lot, and follow him around. But this following will be fairly casual, and take the form of curiosity or caution… he wants to know what this strange little dog is doing, and what he smells like! An adult dog who stalks around after the pup on stiff legs, with his ears back, and possibly growling or stomping on the pup, isn’t feeling curious or cautious.

He’s not happy. You need to watch your dog’s behavior carefully and don’t leave the two of them alone, not even for a minute. If your older dog rushes at the pup, bites him, shakes him, or generally treats him too roughly (and not in a playing kind of way), you need to reprimand him and separate them.

When this happens, interaction should be a little less hands-on, perhaps put the pup in a playpen, or use a baby-gate to keep him in the laundry room or mud room, out of harm’s way. But still allow the older dog to see and sniff him through the mesh or bars….

…. this way they’ll get used to each other from a safe distance to begin with. If, after a few days, you reintroduce them face to face and your older dog still acts as though he thoroughly dislikes the pup, you may need to rethink the situation.


Want To Know How To Introduce A New Dog To Your Pack, Too?

Check out the DVD series that will help you work with both the current dogs in your home as well a new dog, to make sure they all get along, without having to resort to using harsh methods.

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  1. Jana Rade says:

    Great point! We were very careful when deciding on getting a buddy for our Jasmine. We definitely wanted a male for her and we wanted one happy-go-lucky, easy going. We went through the puppy evaluation ritual and it seems we picked well. They love each other and get along wonderfully.


  2. Harley says:

    Great blog, very informative, I liked this post about introducing your dog to your pack..good stuff..I hope you will vist my blog..


  3. Gale says:

    If you have socialized your dog properly, and taken classes to make them self confident, with the proper introduction on neutral ground, you shouldn’t have a problem.

    I have a 10 year old brother-sister pair with obedience and agility titles; when I brought home a dog who had been a stud in a puppy mill and confined to a crate for 4 of his 6 years, there was no problem at all, and even some nurturing and my girl showed him how to play, and my dominant male showed no aggression at all. This summer, I imported a puppy from the UK, and left my dogs at friends when I went to the airport to pick her up; when I arrived back at my friend’s house, I let her out onto the grass (she was 4 months old and had all her shots), and she ran to meet all the other dogs, and they investigated her calmly, looking at me as if to say “are you bringing this one home?”

    When we got home, she found her place in the pack, but as an effervescent 10 month old now, she tries to improve her position by being cute, but is quite happy where she is. It was a good addition for the cat because now she can get rid of the toys she was less fond of… the the puppy destroyed them in no time for her.

    My home is a zoo with my obedience and toilet trained cat who thinks she is a dog (when I practice the recalls, she waits for her turn at the end of the hall, and hollers if I don’t call her to a front like I did with the dogs), a puppy who can win even the most surly dog, a rescue with a sense of humour, and 2 old farts that keep them all in order. LOL

    I wouldn’t be alive without my dogs and the cat; they make me smile and laugh no matter what is going on.


    Vicky Reply:

    you are so hillarious. i love the part where the cat waits for its turn during the recalls. bwhhahaha love it! you made my evening! kudos!


  4. Susanne says:

    I have a 10 year old Siberian Husky male dog. Last summer I wentfrom my home in south Spain to Norway to buy a puppy from a musher breeder of Siberians. His dogs all run free under supervision – and can be recalled with no fus-very rare for this breed. My 2 now get on fine. Tor the adult has been extremely patient with Freja the puppy who came as a 9 week old. He is also protective if other dogs look like they are likely to be aggressive. It has been a fantastic success and has improved his life quality immensely.Previously he often looked bored, now he looks happy and content – elbeit sometimes having to ask her to lay off when she becomes too exuberant!


  5. Val Sena says:

    I have 3 rescues whom I didn’t have the luxury of screening. Each has issues and
    They have worked out a peace. My first a Shih Tzu male was a breeder’s stud. He wasn’t performing
    So they decided to put him down. We, of course, had him neutered. He had never been on grass or out
    of a full show cut. It took time and patience to get him comfortable in the world.
    A year later an emergency rescue brought a pommepoo into our home. She had been left in an apt of an elderly couple. 3 days later I broke my arm. While recovering I discovered Lucy was in heat. I had assumed that the initial rescuer had handled that. Our then neutered Sami began humping everything in sight. He had caught on. Once all was again calm Lucy spayed Sami ok with this 7 lb. Girl, my huband’s nephew showed up at our door with their 2 yr old Havaness who as biting. With we took him or they were taking him to the SPCA to be euthanized. Sami looked at me like “Oh, mom, you wouldnt.” We did and this dog was a mess! He’d been tethered on a chain or crated his entire life. Th family had 3 kids who’d play with him by running in and out of his range.

