We're worried about our new GSD puppy injuring our Yorkie. Do you have any words of wisdom for me? Is it unrealistic to think that at some point the GSD can be taught to be careful with the Yorkie?
I've enjoyed your website and have ordered a couple of DVDs and high value treats as well. I have a question but can't seem to find it in your FAQ archive.
Our 8 week old male GSD arrived this past Wednesday. We also have a 9 year old male Yorkie (3 lbs). Our 14 year old GSD now lives with our adult son (so he can enjoy a stress free life without a rambunctious puppy!). Our older GSD and the Yorkie are the best of friends, and we've never had to worry about the Yorkie's safety. The new puppy is kept on a leash inside and outside the house and is under control at all times. We are also crate training and that is going very well. The puppy would like nothing more than to pounce on the Yorkie and has attempted to nip at him as well. He is very bullheaded about wanting to get him and gets down into a stalking position as though he were after prey.
Do you have any words of wisdom for me? I want to make sure I do everything possible so that eventually the two of them can co-exist without worry that harm will come to the Yorkie. Is it unrealistic to think that at some point the GSD can be taught to be careful with the Yorkie? Any advice you can give will be very much appreciated.
We don’t allow our puppies (regardless of size) to interact directly with our other dogs. We use an exercise pen to keep the puppy safe (and the other dogs safe) while they learn rules and manners in our home. I’d love to have a tiny dog, but due to the breakablity I can’t. Even the best behaved big dog may accidentally step on or injure a little dog unintentionally. I think you may always have to be very careful, just due to the size difference.
I think your GSD pup can learn to behave, but you need to keep control of any interactions for now (and maybe for many months to come).
Thank you, Cindy, for the response to my e-mail. We're controlling all interactions between the two and have settled in for a long puppyhood! Our GSD, Max, is now 3 months old. He has settled into the crate pretty well (although he's not happy that Joey, our Yorkie, gets to be out and he doesn't! He's quite vocal about this!). I need advice on another issue. We have an exercise pen, similar to the one on your web site. Max jumps at it in an attempt to get Joey. We tell him "OFF!" and have even tried the squirt bottle. He thinks the squirt bottle to the face is fun so we stopped using it. When we firmly tell him "OFF!" he looks us right in the eye and jumps right at the fence even harder. We also positively reinforce good behavior with praise and high value treats. We obviously have a strong-willed puppy. I will be ordering your DVD for dominant/aggressive dogs. Hopefully this will give me some insight into dealing with our puppy. Any words of wisdom you can give me right now for dealing with the jumping at the fence issue? I have a feeling this will just be one of many challenges we will have with this puppy! :)
Thanks so much for your help.
I think I’d make sure the ex pen was not in an area where there is a LOT of temptation for him to jump. I might also limit the other dog from being so close to the ex pen that it initiates the level of excitement to cause the pup to jump. So much of successful puppy raising is about controlling the environment. By saying OFF and squirting him, you are giving him some fun attention for doing the very behavior you want to extinguish. Set things up differently and if he jumps up say nothing and walk away. When he sits and shows polite behavior, tell him calmly he’s good and then reward him.
A 3 month old puppy is not being dominant or aggressive, I don’t think you need that video. Not at all.
I’d instead work on teaching him a communication system, so you can let him know he’s on the right track to get what he wants (your attention, praise, rewards and play)
If you still can’t get the jumping under control after moving the pen, limiting the other dog’s proximity and taking away your reactions to his jumping then I would suggest NOT using it unless he’s good and tired. Sometimes you need to spend time tiring these puppies out so they CAN relax. Set yourself up for success.