New puppy, old dog bad behaviour

Posted by jaas
Apr 16, 2008
Hi, I have a 5 year old male staffie/ collie Xwho had good obedience, showed little aggression to other larger male dogs but on the whole caused me no problems. I have recently added a 3 month old male staffie who at the moment is getting along fine with my existing dog ( I am aware there could be problems later) but it has caused the older dog to start ignoring my commands when he chooses, display signs of agression to the pup when he feel like it and when out at the park if another dog comes into his view he will stop and stare with his tail out holding a dominent stance, if the other dog does not invade his space and I call him over to me all is ok-my worry is that soon a strange dog will decide to take the challenge and I will end up with a dog fight on my hands. Also this is making it difficult for me to socialise my pup as I a now worried that if a strange dog comes near the older dog will react badly. To note, when the dogs are out together they ignore each other and just sniff and run I do take them out individually but that is not always going to be practical. Am I over reacting. I have being asserting myself and the rest of the family as the Alphas of the pack but it does not seem to make any difference. Any suggestions would be greatly received. Thanks.
Posted by Todd
Apr 23, 2008
Hi Jaas and thanks for the post

I am glad you have taken this seriously and have asked for help early on. I am also very stoked that you are enforcing your alpha status as this is usually where i start.

So we will start with obedience. I think it might be a good idea to start some obedience training with the old boy while the pup is present. Get the pup to sit a few metres away from you (being controlled by someone else). Then get the old boy to start training.....use the basic commands of sit, stay and come.

Work with him for 10 minutes twice a day for a week or so. You will notice the change in him. As he gets better and better move the pup closer to him.

Whenever he is showing signs of aggression eg barking, growling, nipping or lunging, he needs to be told of quickly. Use a loud grrrr or ahhhhh as well as throwing a blanket over him or squirting him with a hose. This will reinforce what is wrong and right and help control some of the problems.

Make sure he gets told off no matter how minor or major the aggression seems. If he gets away with it a few times it will undo all the good work you have been doing.

Try and bring people to you to socialise the pup. In this way you can socialise the pup and at the same time get the older boy to get over his random aggression. Make sure the pup is introduced to people etc slowly to stop any issues. The older dog needs to be told off if he is being out of line.

Make sure you don't enforce the older dog as the alpha over the pup as this will only serve to make things worse. Make sure they both get attention when they are being good. Don't pet both dogs at the same time but make the pup wait until the older boy has been petted then swap over.

I would separate their food bowls as well to stop any issues over this. You can then gradually bring them closer and closer together but make sure to oversee things so you can praise and reprimand as required.

When you are at the park start with him on a short lead. When he is aggressive reprimand him just like before. After a few days give him more and more lead to give him more freedom while at the same time you can still reprimand him.

In this case i think it may be a good idea to try some antianxiety medication to try and take the edge off his aggression. The aggression may be based on stress from bringing the new pup into the house. DAP and rescue remedy are both great products that can help enormously.

There are some other products you can talk to your vet about.

Good luck with him, let me know how things go and make sure you shout out if you need anymore help.

Posted by jaas
Apr 23, 2008
Thanks for the tips Todd. Already keep the food bowls seperate but will try out the other stuff. Thanks.