new dog being mean to original dog

Posted by deanna
Aug 21, 2008
Hello. A year ago I adopted a male lab mix from a shelter, with little information about his background. He is now 4 1/2 years old and a very good dog. We initially had some problems with him being the "alpha dog" in our home, but once I learned how to correct that, we've had no problems since. Last week, while on vacation, I found a very sweet, people-loving stray dog. We took him to the vet, got him vaccinated, etc, and discovered that he is about 9 months old, predominately pit-bull with some other breeds mixed in. At the moment he is not neutered-we are getting that done tomorrow. He's extremely underweight, but still weighs 60 pounds-the same as my healthy lab mix.

We came home from vacation with this dog, and introduced him to my original dog, who had been taken care of by a pet-sitter. I realize that this was probably not the best way to introduce them, to bring home a new dog when I'd been gone! But it did happen. At first they barked and were aggressive, and both dogs had to be leashed. My first dog, after awhile, realized that the new animal was a puppy and stopped being aggressive. Since it's his house, I assumed he should be the dominant dog, and I let him off the leash. He now enjoys the privileges he had before....he is allowed to roam the house and sleep in the hallway at night, while the new dog has to be in a crate-he chews everything and also has been "marking" everything that belongs to my first dog. I feed the older dog first, greet him first, let him go through doorways before the other dog....and it seemed fine for awhile.

Both dogs were off-leash, checking each other out, sniffing, tails wagging, and I turned my back for one second, and the next thing I knew, the new puppy had jumped on my older dog and had him around the neck, biting his head. I yelled and tried to pry him off with my foot, tried pushing him with my foot, and he wouldn't let go. I knew it was dumb but I ended up grabbing the puppy (the attacker) by the collar and pulling him up...he had such a grip on my other dog that the other dog actually came off the ground with him...I had to literally push my other dog to the floor just to separate them. I immediately yelled at the puppy and locked him in his crate so that I could take care of my other dog. He is ok, just some scratches and a little cut on his ear, but there was blood involved. He is now scared of the puppy and will not go near him. I don't want the puppy to become the alpha dog of the house-my other dog was there first and of course still has a bigger part of my heart....if they can't get along, it'll be the puppy who has to find another home. Does anyone have any advice how to stop it? Since the incident, I always keep the puppy leashed and far away from my other dog. I don't know what else to do. I want them to coexist-maybe not be best friends, but I'd like to be able to let them roam the house freely without constantly following them to make sure they're not killing each other. If anyone can help, I'd appreciate it. Thanks...
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 21, 2008
Hi there,

Below is my posting regarding adding new dog(s) to old dog(s). Hope it will help.


First of all, neutering the new dog will help a lot, in terms of aggressiveness and markings. You might want to wait until he recovers from the surgery to start working the two dogs relation, since the new dog will feel physically and emotinally unstable from the surgery and also it might take a while the actural result from neutering to happen.

However, it will be the perfect time for you to train the new dog basic commands and to establish your position as the leader.

Once he gets recovered and you become pretty comfortable with the new dog, you might want to re-introduce the two dogs, but very carefully, only under your supervision. You might want to have someone else to be present just in case the new dog acts like the last time. Keep telling him to be nice and watch his body language, such as tail position (if it's high up) or his hackles (raised or not), etc. I heard that pitballs have such tight grabs and don't let go. That's why some doggie dare cares don't allow pitball breed regardless of the nature of the dog.

If the new dog growls and gets aggressive, stop the session and wait for a while. If his behavior doesn't improve for 3 days, I would look for another family for him. The old dog don't deserve the hardship and the new dog can be happier with the family where he can be the "only" dog.

Good luck and let us know the progress.
Posted by deanna
Aug 21, 2008
Thank you....I read your old post and another one linked to it about two dogs/new dogs. I think I'll do what you suggested...I did have the puppy out today, working on obedience stuff, and he actually does pretty good. Despite his age, he's a blank slate with no bad habits to correct-so hopefully he will train easily and we can try letting the two of them be friends again. I didn't know that about pit bulls...I hate to admit it, but I didn't even know anything about them until I found out that's what he was. I just wanted to save him from a shelter life and possible euthanization...hopefully we'll be able to keep him, and in the future I'll definitely research the breed I'm thinking about adopting. It's not his fault that I took him home though, so I'm not giving up on him yet.....
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 22, 2008
Hi deanna,

I am sorry I didn't mean to discourage you about the pit bull's breed specific problems. It is just a general information so every dog is different and I am sure YOU know him better than anybody. Trust your own judgement and keep on working with him. Just keep my conceren in the corner of your head.

It is a challenging problem but it will be so wonderful if you can turn him around and gain his confidence. You and your new puppy will be in a trusty relationship after that.

Good luck