New pup with older dogs

Posted by 666akita666
Aug 14, 2011
I have a 7 year old male German Shepard half blind and a 5 year old female Shiba Inu. The Shiba is alpha. I just an 8 week old male American Pitbull. The German Shephard puts up with him a little but does growl and shows his teeth. He will stop when I tell him no. The Shiba whoever is not excepting him at all and growls at him. Some of her movements makes me think she is afraid of him, but I don’t know this for sure. The other night when the pup was running around the room and the Shiba was on the coach, the pup lunged at the Shiba a bit too quickly and the Shiba growled and snaped at him (but didn’t touch him). Now last night when I came home from work the pup has gotten out of his kennel (it wasn’t closed right) and he had been running all over the house with both dogs out. I know he must have had the Shiba put him in is place because the pup sits up and doesn’t move when the Shiba passes by him. How should I go about making this setup work??
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 14, 2011
Hi 666akita666,

First of all, I would always crate or separate the new pup when you cannot watch them, at least for a while until you notice that there is a trustful relationship among the 3 animals.

Dogs never miss by snapping. They snap because they don't want to bite but want to let the other dog know that it's not acceptable, especially when it's done by an older/more experienced dog. The younger dog (in this case your pit pup) should learn to realize his position in the pack so I think your Shiba is doing a great thing to show the Pit his position. If you see your pit ignoring the Shiba's snapping or growling, you might want to make sure that the pit understand his position with your help. I would never scold my own dogs for telling my foster dog his/her boundaries by snapping or growling at the very beginning. It is much faster and more effective than we, people, tell a new dog. They speak the same language.

In our case, it is usually Noah, who doesn't like to get a new comer's face too closed to his face, snaps the new comer right away so that the new dog steps back and keeps a safe distance from him. As they get to know each other better, the distance becomes shorter and the two dogs put their heads in a same bush to sniff on walks but otherwise the new dog learns to keep the distance within Noah's comfortable zone.

If my foster dog is an adult and rather stubborn or strong personality Noah's snapping can cause a little fight but with my loud "Hey" always startles the dogs and stops fighting. I, then, make sure that Noah always win my trust by putting the foster dog in position; in other words, I stand on Noah's side to make the foster dog understand his own position.

While all my 3 dogs are not playful and very friendly to other dogs, they are not mean dogs so they would not prefer any fights or conflicts even with new comers. In my opinion, new comers should learn to respect my dogs' feelings if they want to stay with us.

Fortunately your pit is only 8 wks old so it is the perfect age for him to learn how to live with your existing dogs in harmony.

I am sure your Shepherd and Shiba Inu will be his good role models in terms of trusting people and living comfortably with people.

Good luck
Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 17, 2011
Hey there,

I'm not sure you actually need to do anything in this situation! It sounds like you've got a new pup, and the other two are older, so they're grumbling at his somewhat annoying, energetic antics and telling him off when he gets too annoying. This is pretty standard behaviour when a young, new dog enters a house with older dogs already present.

Just keep an eye on all three of them - make sure the pup isnt antagonizing either of your older dogs, and make sure an actual scuffle doesn't break out, especially between your Shiba and the pit pup. It sounds like your other dog just tells him off, but is a bit more tolerant of the new addition. You don't have to tell your Shiba off for growling or even snapping, but do yell to break up any contact or fights that get out of hand (aggressively). After the fight, calm your Shiba down first, pat her, pay attention to her - this will help your pup (as MHN said) to realize his place, and that your Shiba is boss.

You can try the basics like greeting your Shiba first when you come home, feeding her first, giving her toys and pats first - all in front of the pup. This sort of behaviour (so called "favouring" one dog - its not actually what you are doing though!) helps establish pecking orders in mulit-dog houses. If you crate your pup when youre gone, which is a great idea, keep him in the crate until you've interacted and said hello to your Shiba. Let him out after both older dogs have gotten some love

Hopefully this helps, but I wouldn't worry too much. Even if an occassional fight breaks out - its pretty normal, and usually they don't escalate too much, the puppy should back off pretty immediately - but do step in when it happens, we certainly dont want to encourage the behaviour! Let us know how things go, and congrats on the new addition!