    It’s now two years later. Everyone is calm and confident and I’m trying this program. A true work in progress. The point is Sometimes dogs just come into your life and you have to try to make that lemonade.


    Diane Reply:

    I agree with you. My dogs all seemed to come to me when they needed to and it always worked out. I would love to have the luxury of “doing it right” but that never seems to happen. I am always careful about supervision and feeding times but I think the dogs I rescue must come with their own Guardian Angels to smooth the way!


  6. Maggie says:

    I have always heard that it is best to take your current dog(s) to a neutral location (an above comment also recommended this) to meet the new puppy. What kind of place should it be (an 8-week old puppy has not finished his shot program). Also, how much time should be spent introducing them. I assume the at-home dogs are wondering as you have probably been preparing a crate and/or area at home for the new arrival.

    I know I made a mistake when I got my last puppy. He came by plane and we did not take our current dog with us to get him. We then brought the puppy home without any introduction away from home. The result was that our current dog (age 5 at the time) would have nothing to do with him. The puppy, of course, wanted to follow him around. It took a very long time, they are good with each other now (age 9 and 4). I am considering another puppy, but want to “do it right.”



  7. Barbara says:

    I would like to say that socializing the dogs really has little to do with how well they get along when your pup grows into a socially mature dog. Dogs are “hard wired” with certain behaviors. In the very near future, the effervesent play that is tolerated by the pack now (because they recognize she is a pup), will soon be dealt with more sternly. In the next two to four months as she steals toys, treats and continues other puppy antics, do not let her get away with it, and do not allow any posturing from your other dogs. Watch for signs of dominance such as T’s,(the dog will show dominance by putting it’s head over the shoulder of the pup and pressing down), mounting (means it is getting more severe), and finally snapping at the pup. All of these behaviours will eventually lead to a fight if not watched closely and stopped now. The most patient “wonderful” dogs can quickly turn into vicious fighting animals you would not recognize. One more word of caution, your female may be the one to turn on the pup, so watch her closely for signs of agression and don’t underestimate the aged dog. It is very common for old dogs in the pack to feel threatened by a younger female.


  8. PJ says:

    Good article. We brought home two female puppies, roughly the same age, but one a Lab and one a Setter mix. For the first year they played together very well. After that, something changed, and the Lab would kill the Setter if allowed. I still work on walking them together on leash, muzzling the Lab around the Setter, but still the Lab will attach the Setter if they are in the same room for a while. For 10 years now, they are both 11, we have kept them in separate rooms. I introduced a rescued, neutered male Lab into the house, and he gets along great with either dog.


  9. Jean says:

    I have a male neutered collie, age 5. I have started to foster critically ill dogs. Have brought only females into the house but find that my collie is very jealous of the new arrival, the extra attention and feedings every 2 hours because these are dogs that have been starved.
    Have started to give my collie a small treat every time I feed the foster and extra attention. Seems to work and he is more comfortable with the new arrival.
    I still have to keep them seperated but at least the new dog can walk past him without the growling.Would like to talk to anyone else that could help me as this is very important work. I do not want to worry my collie but at the same time I have no one else to help me have them meet on neutral ground and I don’t have the time to let them work it out. The foster is usually just days away from death. I adopted a small female cocker spaniel and he took to her right away herding her around the house. She is submissive but still holds her own if he gets annoying. Thank you so much for the great article about introducing new members to the family. The personalities of dogs are something to behold.


  10. Lynda Franklin says:

    I have a maltese/shitzu (sp?) cross and a 1 year old labrador. Need to get then to share the yard BUT small dog too scared of Lab (2nd dog) and Lab always wants to sniff litte dog and then a bit rough in play and little dog barks and snaps! How do I best get them to share the yard without Lab ‘attacking’ the smaller dog? Need help as I am going carzy having to ‘walk smaller dog outside when needs to go to toilet, play etc.


