CHENNAI: My brother has a five-month-old puppy. Our 4-year-old golden retriever is terrified of her. He had been attacked once by a dog a year ago. Is that why he’s afraid?
The entry of a new pup in an established household is a confusing experience for your existing dog. Typical reactions to this scenario are fear, territorial behavior, fight or depressions. Dogs are creatures of habit and prefer little disruption to their existing routines. A new pup, just like a newborn tends to get more attention of the household, making the older one insecure. Of course, the intent is not to favor the new dog and avoid the older one, rather enjoy the friendship between the two.
First things first, do not dwell on the incident of the past. You could be the one who is associating the past experience and causing a state of nervousness around the two of them. So let go!
To keep your older dog at ease, ensure that you do not change your old routine, rather focus on inducting your new pup into the old routine that you were following. Watch closely to see if the pup is competing with your older dog. Give them food separately where the pup cannot get into the older dog’s way and end up eating that portion as well.
Do not encourage any kind of possessiveness from either of them and give equal attention to both. Intervene and establish a structured routine such that there is no reason to compete.
Another reason could be that the pup tends to invade the personal space of your older dog. Puppies tend to be very playful and extremely curious. As part of play they nip and bite the older dog. This enthusiasm and extra curiosity of the pup is interpreted as an invasion of personal space by the older guy and is not appreciated by him.
It is thus important to train the new pup to behave and adapt to your existing routine. Practicing basic obedience is a must for both of them. Once, the older dog sees that the new puppy isn’t a threat or bother anymore, he will get comfortable with the new one.
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