Big boy puppy annoying tiny adult female Chi

Posted by finerflower
Oct 18, 2011
I have a docile 4.5 year old female spayed Chihuahua who is about 7 lbs. She is very laid back and pretty much just hangs out and is an all around well behaved good dog.

We just got a 4.5 month old puppy about a week ago (shih-zhu terrier mix). He is a tiny bit bigger than the Chi. When he is fully grown I believe he will be about 10-15 lbs. I think he is overall well behaved for a puppy(except around the Chi). He is crate trained, pretty much housebroken, walks well on a leash, is learning “no bite” (we sub toys and kongs with treats when he goes for our hands). We definitely put the pup in the crate with a kong when we go out for short errands.

My husband works at home so the dogs are supervised pretty well and not left for long periods of time (3 hours tops). Before we go outside, I make them sit to be leashed and before we come back in I make them sit before I go in first, etc. I never reprimand them be name, and more often than not, they come when I call them by name. I train both dogs (using treats). The Chi can sit, stay, rollover, do a 360. The pup at this point I am happy with sit, and stay, I will progress as he gets older.

When we walk the dogs, they walk well together. However, inside, the puppy gets too physical after awhile. My problem is how much should I let the Chi and the pup socialize? My Chi growls, shows her teeth and generally shows her distaste when she has “had enough” of the pup. However, due to her diminutive size vs the pups larger size she isn’t really strong enough to “fight him off”. He really loves to torment her and doesn’t seem to get it and know when enough is enough.

Our current plan had been to let them go at it for a few minutes. Growling and snapping occur, running and chasing go on and after a few sessions, we call it quits and get the puppy away from the Chi by squirting him with a mist of water. At that point I generally sit on the floor with him and play with him and spend quality time with him to redirect his energy. He plays really well with me, tug of war, tossing squeakies about, etc.

I am all for letting them determine who is boss, however, how far do I let it go before my Chi gets hurt or it changes her personality to live in fear in her own home? Are we doing the right thing by letting them go at it and then redirecting the pup after the Chi has endured fair bit of “bad manners” from the puppy?
Posted by KOPCaroline
Oct 19, 2011
Hey finerflower,

Congrats on your new addition - it sounds like you're getting on fabulously and training is going well - he sounds like a great pup!

I think what you've described as your routine for letting them "play" and get frustrated with each other, and you calling it quits on behalf of your little girl is a great solution. I will say, however, that despite a size difference, if your Chi wants to assert her dominance in a meaningful way (more than growling and snapping), she will. Dogs communicate with each other very well, and while the pup might not pick up on every message - if your girl wants to, she'll put him in his place.

That being said, your interventions sound like they are going really well. Be sure to keep focusing on the pup as far as who is told to stop - you don't want to ever reprimand your Chi for saying she's had enough. Redirection is a great tool and it sounds like you're using it totally correctly. You may find, with enough repitition, that your pup comes to you once your Chi gives off the "leave me alone" signs - since you're the one he plays with after her now.

You may find that your pup becomes the dominant dog, simply because he's got a more boisterous attitude, and it sounds like your Chi is pretty laid back - she may not bother to try and "fight" for dominant dog position. Its perfectly fine if it works that way.

If you're concerned that your pup is taking things too far - work with your Chi to establish her as an "authority" over your pup (sooner rather than later if you're genuinely concerned). Feed her first, give her attention first, toys first, etc etc. I don't think this will be a problem though, I think your pup is just young and bouncy, and he will learn to respect your Chi more the longer they interact and the older he gets.

So overall, I think what you're doing now is great. I wouldn't worry too much about your Chi suddenly changing her behaviour because of the pup - just be sure to keep spending good one on one time with her and doing your normal things with her, and she should be fine!
Posted by finerflower
Oct 21, 2011

Last night the Chi actually initiated play with the pup!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Oct 23, 2011
Hope the good behaviour and play keeps up!