Help! Dog Doesn’t Like New Puppy!

This note came to the Canine Good Citizen department.  The worried owner, who is thinking she made a mistake by getting a new puppy, described the situation:

My adult female Bichon, Fluffy, lived with a Golden Retriever for six years.  They never played together, but there was no fighting.  Our Golden died a few years ago, and I’ve been thinking that Fluffy would like a playmate, so I got a new female Bichon puppy.  Fluffy does not like this puppy — she growls and snaps when the puppy comes near.

And here’s another thing — Fluffy has always loved people, but now that we have a puppy she wants nothing to do with us.

If Fluffy will remain upset, I will honor her wishes and find a new home for the puppy.  If it is not to late to fix this, can we start over?  What is the best way to introduce a new puppy to our existing dog?  What is your suggestion?

Citizen Canine trainers and dog owners, what advice would you give this distraught owner?

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17 Responses to Help! Dog Doesn’t Like New Puppy!

  1. anonymous says:

    I would suggest that the owner not let the dog ( fluffy ) dictate the way the house hold is run. She needs to put time in making the pets understand the rules of the home and that rude inappropriate behavior is not tolerated. The owner needs to be the one in control and regulate play and down time until the household can figure out how to live together. She needs to seek out a good trainer in her area that would be wiling to help her, many changes may be needed depending on how the owner interacts with her pets.

  2. Jen says:

    Sometimes a dog doesn’t like puppies. Sometimes, a dog doesn’t like a puppy in “her” house. Some breeds (not sure if Bichons are one) have same sex aggression, and so a female puppy just might not work out.

    I wonder how introductions were carried out between Fluffy and the puppy? It might not be too late to take the puppy and Fluffy to “neutral ground”, i.e. that isn’t “Fluffy’s house” (also someplace that isn’t too public, as Puppy probably doesn’t have all of her shots just yet!) and give them careful and supervised time to interact, with Fluffy getting rewards for positive interactions (again, this must be careful; if Fluffy is a resource guarder, using toys or food here will not be a good thing).

    It’s also important for Fluffy to have her own space where she can get away from Puppy if necessary: her own crate, a different part of the house, etc, where she doesn’t constantly have to worry about this new interloper bothering her. Each dog needs her own “face time” with the owners; owner attention and affection is a resource too. So, walks and training for puppy (when safe with shots) and walks and continued training with Fluffy could give both dogs the physical and mental exercise necessary to help everything be more relaxed.

  3. I agree with the above, but also take into consideration that Fluffy may be disciplining the puppy too. Maybe the puppy is coming at her very quickly or trying to take something of Fluffy’s away. I foster many puppy litters and all of my dogs at one point or another snap and growl at the puppies if they come near them, especially if my dogs are in the “safe” place and the puppies want to intrude. All of this is normal behavior in any dog with a new puppy. It is teaching them the rules of being a dog. At the same time, she may be a little aloof with people at this point because her maternal instincts are kicking in and she is watching her “baby”.

  4. Eduardo Olaya says:

    Congratulations for “YOUR ” new puppy, I think you should start all over it is a problem that you had create for you old dog. How old is your dog? It is an active or a passive dog ? Does your dog like the other dogs companionship? or interaction with them, or prefer to be leave alone? a puppy (they have to much energy) to much for an adult dog the best thing to introduce a new dog is to chose the oposite sex that create less conflitc, maybe your dog neads an adult dog companie this things should be prepare before you get a new dog, but you already had the puppy so you can fix the problem, or the easy way for you and your dog is to start all over, it is not to late and you can find a nice home for your puppy and then let your dog to find a new companion, ”let your dog choose the one she like” this will eliminate a lot stress on you your puppy and your dog! your dog level of stress is so higth that she don’t want any human interaction.
    This is not Hard to fix you nead to re introduce the puppy in your home to your dog, use the crate for one of then when the oder is free ( intermitent), dicipline then when they nead to, take the two dogs for a long walk or hike on leash. use NO corrections, all positive but you have to be awere that one female will dominate the oder one and depends in the dogs temperament this can create a constant conflitc.

