What Happens When a Puppy Jumps at an Older Dog?
Puppies like to play wild due to their immature age. Jumping at an older dog is one of their favorite moves which is extremely annoying for the senior companion. He usually responds by jumping up, barking, and growling.
In some cases, you may notice that the older dog uses his/her paw to push the puppy away. There is nothing to worry about as the dog is just telling the puppy that this is not acceptable.
Why Isn’t This Introduction Going Well?
Sarah Stremming said something really smart on a recent episode of Cog-Dog Radio: “Often, when you’re paying a trainer for help, you’re paying them to be a better splitter.”
Splitting is the term for breaking a behavior down into smaller parts. For example, your goal might be a dog who lies down on cue. Some dogs will just “get” the whole shebang right immediately – they lie down, you reward. Easy.
But in some cases, that’s too much for the dog right now. Rather than punishing them for getting it wrong, a good splitter will start by rewarding the dog for paying attention, then for lowering his head a bit, then lowering a bit more, then bending his shoulders, then bending his elbows, then lowering his belly, then touching his chest to the ground. A really great trainer can get even more granular about this as needed.
For many dogs learning to lie down, this isn’t necessary. It’s a pretty simple behavior. But for others behaviors (like starting to trust and accept another dog who currently terrifies your other dog), splitting is a huge part of success!
My guess is that Desperate for Harmony isn’t seeing success (and her Poodle cross won’t eat) because they’re not splitting the behavior down into small enough fragments.
Ok, great. So how do we fix that?
What Happens When a Puppy Enters the Space of an Older Dog?
Puppies are energetic and want to explore each and every corner of the new home. This doesn’t go well with the older dog as he doesn’t want another dog in his space.
Upon finding a puppy in his place, the older dog may growl or even snap as a sign of warning. The older dog wants to make it clear that this is a no-go area. As a dog parent, you need to realize that dogs don’t communicate like us and this is completely normal.