    Laura Reply:

    I have the exact same problem. We have a 5 year old Maltese/Shih Tzu cross and a 4 1/2 month lab pup. The puppy is all over the little dog, and even though the little dog gives him warnings to back off the pup doesn’t listen (which I find weird given the pup is so submissive with other dogs). I know I am way late with this reply but was wondering how they are doing now, and how you managed to get through the tough times? Thanks!


  11. cyndee says:

    It’s refreshing to read something that’s realistic and not sugar coated. Good article.


  12. Eileen M says:

    Very interesting post. I always thought it was me being a bad trainer when my dog accepted male dogs (neutered) but would raise her hackles with female dogs


  13. o0risa0o says:

    wow, I already got a new dog before I read this
    a female and a male

    my female’s a new puppy mutt of the house, Chika.

    and Sam, the adult male Dachshund.


  14. Sharon says:

    We recently acquired a female (not spayed) German Wire show dog as a companion to my Neutered Male. They will roughhouse and play but have recently began to fight. What is the best option for this and what can I do to acclamate them to each other to form a civil union. We have been there to pull them apart and reprimand for bad behavior. Thye are fed seperatly on seperate dies of the house so there is no food agression.


  15. Drin Buell says:

    I am moving in with a man who already has an established pack of 3 male dogs. I have an adult female dog who is aggressive with other dogs. We have to find a way to get them together. Hope something helps.


  16. Jarrod says:

    Hey I have a beagle cross celpie that’s loves to break free of the yard, my partner and I were thinking of getting another dog to try and stop this escape artist, our dog is 2 years old and female, was wanting to get a similar aged labradore male, will this idea work? Also our dog defends us on the lead and can’t be taken off or she will run away, can we introduce them in the large back yard? Also any other ideas you might have would be very helpful. Thanks


  17. Nicole says:

    i’m thinking of adding a male jack russel that my friend cant keep, this article has been very informative on how to introduce them.


  18. Lisa says:

    I have two 20 pound dogs a Pom and a dachshund. We recently found an abandoned dog about 40 pounds and tried to bring her in. Our Pom was terrified and the dachshund was barking at her the whole time. As a result we had to bring her to the shelter. I have not been able to stop thinking about her since we left her there. I would like to go get her and give this another try. I am looking for opinions as I think my heart my be making me decision and not logic. 🙂


    Minette Reply:

    It can take smaller dogs a while to adjust to a new “larger” dog.

    I have always been told and do agree if it is the existing dogs that are showing more territorial behavior and slight aggression it is better than bringing a dog in that is barking at YOUR dogs or scared of YOUR dogs.

    This barking and carrying on by your dogs help the new dog figure out he/she is not top of the pack.

    If you do it, the best is to have them meet at a park and spend a few hours walking them together or just hang out while you BBQ or do something fun. THEN take them home.

    Dogs are often more territorial at home.

    Then keep the new kid on a leash for several days if not longer to help the older kids feel like they can get away from her if they decide. Eventually if they all get along you can let them interact!

    As long as you aren’t worried someone is going to “kill” someone else, it is worth another more controlled try!


  19. christine says:

    Great article!

    I saw an advert and answered it, hoping to get a companion dog for my 3yr old maltese spayed female. Took my maltese to see the offered shitzu cross female spayed nearly 4yr old. The ‘new’ shitzu was cross with I don’t know what and had a go at mine a couple of times, was larger and definitely dominant. My maltese was extremely well behaved, calm, wandered around, friendly but decided not to take on the ‘new shitzu’ as I didn’t want mine to be hurt when I wasn’t at home.

    Glad I took my maltese to check the shitzu out, could have been a disaster at home.

    Is it better to get a spayed female or male for my spayed female maltese?
    My maltese was abandoned before I brought her home and I don’t want a new companion to her her.

    Any ideas?


    Minette Reply:

    It is always best to have male and female, some females are very dominant with other females!

    I prefer male/female households, then neutered males, and then spayed females but usually in tact males and female/females are less likely to get along.