  5. Debbie says:

    I agree some adult dogs are not tolerate of puppies. Many times the adult will adjust if you do not let the puppy overwhelme the Bichon. Praise adult bichon for good behavior around puppy. Puppy teeth hurt so if the adult is getting a lot of teeth it is normal for her to correct the puppy. If the puppy backs off that is good. If the puppy does not respect adult dog then a time out for puppy is needed. The bichon will eventually come around if you do not scold her for teaching the puppy to not bite. Training for both dogs may help as bonding will happen with both plus will teach impulse control for both. Good luck it will get better.

  6. Cyndi says:

    We have a 14 year old border collie, a 12 year old border collie, and a new Golden Retriever puppy! ” Blending ” them takes work and time, but it can be done.. We praise the older dogs when they are in close proximity to the pup. We are careful to give food and treats to the older dogs first and then to the puppy. We talk to the senior dogs first, and we keep that pattern for
    everything. (unless the older dogs are outside and cannot see us!) Anyway, keep working at it and remember that it will take time.

  7. Audrey Edwards says:

    My Boxer had shown a little slight aggression to small dogs in the past. After one bit her once.. But when we decided to get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel we took her with us. The deal was if she did not like the pup we did not get the pup. We got there and took both out on lead and walked on the grounds with them. They sniffed each other and the ground. And we walked with both for a few minutes. Then let them sniff each other again. Nothing happened so we got the pup. Now at home the pup follows the Boxer everywhere. They are totally bonded. Now the problem is that the new pup is not bonding with us only with our older Boxer. So we have the reverse problem. My Boxer is female (3yr old spayed) and Cavalier is male (just neutered & 8 months old). Introductions on neutral ground are important especially with the older dog. And maybe the dog was enjoying being an only child. Some are like that. Will be fine outside but not in their home. May have to start over with a neutral territory walk. Walking together seems to make them not think about each other as much as the walk. Then walking makes them part of the pack and you hold the leads. And they are the followers. CGC training and Therapy training made it easier for my Boxer to accept change. I think all dogs should take the training it helps a lot. But when my Boxer does Therapy visits she definatly would prefer to do it alone. But, tolerates if other dogs are there. And looks to me for direction and I just re enforce “Leave It” and then praise her for looking the other way. . If taught properly that command can go for anything from food to other dogs to people. Also, I never yell at my dogs. They listen better that way. When you yell you make the dog more excited and he/she thinks you are barking.

  8. Your dog Fluffy and the puppy are a different dynamic than were Fluffy and your Golden who passed away. I’m guessing trhe Golden was older and more sedate. Puppies, on the other hand, are full of energy, and haven’t yet learned that there are rules about invading another, especially older, dog’s space and even annoying them with all their energy. While teaching the pup the rules of ewngagement with Fluffy through training, you also need to give Fluffy the option of space away from the puppy when Fluffy needs it, by gating the puppy for periods of time when the pup becomes too much for Fluffy. At the same time, pair the puppy inFluffy’s presence with things Fluffy loves, like super-special treats, so that Fluffy forms positive associations with the pup being present. Also, give it time. Many dogs won’t seem to accept a new pup right away and may take a couple of months to acclimate to the new situation. Find ways to burn off the pup’s energy so that when the pup is around Fluffy she’s not as rambunctious. If Fluffy has some space, you may see her start to express interest in the pup by approaching or sniffing, and these will be good signs. Don’t give up. Most dogs do eventually learn to accept each other if the owners do things to make sure the boundaries of an older already-existing dog are respected.

