ADULT DOGS TEACH PUPPIES BOUNDARIES

Harley was minding his business, curled up on his bed doing what 6 year old dogs do after a walk – resting. Out of nowhere 10 week old Jax ran across the room, leaped in the air and pounced on top of him. Harley wasn’t happy. He growled and snarled and Jax scurried backwards off of Harley and off of the bed.

Boundaries!

Jax needs them.

I had no idea adult dogs teach puppies boundaries.

When people talk about puppies, I am the first one to break out in goosies.

They are adorable.

They are so freaking cute…

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But when they’re Jax’s age, they reek havoc, and mayhem to the likes which I’ve never seen. At his age he is so young its next to impossible (at least me for me) to teach him much of anything.

Because of this “non-stop” activity lifestyle puppies possess I did have a few concerns about Harley’s initial reaction to such a young pup in the house. Before his arrival I tried to read as much information as I could on “adjusting an adult dog to a new puppy.”

In the midst of my research I was surprised to read – quite a few times actually – that in most situations the adult dog may set boundaries of acceptable behavior for the puppy to adhere to. #hummm

Made sense to me when I read it, I mean after all – puppies don’t come here with any real manners!

Perhaps that explains why the first two days Harley kept his distance…

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By the middle of the week Jax made great strides in wiggling his way a little closer to his big brother…

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But by Friday he ruined it.

Messed it all up!

He was cuddling with Harley on the little round pet bed I keep in my office, when out of the blue, before I could reach for my camera, he decided to flirt with danger and bite Harley’s paw. #notgood

Adult dogs avoid, then warn, then correct the annoying puppy.

We have regressed 🙁

As I slowly incorporate Jax into our lifestyle, I make sure I give Harley adequate space and periods of breaks from Jax throughout the day. When we’re on the first floor he rests in this great SportPet Pop Open Kennel

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A special “thank you” to the Smith family for such a thoughtful welcome home gift for Jax!

I love this thing. I call it his “red room.” It’s lightweight, convenient, and portable. Fully collapses for easy storage, and it’s reasonably priced! I keep it in the family room adjacent to the kitchen. When we’re all down there, he’s included in our activities, Harley has some time alone or with me, and Jax gets his nap on.

According to the few articles I’ve read (I’ll list them at the bottom of this post) adult dogs teach new puppies acceptable boundaries to establish their place within the pack.

If that be the case, I’ve got the pawfect instructor.

He walks tall AND he carries a big stick!…

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I think the hardest part right now is waiting for the two of them to become buddies. I am super anxious, but I am exercising great restraints and allowing this process to take its course.

When I hear that low growl, I mind my business because I now understand –

Do NOT correct an adult dog that is showing correct back off signals.

I have no fear Harley will harm Jax. I know in time, as he gets older all of this will be behind us…

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If you’re considering a new puppy to your pack, here are a few worthwhile reads:

Have you walked this road already? If so, please share your success story in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Make this the best week of your life – be kind to someone! Thanks for reading…

I am joining the Monday Mischief blog hop brought to you by Alfie’s BlogSnoopy’s Dog BlogMy Brown Newfies.

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38 Comments
  • Jen
    March 16, 2015

    I’m so glad to see that they are both adjusting well!

    Sherman always tried to teach Leroy how to back off but since Leroy is stubborn he had to learn the hard way!

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Jax is helping with the transition Jen, he seems to be the type that understands and will immediately flop down submissively. To me, that’s a great sign. As long as I have a puppy who accepts Harley being in charge that’s a huge battle already won. But in the meantime – pray for a sister please 🙂

  • Golden Daily Scoop
    March 16, 2015

    Oh dear, this looks all too familiar with us! Miley was definitely Bruin’s “teacher” when it came to house rules and personal space. It took some time as we watched from a safe distance as Bruin learned from Miley and today they get along great! Glad to see they are adjusting well! 🙂

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Thanks Miley – I too am waiting for the day when this is all behind me! I’m saddled up for a few weeks of this though, because Jax is so young. Take care.

  • LeeAnna Paylor
    March 16, 2015

    I love that older dogs correct the pups. Saves me from trying to teach everything. Cole learned from a dog named Willow. She taught him not to push the older dog from a water bowl, not to take the older dog’s ball, not to rush up to the older dog’s person like an eejit. He is very well behaved now, but since he is nearly 13 he doesn’t even want a puppy to jump on him. 6 is a good age to bring in a pup. Don’t forget you’re working with a poodle blend too. If Harley is more poodle tempered they are more polite than retrievers, have more expectations of manners. My lab was goofy but Cole has been reserved from puppyhood. Jax sure is tempting… makes me want one. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Hi LeAnna – Harley seems to be a good even mix between the two breeds. I’m noticing also that Jax is gaining a little ground each day, not much mind you, but enough for me to see. Harley isn’t ready for him to roll all over him, and he definitely doesn’t like for Jax to come too close to his face without an invitation. I’m blessed in the sense that Jax is the type of puppy who “gets it” and doesn’t push the envelope (with the exception of the paw bite). I’m understanding and that’s been the hardest part. Take care, I’ll keep you posted.

