Dog training advice. Dogs not mixing well.

So about a month ago I got myself a puppy. He’s a cute little bugger and after a scare with parvo he’s growing up big and strong. Well, as big and strong as a chihuahua mix can. Problem is though, there’s no love lost between him and my father’s toy’ poodle. She’s seven years old and has never been around other dogs since she left her litter. Toby, my dog, being a puppy, wants to play and she wants nothing to do with it. It’s basically to the point where if they’re in the same room together she’s barking her head off at him and he’s either looking at her like she’s crazy or trying to play. The only time she’s not barking at him is if my dad is holding her. It’s driving us all a bit crazy with the constant barking. We can’t get too mad at her because we know this is some upstart little punk coming into her territory, and we can’t be too mad at him cause he’s just a puppy that wants to play. So what can we do? We’d hoped after a month things would have smoothed out between them but it’s just getting worse. Now he’s starting to think it’s a game or something and just barks along with her, wagging his tail the whole time.

I suggest separating them. If the older dog was never socialized, at this point in time there is no hope. Not to mention that a lot of older dogs, even when well-socialized, don’t really like puppies. You don’t want the young pup to learn bad habits from a poorly socialized dog. Find some other play dates so his socialization proceeds well; is he enrolled in a puppy class? All puppies should go to puppy class. The first 16 weeks of a dog’s life has a profound impact on later behavior so you kind of have to be careful what you expose the pup to. As many things as possible, but only in a positive way. If you go to a puppy class, the instructor should give you a lengthy list of things to expose puppy to in a good way during those early critical weeks.

Separating them isn’t really possible outside of locking one of them up in another room all day. I was looking into puppy classes but they’re like over $100 and aren’t something I can afford right now. I’m trying to socialize him as much as I can, taking him to my daughter’s softball games and the pet store to meet other dogs.

The chihuahua will try to dominate the poodle. Best is to let them work it out on their own. If the barking bugs you swat the barker with something harmless like newspaper as soon as he barks and discipline the chihuahua for instigating if needed. Preferable method would be to let the poodle put the new dog in line as long as it isn’t too violent.

Do you walk them together? That is a good way to get dogs to feel like a pack.

I don’t believe that a dog of 7 can’t be socialized. I also don’t see why you need to take the puppy to socialization classes but NOT the poodle. She can benefit from them as well, I promise.

If nothing else, walk them together, give them treats together and play with them together.

The poodle is, to the core, a lap dog. She’s never been on a walk and only goes outside to use the bathroom and sometimes roam around the yard when my dad’s out there. Otherwise, if my dad’s sitting (which is a lot, he’s retired), she’s being held by him. She also doesn’t play either. Literally her entire goal in life is to sit with my dad.

I thought they just needed to work it out on their own and so we’ve tried just letting it go. The poodle barks her head off, trying to run away from the puppy who just follows after her. She’ll then go to the nearest person and paw at their leg to be picked up. I’ll see if I can work on praising quiet behavior but getting a second of quiet behavior when they’re both around is going to be rough.

You need to beg, borrow or steal that $100 for the puppy class. There is really nothing like it that you can do on your own, for socializing. The instructor is also there to help with issues specific to your dog, such as barking, inappropriate elimination, biting, chewing…or getting along with the original dog.

If you live in a place where there are Petsmarts/petcos, some of them have free “puppy play” times, where puppies under 6 months can go and socialize with each other. The dogs teach each other how to behave around other dogs and they learn body language and bite inhibition, among other things. These are great. Obviously, only after your puppy has been immunized. I think the stores do it because you’ll probably buy a toy or a treat on the way out of the store, and then you will come back for your pet care needs in the future. (I sure did.)

Are there any public parks near you that have dog spaces? That’s a great place for socialization. Many even have separate areas for the smaller dogs.

Your Dad needs to hold them both together. Old dog does not get attention right now unless it is WITH puppy, and quiet. Pick up the puppy when he starts to look like it’s nap time, and just dump him on Dad’s lap with the other dog. When old dog starts yapping, put him down and ignore him. He’s attention-driven, so he’ll soon figure out that the barking is accomplishing the opposite of his goal.