  9. Agree with every thing you all have said – but it seems to me that if the original dog (FLUFFY) was not particulary friendly/attached/played with the Golden, why the owner thought she ‘needed’ another companion – f the two dogs were not ‘companions’ to begin with. I don’t mean to sound argumentative – but maybe Fluffy just needs to be an only dog. And I would have certainly suggested a male. Maybe the owner can be the ‘playmate’.
    But… if the owner wants to put in a lot of time and effort, and Fluffy is willing to go along with the new rules and make the transition, hopefully this will work out. I doubt they’ll ever be ‘BFF’s’ – but can live together in relative harmony.

  10. Robyn Sehy says:

    I recently did the same thing as Fluffy’s owner. My old low key male shitzu mix had to be put down, and my 11 year old poodle who had always been the queen of the house was not happy being alone. I got a female Bichon puppy, knowing that the chance of two females getting along might be problematic, but hoping that the more low key personality of the puppy would win over my old gal. She hated the puppy at first but the puppy really wants her as a friend so she has persisted. Now they play sometimes and other times my older dog growls and fusses because she wants to be left alone. BUT I always make sure she gets special attention and time with me because she was my first love. It has been about 4 months since I got the puppy and I think if you just persist it will be okay. They may not ever be best friends like someone else commented, but they will learn to live together. A nuetral place is a great idea! I take them to the dog park by my house and they both love it and are happy to be there together! Good luck with your fur babies!

  11. The very root of your writing whilst sounding reasonable originally, did not really work very well with me after some time. Somewhere within the paragraphs you actually were able to make me a believer but just for a while. I still have a problem with your jumps in assumptions and you might do nicely to help fill in those gaps. When you actually can accomplish that, I could definitely be impressed.

  12. linux vps says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Many thanks!|

  13. joanna says:

    Did your dog’s eventually get along? I’m In the exact situation. My older dog passed and they were best friends. I got a new puppy a month ago. They can be in the same room together and they kinda play once in a while but the puppy ends up biting my 6 yr old pom then she’s pissed. The puppy doesn’t get to stop when my dog growls to stop.

    • Teresa says:

      I’m having the same issue. Just got a third dog and the second one (he’s only 5 months) is very upset. He’s barking in the puppy’s face and growls when he hears or sees her. I’m so upset and starting to regret my decision to rock the boat and get another dog. Help!

  14. Cameo says:

    Sometimes genetics must be realized. My malti-poo is very hyper and bossy and I believe it’s the mix breeding (I’ve had Poodles and Maltese prior whom were NOT hyper and rather docile). I waited until my malti-poo was almost 2 before I got a chihuahua female. I didn’t want my malti-poo to be lonely or too dependent on me. They play, though a little rough at times. But I doubt they will ever cuddle up together. So, I must love each differently and often as now both look to me, not each other, for everything! My real advice is: study mixed breeds personality traits. Just like us humans “the stuff of which we came from makes up whom we are”. Good Luck.

  15. Willie says:

    I have always introduced a new puppy to the current household by taking the new puppy to a neutral fenced yard and then brought the older dogs to the same yard and allowed them under my supervision, to find their new puppy and then we all go home in the same vehicle. Thankfully, we have never had a serious problem. Of course there were minor discipline scraps, but that is to be expected. Dogs are kinda neat in the way they work things out. My very best wishes for success in putting you home back in order. It may take awhile. Good things don’t always happen overnight.

  16. Mary says:

    I gat a new bichon when mine was just over 8 years old. At first it was horrendous and MY fault. Every time the puppy annoyed my dog or stole food bed etc, I dorrected my older dog. WRONG! He was simply setting limits and teaching the pup to respect him. Once I corrected the PUP and treated my older dog as THE number one dog, the pup fell in line and they began to play 24/7 and snuggle together. My dog needed reassurance that he was not being replaced. He also taught the puppy what was okay and what was not. I watched and corrected when needed but let them work out a lot of it on their own. Pup soon learned that she was out of order if my older growled and soon no more growling . They are best friends now although they still need to be separate at mealtime as the older one is actually the devils spawn where food is concerned!

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