  • Ashley
    March 16, 2015

    GIVE. ME. THAT. PUPPY. It can definitely be a challenging adjustment bringing a new little romper into an established house/ “pack”. I have no doubt that our Harley will warm up to this little ball of fluff in much deserved due time. Yay for the new addition to not just your family, but to ours as well.

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Ashley your cheerleading and counseling are valued – trust me! I am being patient and I am enjoying everything that I’m learning. Thank you so much for your help. And you can HAVE THAT PUPPY anytime you want 🙂

  • Amanda
    March 16, 2015

    Thanks you so much for these articles, AND the suggestion for the pop-up crate. I will be ordering one today! We are also very anxious for Wrigley (5 yrs) and Piper (12 wks) to become buddies, and it’s so hard to be patient. But I know, as you said, it will happen in time and then it will be SO cute! 🙂

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Amanda – we need to stick together girl. I’m really working on a schedule now. I want to be consistent with everything – to include Harley time. We walk together because I want to establish pack walks with me as the alpha, but I’ve decided to incorporate evening walks with just Harley and I before it gets too dark. Anything you come up with while we travel this road together – please share 🙂 Take care my friend, and remember, you are not alone!

      • Amanda
        March 18, 2015

        I’ve learned to play “double tug”… I have a tug toy in each hand, with one dog attached to each. They lightly tug and spin in happy circles in unison on each side of mama. It’s pretty amusing but keeps them both entertained and happy to be getting equal attention!

        • Cathy Bennett
          March 18, 2015

          Amanda, I’m going to try that tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Elaine
    March 16, 2015

    This is so true! As long as you give Harley some breaks with Jax relaxing in the red room, they’ll probably adjust quickly. I always give credit to my parent’s dog Lucy for teaching Haley some manners when she was a young, bossy pup. Lucy would growl and air-snap at Haley when she got too pushy and it helped Haley calm down and be respectful. Even now when we visit my parent’s house, Lucy always gives Haley a little “behave” growl when she comes in the door, but they get a long great.

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Thanks Elaine. I really need all the advise / guidance I can get. Instinctively, I want to protect Jax because of six. He looks so cute when he runs up in Harley’s face, and then Harley growls at him and he looks so lonely when he flops down next to him. All he wants to do is play, but I reckon I need to stay out of this and allow them to come together when it is on their terms. I pray they bond soon 🙂

  • Emma
    March 16, 2015

    I’m laughing at the kennel Jax is in. We put Bailie in one of those one time and she ate her way out in about 5 mins! I’m a big disciplinarian with puppies. I let them know where they stand and that they are the baby. I trained my cousin Lena when she was tiny, now I have trained Bailie. Katie also took care of me when I was a baby. Adult dogs know how to handle those pesty youngsters.

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Oh Emma, you can be my canine Dr Phil! How long do you think training will last? Am I on the right track? Do you have any pointers for me? Max hasn’t started eating his way out – yet. He flips his by walking on the sides. He’s actually quite good, looks like a giant red slinky toy!

  • Flea Christenson
    March 16, 2015

    Your babies are so beautiful! The main reason we got our Chewy when we did was because the other fur babies were nearly 12 years old and Chewy was still a puppy. Not only do senior and older dogs train puppies, but puppies give senior dogs a few more good years. Patches, who had stopped playing, now runs and jumps with Chewy. It’s a beautiful thing.

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Flea – I can’t wait to get past the boundaries training. I am so anxious for them to start rolling around I want to scream! But it’s only been a week (today) so I am really exercising patience (not my strong suit). Thanks for sharing Patches story with me/us. It will help me keep hope alive – believe me!

  • Talent Hounds
    March 16, 2015

    Jax looks like he’s adjusting perfectly. He is such a cutie OMG

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 17, 2015

      Thanks Talent Hounds! He is adjusting well. He is everything I wanted, and I will talk about that in my upcoming blogs. Stay tuned….

  • Caren Gittleman
    March 16, 2015

    I am just LOVING the addition of Jax to the blog! (Not that I didn’t love your blog before), but Jax’s adorable, fun face just makes me giggle.
    You are a brave woman taking on a puppy!!!
    You read Will and Eko’s blog right? With Penny! No doubt that Harley and Jax will be the best of friends soon!
    Can’t wait to see you all at BlogPaws! I will happily do some puppy cuddling there!

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Thanks Caren – I know what you mean, Jax adds another dimension to already countless stories to share. I will have to visit Will and Eko – thanks for the heads-up. Don’t you worry, I will definitely place you on the BP cuddle list! Take Care!