Fight the urge to pay attention to the barking dog. Pet and make much of the quiet dog(s). It’s gonna be hellish for about a week, but if you don’t commit puppy is going to wind up at the pound. No one can live with that kind of barking indefinitely.

Yup. When Poodle goes nuts she gets a time out and is off Dad’s lap and in a crate or put in a room alone. When she’s quiet for a second or two she can come out, but if she barks again she goes away again.

The other thing you can do, though it may be too late now, is to get her to associate the puppy with treats, if she’s food motivated at all. Find something that she adores and she only gets it when the puppy is around. But you HAVE to have good timing! It need to go something like this:

-Poodle w/ Dad & quiet, puppy not in view
-Puppy appears (on a leash and as far away as possible) for a few seconds, Poodle sees him and gets a goodie BEFORE she reacts in any way beyond looking at him. Puppy goes out of sight more or less instantly.
-This scene repeated many many times, very gradually increasing first the length of time puppy is in view, and then how close they are.

BOTH dogs would benefit from obedience training from a qualified instructor. The poodle may be “just” a lap dog, but even lap dogs (or, in my view, especially lap dogs) need manners. Do a search for obedience clubs and trainers, don’t just go through Petsmart. Locally here we have a great obedience club that provides classes for all levels, and they aren’t close to $100.

If you cannot afford basic obedience work (or are not able to train dogs yourself) then you cannot afford a dog, IMHO.

Dogs can, and do, kill other dogs and behavior issues are common reasons given for euthanasia of healthy dogs.

Thanks for the advice guys. I’ll talk with my dad with trying the time outs and treats. I’d rather do that than bopping them on the nose honestly. As for the suggestion for Petco, I actually did show up for one of their puppy playtimes and was the only person there. An employee told me noone ever shows up to those. There is a local dog park but it doesn’t allow dogs until they’re 6 months old.

I understand where you’re coming from, I do. A long while back I was a vet tech and spent some time at a local pound. I know people get rid of dogs for behavior issues. But honestly, after just spending nearly $500 on parvo treatment (which was getting away cheap), I just don’t have it. I love the little guy to death and outside of the barking and a few housetraining issues, he’s a great little dog. He’s not going anywhere :slight_smile:

Sorry if I came off harsh. Two of our three dogs are from shelters where they were due for euthanasia due to behavior issues. Today they are great, but it took a ton of work, including some one-on-one work with a master trainer.

I don’t quite understand this situation. Do you live with your dad? Because if not, the answer is simple - don’t bring your puppy over when you visit your dad. There’s no reason a 7 year old dog that doesn’t want not socialize with your pup should be forced to change it’s personality/preferences. Sure, it might be possible to convince him to tolerate your pup, but it is going to take A LOT of effort and stress, and results are not guaranteed.

Disclaimer, I’m not a big fan of “lapdogs”, and have very little tolerance for yapping. They seem to behave differently in many ways than larger dogs that I prefer and have more experience with.

My 7 yr old golden is not at all interested in other dogs. He simply wants to chase a ball, and receive attention from people. Sure, I’d like it if he loved gamboling with other dogs, but that isn’t who he is, and I’m not interested in putting in the effort required to try to change it at this point. Our neighbors around the corner got a golden pup, and wanted to socialize her around ours. My dog simply wasn’t interested. And when the pup would try to be playful, when my dog had enough he would growl, bark and otherwise express his displeasure (tho never biting.) The neighbors were totally cool, and understood that dogs establish dominance in these ways. But I just didn’t enjoy seeing my dog act that way, and was wary that they might rapidly escalate to a nip or bite. Just wasn’t enough potential benefit on our part to take even that small risk.

We even took a session from the trainer they were using, to see if there was anything we could do to improve things. To the trainer’s credit, she did NOT say, “What you need to do is give me a lot of $ for a series of lessons!” :wink: Instead, she said it was unlikely he would change as significantly as we wanted, and to even get him to be more tolerant of her advances would require a TON of concerted effort. Just to be clear, my dog is perfectly happy to be near and ignore the pup, whether he is on or off leash. He only reacts when she advances.

