I have a 5year old Shih Tzu and recently got a 10week old Shih Tzu. I also have a much older dog whom both of my Shih Tzus get along with great and also with my 4 cats. But my older Shih Tzu is very scared of my puppy. They are both girls and they both get along with the other girl and boy dogs and cats, but not each other. I'm very worried. Is there anything I can do to get them to like each other?
By Ryansmom from TN
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I have A 10 year old Bulldog that we adopted 2 years ago and a 10 year old dalmatian that we adopted 5 years ago. We are thinking about getting a pup, but concerned about how the older dogs might take to him or if they will be jealous. We certainly do not want my older dogs to have hurt feeling by bringing a pup into the mix.
Julie from Washington State
You never really know how a dog is going to accept a new addition to the family; dogs have personalities like people do. It has been my experience, that an older dog will come closer to accepting a puppy, as opposed to an older dog, because in the dog world, dogs have "rank" on each other. In other words, one of your dogs will decide who is the "Top Dog", or alpha.
You cannot decide this, the dogs will, and both dogs will know their place, and will usually stay there. Once in a while you might have a scuffle when dog #2 tries to usurp dog #1's authority, but usually dog #1 stays that way until he either passes on, or leaves. All that to say, usually when a puppy enters the home, the puppy realizes that he is not top dog; he will defer to the older dogs, grovel a bit, let them know they have nothing to fear from him. They will growl at him, put him in his place a time or two, and things should be OK. As long as puppy stays in his place, that is. If puppy decides to challenge Alpha-Dog, then problems may occur, but they usually work themselves out. If the dogs continue to scrap with each other, (and you can tell if they really mean business or not, blood is shed, or whatever), then you can decide if junior has to go. All you can really do is give it a try, and hope for the best. I'm not sure if gender plays a major role in this situation or not. Good luck. (07/30/2008)
Unlike cats, dogs are pack animals and so a new animal coming into the pack is not a big deal. Especially if you're the alpha dog in the pack and what you say goes. Having a pup around older dogs can even perk up the old dogs and entice them to play more and eat better.
The only thing you have to watch for is that the pup doesn't continually bug the older dogs. They'll let him know if he does, probably with a sharp bark or growl, but then you need to step in and find something else for the puppy to do for a while. That's a good time to do some basic obedience training!
Make sure you separate the food dishes when feeding and don't let the puppy stick her nose where it doesn't belong. That's a good way to get nipped. My dogs are trained that no one goes near another dog's food dish; it's a good rule to have.
Another good thing about having older dogs (especially if they're well-behaved dogs) is they'll teach the younger dog the ropes.
The less you interfere the better. Dogs find their own balance and more likely than not, they'll get along fine. The tendency is to hover and fret, but don't. They'll figure it out.
Most of all, let everyone, you included, have fun! (07/30/2008)
I agree except for the hoping for the best and you might have to give the puppy up. There's a way to make anything work if you put the time and work into it. I've done it all my adult life and have "never" not had it work out. The dogs know what they're doing and all you have to do is watch and make sure it doesn't get out of control. Also I hope you're getting a dog from a rescue and not buying one. The rescue also might let you keep the puppy for a few days just in case. They would prefer it was a 100% good fit, too.
Personally, I prefer a dog at least a year or 2 old. They're more mature and under control. And it will be easier on your older dogs. Besides the puppy needs someone to play with and the older dogs probably don't want to do it. And that leaves your pup your sole responsibility to entertain. It's not fair to anyone. A lot of older dogs too don't want a puppy bouncing at them or around them. They deserve to have peace in their older years. (07/30/2008)