    Brenda Reply:

    I recall reading (or hearing on one of the dog training shows), that the eldest or the female is always the pack leader. I presume this is why the ‘new’ female was upset — she wanted to be pack leader, but sensed your current dog already was (&/or she was just being territorial??). I would suggest looking for a neutered male dog to accompany the one you have, already.


  20. christine says:

    Thanks Minette,

    Appreciate your reply. Have done some research since and found I need to get a neutered male companion for my maltese if I can.

    I would say that the female shitzu cross that I went to see would have been a very dominant female and wouldn’t have got on with my maltese and she is such a cutie and very protective of me – a great little watchdog.

    Thanks again Minette for your knowledge, appreciated.


  21. Lindsay says:

    We have a 7 month old male mongrel, not yet neutered we have had since 12weeks. We are
    Arranging to adopt a neutered male cross, aged aprox 1 to 1.1/2 from Crete, who has been a stray but is currently in foster care with other dogs. The new dog will be smaller than our current dog, but older. We won’t have the chance to meet him until he arrives on the boat, though I know several people who have already adopted a Cretan rescue dog, and as they have grown up in packs they seem to be very good with other dogs.
    We are planning on introducing them to each other away from the home, and all going for a pack walk before we bring them home together. I was wondering if we should expect one dog to be more dominant than the other, given the 7 month old has lived here longer and is currently entire but a puppy, and the new adopted dog is older and wiser and more used to cohabiting with other dogs. Do we just let them sort out the pack order between themselves, safely, or should we try and support our first dog do he doesn’t feel pushed out!? Any tips greatly appreciated, thanks


    Minette Reply:

    I would get your dog neutered!!! There is no reason for him to be in tact and it may affect how he feels about the new dog. Testosterone causes dogs to act in negative ways.

    I would keep them on leash and control their environment until you are sure they will get along. One big fight in the beginning would be bad for their future!


  22. Sharon says:

    Hi–really helpful blog! We have just brought a new a puppy into our house and we have two older dogs (both 11) and things aren’t working out very well. The two older dogs are both big male neutered dogs (a rescue mutt and a greyhound) who have been together for about nine years–they typically respect one another’s space. The puppy is a 14 month old female wolfhound who is very exuberant, already weighs 45lbs and respects the personal space of no person or no dog. She also doesn’t pick up on any warnings or social cues from the two older dogs. We do try to give the two older dogs breaks from her and to make sure that they get plenty of attention too. So far lots of growling and snapping from the older two but no blood drawn. We don’t leave them together unsupervised. To some extent I feel like they need to work out the pecking order but the puppy is just incorrigible. Any advice appreciated!


    Minette Reply:

    I keep my puppies on a leash or a tie down until everyone is getting along.

    I have a dog that doesn’t get along with my other two and he has been with me for a few months. My big dogs don’t like him and he doesn’t necessarily want to like them.

    So he’ll hang out with me on leash and on a tie down until they all work it out. However my bigger dogs need space from him. They know where “his” area is and only wander into it if they want to visit with him and then I determine how their interactions go; but they are never unsupervised… when he goes out they come in and vice versa.

    I have seen too many dogs seriously wounded and killed by other dogs to just make them work it out; and my big dogs are already a “pack” so the puppy wouldn’t have a chance if he started something with one of them.

    It just makes life easier for me and them and safer and he has lots of space still and toys and gets to be off leash in the house occasionally when they are outside… but we are still working on his manners and obedience too!


  23. Mel says:

    The problem is this doesn’t take into account what happens when there’s no choice but to integrate new pets. I had two neutered male Shelties–one I’d had for four years, another only four months–when my son in the Army came down on orders for Afghanistan. His two dogs, a neutered male Cocker and a spayed female Sheltie, had nowhere to go as my son is single, so I took them. All four are within 2 inches of each other in size. The males are all pretty laid back. The female is 17 months old, barely more than a puppy (she was 10 months when I got her). My son told me when I got her and the Cocker that the female, Adrian, was “a jerk.” We got them in February. Adrian is the only female in the “pack” and is still a bully to the other three dogs, who are all pretty laid-back temperamentally. She’s sweet and vulnerable to me, but to them she nips and herds unmercifully. I know shelties herd anyway but she never stops. One of my two males has finally gotten fed up with her and started fighting back. When a dog really goes after her, Adrian shows her true colors–she’s a coward and runs away screaming before the first tooth touches her–but a few minutes later she’s back for more, just being a pest until Connor gets fed up with her again. I have to keep her on a leash with me all the time or put her in a crate. At mealtime especially. She knows she’s supposed to sit by her dish but if she’s not restrained she’ll dart out and chase Bodie away (the more timid of my two males). I have her in obedience classes, and on-leash she is intelligent and anxious to please, but when the leash comes off she is a “jerk” to the other three and makes up for her previous good behavior. She acts like she thinks it is all a game, but the other three don’t like her much, and I can’t blame them. Any suggestions? Re-homing is not an option.


