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Dog Ignores New Puppy
                      

                       


Question:

My dog ignores my new puppy.  I have a one and a half year old male Yorkie named Bentley. I just bought a second puppy, female named Kynlee, who is 7 weeks old, this past Friday. The idea was to give my male a playmate but he doesn't seem to be warming up to her at all. In fact when we brought her home, that night he didn't want to have anything to do with us. He sleeps in our bed and usually curls up next to my wife but he didn't do that Friday night; he laid at the end of the bed.

He also wouldn't lay next to her on the couch like he usually does about an hour before bed time. It's like he was mad at us for bringing in another dog. I read in the book that it's normal for dogs to ignore each other at first. But the puppy came from a house full of dogs and played all the time with the older ones.  Is this normal for my dog to ignore the new puppy?  And how long does it take on average for them to bond? Also, should we let her try to play with him or give him his space
?

                                  


Answer:


Hello Don,

It can be perfectly normal for a dog to ignore a new puppy. The great part about this is that you just got your new puppy this past Friday!  It is very normal for a dog to take days and even weeks to become used to a new family member.

It is a huge adjustment when a dog suddenly is not the only animal in the home.  Dogs like routine...they like knowing when things are going to happen and exactly what is going to happen...

When a new puppy comes into the picture, everything is turned upside-down for a while.

Another good element of this is that your dog is ignoring your new puppy instead of growling or showing other signs of aggression... You see, problems could be brewing if the dog was growling at the new pup, snapping at her, etc.  Ignoring is your dog's way of assessing the situation and patiently waiting things out to see what is to happen.

When your dog seem distant to you (won't sleep close as before, etc), do not take it so personally.  He is just being wary, unsure right now of "what is happening".  As time goes by, things will settle and he will have a better understanding of the new family.

You can help by not ignoring him back... At the same time, you do not want to overdo things either!  (If you overdo your affection to your male, he may believe that he is being rewarded for his distant behavior).  Therefore, give hugs, gives kisses, talk to him, play with him, etc.

It is VERY important that you help both dogs quickly understand where they are in the "pack".  The older male will be the Alpha. The younger female puppy will be the Beta.  In other words, the male will be the leader.  Dogs can have a terrible time trying to figure this out between themselves and fighting can occur...For this reason, do help with this....

Here are some easy ways to establish this:

When bringing them outside, always put the leash on the older dog first, always have the older dog leave the house first, followed by the female.

When coming back into the house, the older male should be allowed to enter first, followed by the female.

When eating:  It is VERY important that their eating areas NOT be close to each other.  Ideally, you will want each dog to have their own corner of the kitchen for their food and water bowls.  You will want to feed the male first...and then the female.... You do not need to wait until he is done eating!....Simply wait 5-10 seconds after placing his food down before you then place the pup's food.

To help the dogs reach a point of being comfortable with each other, give your male space and freedom to gradually accept the new living arrangements.   It is very important that the older dog is able to get away from the puppy whenever he wants to....You see, young adult, adult and senior dogs can have a very low tolerance for "puppy play".   Puppies are usually very hyper, very silly, very active, they may nip when playing, etc.  Your male needs to be able to "escape" from this when he feels that he needs a break.  Be sure to never gate them both into a room together, etc.

Allow him to be able to retreat to his bed or to another room when he wishes.

It is best if you allow them the OPTION of playing in the same room...and leave it up to them.  Most likely, the puppy will try to play and after a while the older dog will want to retreat to find some quiet time.  You will see that in time, this will all change...

When you speak to him, try very hard to do so in a "matter-of-fact" voice.  Dogs have an uncanny ability to read us.  He will be able to tell by the tone of your voice what is happening.  Don't over-sooth him and don't show irritation at the situation...simply speak as if all is fine..and he will pick up on that.

Finally, relax and give this a bit of time.  This is a new situation...  If you do not push things and just allow your male to go at his own pace, he will begin to accept the puppy.  While there is no exact guideline in regard to time, it is reasonable to expect that it may take about 1 month for your male to be back to normal.  After that, you may find that they become best friends!

A final word of advice:  Please have your male neutered and your female spayed (if you are not planning on breeding).  The last thing that you want is for your dog to be mounting your new puppy....and you certainly don't want  a young female (under the age of 2 years) to become pregnant.   If both are "fixed", they will be able to relate to each other simply as "dogs" and be friends.



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