2 of my kids have big dogs which they bring when they visit. The main thing we did was put away my dog’s toys when they came, as he would become jealous if they played with them. We did not force them to interact, but we DID require that my dog tolerate their presence. We do not allow our dog to bark continuously, and do insist on certain behavior. And we have no hesitation to use a strong word or a quick swat to reinforce the behavior we demand. But neither of these other dogs were rambunctious puppies insisting on playing. One was a pit mix the same age as my dog, and the other a rescue greyhound.

If you want to socialize your pup (which I highly recommend), I’d urge you to look into dog parks. (But I’m not a huge fan of dog parks for several reasons. Many folk bring poorly behaved and aggressive dogs. And the dynamic between little and bigger dogs can be problematic.) I think the best thing is to try to find other people - neighbors, friends, relatives - whose dogs ARE sociable, and actively seek out opportunities to get your pup together with them, rather than trying to tach your dad’s old dog new tricks.

You’re right, you’re not understanding the situation Dinsdale. Your dog didn’t like other dogs and would be indifferent or at worst slightly agitated when they touched his toys.

AngelSoft’s dad’s dog (presumably they all live together) is barking incessantly at the new dog, and the new dog isn’t getting the message.

I suspect things would be fine if the poodle was indifferent to the puppy (my dog and my brothers’ dog spent their lives indifferent to each other and it was fine) and **AngelSoft **wouldn’t be here asking for help.

Both dogs need training. The older one needs to not freak out and the younger one needs to get the hint that she is not interested in playing. Training is possible for both dogs.

Yeah, but as you said, the OP was not entirely clear whether everyone is living together. If they are, I don’t understand is why anyone in their right mind would bring a puppy into a household with an existing pet without FIRST ascertaining how the existing pet would respond. I guess I just had a hard time imagining that any thinking adults would allow this situation to occur. Impresses me as extremely irresponsible, and does not speak well as to both owners’ overall suitability to be responsible pet owners.

You can say both pets need training, which might be true, but if the owners were irresponsible enough to allow this situation to occur, then I’d imagine some training of the owners might be called for as well.


  1. First off - both dogs need more exercise. Poodles are active, athletic dogs. She needs real walks to tire her out. The good news is she has tiny legs and it won’t take that much. (The better news is your Dad could probably use the exercise, too.)

A 7 year old toy poodle is barely middle age. Get her out and moving!

  1. The Poodle doesn’t want to be a lapdog because that’s it her life’s mission. She wants to be picked up because she’s nervous and insecure.

  2. This is also why the poodle doesn’t like the pup. She’s insecure about a new dog in her area and around her person.

  3. The best news is that this will sort itself out in time. But it will need regular, calm, attention by the people.

  4. The pup is probably still too young to be neutered? That will help too.

  5. Everyone gets regular exercise every day. Feed them together, in sight of each other, but not right next to each other. Everyone gets the same treats.

  6. The humans should sit on the couch, in the middle of the couch, with a dog on either side. Both dogs get petted and talked to. Both dogs get treats. Don’t let the pub harass the older dog on her side. Reward the dogs when they quiet down.

  7. The goal is to reinforce that everyone lives together and the humans are in charge.

  8. It will be noisy but stick with it. This is why the walks to tire out the dogs will come in handy. Get them really tired and they’ll be more likely to sleep on either side of their humans.

  9. This is how human-dog packs reinforce themselves. Families eat together; families sleep together. Everybody lives together.

Good luck! I know it’s a hassle but don’t give up!

To clarify, we all live together. We didn’t think it would be a huge issue as years ago when I’d visit with my old dog, the poodle completely ignored her. And at worst, we figured there’d be a slight adjustment period and everyone would just settle down. I even specifically got a male cause I know there can be even more dominance issues if both the old and new dog are the same gender.

I’m kinda surprised at the animosity towards this. I really don’t consider myself a bad pet owner and try to go out of my way to make sure everyone’s well cared for. For what it’s worth, we’ve started doing time outs for the barking, for both dogs involved. We’ll see how that works.

I’m just glad to read that the cute little booger is healthy now! Hope you find something that works for this situation.

PS-we need more pics.

Reads Title - Please Og, Don’t let this thread be about a blender!

Reads OP - Thank You!!!