    Minette Reply:

    Leashing is what I would do for now so the boys can live without having to feel in danger or worried about her and give her other things to do.

    But most important is you aren’t meeting her exercise needs. She needs to be soooo tired that nipping and herding is her last thought.

    She does this because she is young and she is bored. It is her natural instinct to herd but if she is too tired she won’t want to.

    Take her out and RUN her!!!! If you meet her physical and mental needs for exercise and training my guess is she will get much, much better


  24. maritza says:

    I recently lost my girl yorkie, her companion died 2 yrs earlier, they got along great, they had herat problems, they live 12 yrs, I was devastated and depressed so my girlfriend flew from FL bringing me her yorkie, Max, (fixed) who is 5 yrs old, she knew that being a house with no children and both of us working from home would be a perfect scenario for her beloved Max. Max is happy with us, a little problem here and there wants to be out all of the time, so he whines, we are working on that is only 3 mos. My son has 3 yorkies and decided he could not take care of all and his new babies. SO I will get his yorkie, Remy who is 7 yrs old!! He lived in the house with his mom and dad, but requires constant attention and he is very skinny. My friend again, from FL is flying here with Remy (not fixed). Max gets along with other dogs at the park, and we will introduce them in neutral territory, but I am afraid of the markings and the fights that I have read in here, Max has a great home and attitude, if it wasn’t because my son was in a bind I would have said no…how do I keep these 2 from playing alpha dog and does it matter that remy is older in the alpha dog thing? Do I crate remy? Max sleeps with us so we know it won’t be a good idea to have them both in bed in the beginning. Can you offer some advice? tks


  25. Robin says:


    I could use a little feedback. I have a rat terrier who is domanite female and can be aggressive. I am looking at a rescue rattie, she’s docile and sweet. I would love to have her, but, now having some serious thoughts maybe it’s not a good idea. I am going to go see her today, and take my dog Baby to go see her monday, with plans on bringing home the new dog friday. Today is May 23, 2014.

    Baby doesn’t react to other dogs real well, but, so far all the other dogs have been big dogs. We live in a fairly good sized house and out in the country. So space won’t be a problem.


    Minette Reply:

    You have to be willing to deal with the consequences.

    What will happen if your old old never takes to the new one? Will you give up, will you separate them if need be so they don’t fight.

    Do you realize not all dogs get along and some never will.

    If you are willing to deal with all the repercussions of having a new dog no matter what… go ahead with the process… if not… think about it and don’t take another dog unless your dog WANTS another housemate and can share.

    I have 3 dogs and only 2 out of three get along the others tolerate while I am around and must be shifted in and out… it makes for a long and arduous lifestyle


  26. Greg says:

    hi there, I would like your opinion on something. So my wife and I have a 6 year old purebred male boxer (well it’s hers) and I wanted to get my own dog because Deisel (boxer) is pretty much always at my wifes parents place (my father and law and him are THE best of friends). So I found someone who was selling a purebred Siberian Husky (name is Jake, also a male). Jake is a very good dog, and listens extremely well, just like Deisel, and 99% of the time they get along. However every once and a while Jake snaps at Deisel for not reason. The thing is Deisel is the biggest baby, as dogs go, because he just loves any and everyone and hates conflict. So he shows no aggression towards Jake, and they even slept beside each other last night no problem. I just got Jake last night (July 4th) and maybe it’s to soon to freak out, but is there anything I can do to avoid Deisel getting bitten or hurt, because as badly as I want this to work out, this is Deisels house first and I am not going to let another dog come in and bully or attack him. Any suggestions on what to do ? Oh yeah and neither one of them are fixed. In case someone replies on here and I don’t see it, please feel free to email me at thanks so much everyone.