  • Jan K
    March 16, 2015

    I’m trying to remember now how long it took for everyone to adjust to Luke. I do remember that at first Kobi would simply avoid him, and then one day he was the first one to give Luke a correction, which surprised us since Kobi was so mellow (but he was also the oldest).
    I think Cricket was the first one to really play with Luke,…but as a puppy, Luke was just her size. Sheba never really played with him until he got closer to her size, but she did let him climb on her, and she’d correct him when she’d had enough.
    I think it was probably about two weeks in before I relaxed and felt that everyone was going to get along just fine with him.
    I think you’re doing it perfectly with Jax having his own little room so Harley can have a break. We had a large crate for Luke and that was a sanity saver, for me too!

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      I’m thinking it will be a couple of weeks too JanK. Jaxx is just so super young, the dynamics are so different. I’ve got to trust Harley and let him lead this one. You keep praying for me, and I’ll keep you updated!

  • Dory's Backyard
    March 16, 2015

    Our older dogs had a big part at training Arty and teaching him boundaries. We think Dory is still training him, and he is three years old! 🙂
    Smileys!
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      You know what Dory? The interesting thing is – when Harley corrects Jax, he is spot on. It’s all the things I would have corrected Jax about too! So interesting.

  • Tenacious Little Terrier
    March 16, 2015

    Mr. N is a solo dog but when we meet puppies in the park, he is not shy about telling them off. We ran into a really annoying one the other day who kept trying to lick his face. And Jax is totally adorable!

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Thanks Mr. N. This afternoon I saw a little progress. I know it’s going to be fine, I’ll just sit back, drink wine and wait 🙂

  • DashLilly
    March 16, 2015

    Oh Jax you are adorable. But listen to Harley, he is the boss apple sauce! Dash was the boss when Lilly arrived then Lilly got big and started bossing Dash around. Funny thing though when it really comes down to it..Dash remains the alpha dog in the house. It all comes together like most things in life. But you have to find patience. Which for me can be hard to find sometimes! Hooray for Doodles!!! Hugs to Harley.

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 16, 2015

      Oh thank you so much for some reassurance Deirdre. I needed your comment today – I do see a little progress. Today Harley tried to hump Jax BOL – that’s progress right? They were touching!!!!

  • Sand Spring Chesapeakes
    March 16, 2015

    What a adorable pup, just handsome! Yes older dogs teach pups boundries. Norman taught Gambler a lot of them but sadly most of the time Gambler didn’t listen.

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 17, 2015

      JoAnn, Jax seems to listen to Harley pretty well. I have noticed something – it started yesterday. When we walk together, Jax is able to jump all over Harley and there’s no correcting. Perhaps he’s starting to wear the old guy down!

  • Jackie Bouchard
    March 16, 2015

    I’m no help! We’ve always been one-dog-at-a-time people. Jax is so darn cute!!! I’m sure they’ll be best buddies soon! But I’m sure it’s a bit anxiety inducing waiting for them to get to that point! Can’t wait to watch them together on the blog!

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 17, 2015

      I’m with you Jackie, I’m anxious as well.

  • Barbara Rivers
    March 17, 2015

    Adult dogs are the best teachers for K9 youngsters ~ when our pups were but a few months old, we socialized on a daily basis with a 4 year-old beagle mix, Miss Dixie. Dixie did a wonderful job at teaching our pups polite playing behavior! We also went on walks together on a regular basis, which helped Buzz & Missy learn polite leash manners.

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 17, 2015

      Yes Barbara I immediately started walking them together – wasn’t sure if Jax could do a full walk but he hung in there and collapsed later LOL I purposely do everything with and for Harley first, following the pack mentality. Since I’m sure he would never intentionally hurt Jax and so many people (like yourself) have assured me this is normal behavior, I’ve stopped stressing about it.

  • slimdoggy
    March 20, 2015

    I’ve never had a puppy and an older dog…but I did have two litters of puppies and raised them to 8-9 weeks. I will say that mom kept a very tight leash on those kids and wasn’t afraid to correct them when they stepped out of bounds. One of the pups went to a neighbor, so he was a regular visitor and even full grown and outweighing his mom by a good 20-25lbs, all she had to do was give him a certain look and he would stop dead in his tracks. It was pretty funny.

    • Cathy Bennett
      March 20, 2015

      Slimdoggy – I am amazed at the entire process. Harley is teaching – there’s no doubt about that. Jax pushed the envelope today though, wouldn’t leave Harley alone, kept getting in his face – next thing I knew Harley nipped, Jax cried, and I ran. Now they are both sleeping near one another as if nothing happened! My fault – Harley went to day camp today, and he’s tired. I shouldn’t have allowed Jax to play so much with him . We’re all learning, and it will take some time. I’ll just keep on watching and writing:)

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