Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

New Puppy and Older Dog

by Sarah R.
(Manassas,VA)



My husband and I had been wanting a new dog for a while now. We already have a 9 year old Maltese named Oliver. Well, we decided on getting a Miniature Australian Shepherd. This is our first time owning one and we fell in love with her right away. Oliver? Not so much.

She is now 11 weeks and when we brought her home at 7 weeks, we introduced them outside in an open space and let them sniff around. Oliver was immediately submissive to her. We've been told time and time again that they will work out their issues on their own. Well, Zoe would chase and nip at his behind and he would run and hide or get up as high as he could to get away from her. All I wanted was for him to stand his ground and let her know he didn't like it. Well, for the past couple weeks he has finally stood up for himself. He growls and chases her to say he does not want to be bothered with her nipping.

I know she is in full puppy mode and all she wants is a playmate but, he is not having any of it. Neither have hurt each other and I know they don't want to. But, she takes his growling and chasing to say back off as PLAY PLAY PLAY. Her little nubby tail gets going and she wants more while, he just wants to be left alone. He's played with many dogs before but never a nippy pup. We let them have their little chase and bark-fest but, after a while we spray them with a water bottle and tell them ENOUGH and to go their separate ways.

I would love any advice you had to offer on how to go about this the correct way or if you have ever been in a similar situation. We are enrolling her soon in puppy classes. I know if it weren't for the pouncing at his face and nipping his behind, he wouldn't really mind her. I would just like them to have fun with one another. I know it won't happen overnight. I look forward to your responses!

Comments for New Puppy and Older Dog

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New puppy and older Dog
by: Wilma

I believe what your dog is doing is in their nature. What the puppy is showing is her herding instincts. My dog does the same thing and also likes the high ground to watch. Plus your Aussie is still a pup. Aussies are smart dogs and I'm sure she well play eventually. I've never taken my dog to a trainer and she instinctively plays will with other dogs even when they don't want to play especially the older dogs. But she does stand her ground when necessary.

Oliver
by: Nonnie

I am sure you will get this information in the obedience class. Oliver is the HIGHER one on the dog ladder in your family. He was there first. You will need to set him up as the alpha dog in the pack so that your Aussie will respect that. It takes time. He gets everything first - food, petting, greeting when you come home - everything.

We had the same situation - a 9 year (at the time) teacup poodle - the only dog. We brought home two Aussies ... BAD ... but after working with them for a few weeks, it has worked out beautifully. They will never play with her - they play with each other.

Oliver
by: suzan

Taking what Nonnie said a step further. Oliver is a high energy breed. Teach him about the great game, fetch. You will need a couple of toys. Get him to focus on one and toss it. Use the second toy to get his attention to bring the other one back. This game will allow him to get his play and energy out. Also, introduce the Good Dog game. This is where you can have your older dog teach the one. Have your older dog do a behavior you like, as a sit, down, focus, touching your hand on cue. He will learn from your older dog and you both will show him that good behavior gets rewarded.

Zoe and Oliver
by: Sarah

Sorry if I was confusing in my original post. Oliver is the Maltese (9 years old) and Zoe is the Miniature Aussie. Zoe LOVES fetch. She learned that so quickly. She brings it right back.... Now getting her to drop it every time is another story LOL. I guess it comes down to knowing whether to correct Zo when she pounces at Oliver and nips to play or let him chase and growl at her to show who is boss. We've let them do that but it could last for a while. I think it just comes down to making sure Zoe has a distraction instead of Oliver being the toy she wants to play with. We've done the spray bottle but its not very effective anymore. I appreciate all the advice and hope to hear from more people!

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