    Minette Reply:

    Keep Jake on a leash to teach him about his space and the obedience that you aren’t going to tolerate this aggression


  27. Merinda says:

    Hi There

    Our dog family consisted out of 2 Yorkies (male and female), a Bouvier and a German Shepard. Very sadly we lost both of our Yorkies last month (they were 14 and 13 years old)We just got a new male yorkie puppy of 10 weeks old with a huge attitude. The German Shepard (female) are very good with him and very patient but the Buvier (male) does not want anything to do with the puppy, he is also distancing himself from the family. All our dogs has always been house dogs with free range in and out the house but the Buvier does not want to come into the house anymore and would rather lie outside at the gate or at the swimming pooll. He also does not come when he is called. Whenever the puppy comes near him he would bark at him and run away. He does still have a healthy appetite. We are just not sure how to handle the situation? We were also planning on getting a female yorkie from someone immigrating (one year old) next week but not sure if it is a good idea anymore? Please can you give us some ideas?


  28. Marsha Woods says:

    I have a cross pit ball/ mastiff 8 month old male puppie & my partner has a 5 yr male boxer cross who is not very good wit other dogs how on earth do we introduce them wit out my partners dog attacking….?? Plz help this is stopping us from spending more time together…. Thanks any help would be great…!!


    Minette Reply:

    Keep them both on leash and teach them manners like down and stay. Dogs don’t have to meet each other, they can acclimate while doing obedience and making sure there is respect and everyone is safe


  29. tracker says:

    That’s all well and good when you *choose* to get a new dog, but people are always dumping dogs near our property and we wind up with dogs that we didn’t ask for. They dump all kinds of dogs, including chihuahuas, even though there’s no water out here and predators that could kill a dog. City slickers that think the countryside is Eden I guess. At any rate, I was looking for advice about introducing a large (and deaf) 10m old cattle dog into a pack of three chihuahaus. The chis get along well with our large lab (and previously other large dogs that have since passed away of old age). Just not sure what to do because the deaf one can’t hear (and is quite hyper) and the chis don’t listen lol


  30. Charmaine says:

    We got a female toypom last year and was it “killed” by our 7 yearl old male golden retriever (not neutered) on the second day.he went into the room where she was sleeping- possibly to play with her. When we found them the retriever was nibbling at the tummy of the toy pom and were there no visible injuries. unfortunately she died and were we informed by the vet that she had internal injuries. At that time we still had 2 poodles and the retriever (having grown up with the poodles) got along just fine with the poodles. (just to back ground’s sake- the retriever was not too happy about the new addition as he was barking very aggresively at first sight of the toypom. I later took the toypom outside to introduce them upon which he was rolling on his back on the lawn as he would do when he feels good – i was later told I misinterpreted the retrieving as feeling happy and excited, whereas, he was actually feeling threatened by either me/puppy).
    after this incident we took the retriever to obedience school – he is always very excited to go but barks aggresively (with a wagging tail) the moment he sees the other dogs. we had a few close calls where he actually wanted to bite other dogs. we are not used to this type of behaviour from him.

    we are planning on getting a small breed dog (toypom /poodle) again for my 6 year old daughter. The retriever is also very lonely after the recent passing of our poodles. would you recommend this combination?
    i am afraid to get a small breed dog again just to have a repeat of last year’s incident.


    Minette Reply:

    I certainly wouldn’t want to risk that happening again… despite what you think, not all dogs want to live with another dog.

    If you are hell bent on the idea,I would find an adult dog that you can test and has better manners than a baby.


  31. Ezequiel says:

    I have two female Chihuahuas and just got a new German Shepard puppy (also female), what I do to get along?


  32. Pam B says:

    What worked for me in a big lab, small dachshund situation is to have another small carrier/crate on the back porch and in the house where the smaller dog could retreat to safety when she felt threatened.


  33. Bulldog says:

    Hi, just need your opinion on that one.
    I have an english bulldog male, turning 5yo early next year and he is not neutered. Lately, we have seen a nice Male Staffordshire around 1.5 years old (Neutered) at a dog shelter and we are considering adopting him.
    As you mentioned, my main concern and priority is our English Bulldog and his safety as well as wellbeing.
    We visited the shelter and met with the gorgeous Staffordshire, he seemed like a nice fellow, nonetheless very active and quite hyper which causes me to doubt if it is the right decision.


    Minette Reply:

    The fact that your dog is not neutered and this dog is male (even though he is neutered) concerns me. Intact male dogs often don’t like other males, and will fight because their hormones tell them they are fighting over resources, even if females are not involved.

    The only way to know is to take the dogs to a neutral environment on leash and see if they enjoy each others company. It would be best to employ a trainer or a volunteer from the shelter to help you assess body language etc. before taking the dog home.

    And, then you must keep a good eye on them for at least a month to make sure they continue to get along.


  34. Tiff says:

    Need help please!!!
    I have a 4 year old pom female and she is very spoiled. I just brought home a 7 week old female pom. My older pom does not want anything to do with her she seems scared of her and avoids her at all cost. The little one just wants to play. What can i do to have my older pom to accept her and not be scared?


    Minette Reply:

    The truth is you can’t “force” a dog or a person to like anyone.

    No one can force you to like someone you dislike, right? it is even more true for dogs because we can’t reason with them to be adults. Reaad this

    Keep the puppy on a leash, give your old dog space don’t let the puppy get in her face and bother her or it will make her worse and hopefully with some puppy obedience and space she will begin to change her mind on her own.


  35. Julie says:

    I adopted a 9-10 month old mutt from a local rescue a couple weeks ago. Our lab shepherd dog Kali is a fixed 5 years old.
    This puppy is a fixed male and annoying as hell. They met at the rescue and all seemed good. i got them home and it’s been a rough adjustment period for all but there has been some positive changes. At first, when the puppy was on the bed at night and would be trying to get closer to Kali, she would growl. Last night he was actually sleeping with his head close to her rump. Kali has always slept with us and we want the new puppy To as well.

    During they day they want to “play” if playing is The puppy lunging at Kali and her wrapping her jaws around the puppies neck 😳 Sometimes in the backyard they start chasing each other and Kali will flip him over … It’s making me uncomfortable . Kali actually shares her toys which she would never do with any other dog and let’s him on her dog bed with her in the living room. While they both chew on a toy. She is fairly alpha that’s why I brought a male in. She allows tug o war with her toys with him also.

    Today I took Kali to my nephews baseball game and left the puppy at home because he dosent have his completed shots and can’t go anywhere yet. Not sure I’d wana bring his crazy ass anywhere …! At my nephews game there was another dog that Kali met a couple weeks ago, before getting this puppy. This encounter was viscous they both barked at each other Kali was on a leash the other dog wasn’t. Even my sister in law was surprised by Kali’s behavior. She was on the leash and the other wasn’t the last time they met (before bringing the puppy in the picture) and didn’t have that reaction. Is it possible this puppy is changing my older dog Kali??? Kali is the best dog ever. We thought she could raise this little guy to be good like her. Is that even possible it did I make a mistake by adopting this puppy?


  36. kim says:

    hi there well i have a 14 year old scotish terrier..who is as gentle as a baby…yet i have a 7 year old shitzu/ malteese who is agressive around the older one..i love them both but they need to be watched…my son has a 6 month old boxer who he needs me to look after for a this going to be possible…need advice…thanks


  37. Linda Miller says:

    I have a neutered 6 year old lab. He is our baby. We are going to get a new little female. I hope all will be well.


  38. Gail Mumma says:

    We have 2 dachshunds–one 7, the other 10. Our daughter, her husband, and their daughter will be moving in with us for ‘a while’. They will come with 4 chihuahuas who are about 3 years old. All seven of them will arrive at once one day! Our 2 have the run of the house, determine their feeding time and bedtime, and the younger one thinks she is the guard dog, baking at everyone passing by on the sidewalk. But she is also a helper dog–finds every dropped ice cube and scoots it to me, ‘tells’ me when it is 5 p.m. and the front door should be closed–and greets strangers very nicely. How will I handle this?


    Minette Reply:

    Carefully and with rules. I would require new dogs in my home to be on leash until my dogs are comfortable with them, this teaches them their place and assures my dog that this is still their home.

    The worst thing to do is let them all go or fight it out because once a bad dog fight starts they may #1 not survive or #2 never be able to be in a room alone without leashes again…

    It is easier to lay down the law first and then ease up as they do well rather than allow chaos and then try and fix things.


  39. Joyce says:

    This information is very helpful to me. My daughter is visiting for the day and has a male boxer almost 1yr. old. My dog is a female boxer almost 9yrs. old . Both fixed. I was wondering how they would respond to each other. Your article was very helpful and I thank you for posting it.


  40. kathy says:

    we have a 21 1/2 old bullboxer
    he is a beautiful dog and has been socialized since he was 2 1/2 months
    we just got a puppy female lab and he just loves her
    we took him to see the puppies when we {he meaning Bayley our boy} picked her out we wanted to get a chocolate lab but Bayley got along so well with this one
    anyway getting to the point
    3 days a week we have been meeting at the puppy park since Bayley was a pup but recently his is getting alittle aggressive with the new dogs coming in there to play
    he was never like that ever before I don’t know if its because hes protecting the pup or hes just getting older and he feels like hes needs to protect his pack
    what is the best way to address this problem


  41. I’ve just got an 8 week old shih tzu but I look after my daughters 10 month old cavachon they are both females .
    Naively I hadn’t considered that they might not get on Sally the cavachon is an adorable loving friendly dog. My new pup Poppy was born into a house were her parents and 5 other shih tzu live so was quite happy to meet Sally however I’m not sure I trust Sally’s behaviour towards Poppy she is permanently sniffing her then leans over her body the pup seems a little phased by this any advice please


  42. Paul says:

    Hello there,

    This is a wonderful article.

    I have 2 male pure breed GSD and LAB puppies,Both are same age 65 days. Do you think they will fight in future ?
    I dont want either of them to get hurt, i just love them both. My wife loves GSD and my son ( 6 years) likes Labrador.

    Please share your thoughts


  43. David lee says:

    Hi I have two female labrador retrievers both sisters from the same litter.sally is the pack leader and marlie is ok with that they are gentle loving and so affectionate. I am thinking of getting a 14 month year old danemastive to protect them and my 14 year old daughter. .thoughts please..David


    Minette Reply:

    Not all dogs want another dog added to the pack. Make sure they will accept it before you make your decision


  44. Sam says:

    Hello, I need help please. After 14 years of having our St. Bernard we were looking to introduce another pup (still same breed) however we had to lay our 14 yr old down while awaiting our new arrival due to kidney problems. Since we are awaiting to bring the new pup home (still have several weeks) a friend has asked us to take his 5 yr old female fixed Bullmastif whom he can’t take due to a job (requires traveling) we’ve been around and she listens to us and very affectionate. My question is aside of the leash training how would you introduce them both to our home which is now going to be their home as the time adjustment for the female isn’t going to be that long on her own before the male pup joins us. Help please.


  45. Sheila says:

    I have an adorable 11 year old female Shih Tzu who is really my daughter. We go to nursing homes, hospitals, etc., and cheer others. Now, there are two 2-year old yorkies (7/9pounds) whose human mother died and are in need of a home. What should I do?


  46. Joanne says:

    We adopted a rescue 2 yr old heeler pointer female from mexico 7 months ago. Very neglected starved abused dog that has come a long way but very reactive to other dogs until she knows them and to people coming into our home. Also quite dominant but obedient. We adopted a second rescue from mexico 3 months ago and she is a 2 year old female both are spayed, very insecure submissive sad looking dog, gentle w us but reactive to strangers in the house. She packs w our other dog and i cant have anyone to our house without them being attacked lunged upon etc . I have worked w a trainer but it seems to be getting worse. If i dont need a dogsitter or visitors the dogs are fine and get along very well most of the time. I am now considering rehoming the second dog because our first one s behaviour has gotten worse on walks w regard to other dogs and now the second dog is also lunging out at other dogs whereas when shes walked on her own she is fine. I dont know what to do do, do i rehome her and hope she doesnt just get passed from home to home wnd get even more screwed up or do i deal with it and hope in a year it will be better.


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