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Thread: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

  1. #1
    Bulldog Vet in Training g8erjackie's Avatar
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    Default Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    Does anyone have any experience with your older bully becoming more confrontational with other dogs after getting a new puppy? Ruckus is 2 years 4 months old and we got Regina, who is 3 months old today, one month ago when she was 8 weeks old. Ruckus took quickly to Regina and loves having her around.

    Ruckus has never been aggressive and really not even protective of himself -- he got bit pretty badly on the head at the park once and didn't fight back at all, he just looked at me like he was confused as I rushed over to rescue him. Over the past few days there have been a few incidents that I'm not sure if I should be worried about. Ruckus was never the aggressor, but he's seems much more willing to fight back than he used to. Also, Ruckus has had no issues with his group pals that we see frequently -- we go on walks together, they romp around, have a grand time. So he isn't instigating, but reacting.

    Incident #1 was when Keith was walking the dogs. I wasn't there and was surprised when Keith told me that on their walk they ran into a dog with a slightly crazy owner who really wanted to see Ruckus and Regina. This woman's dog snapped at Ruckus a couple times and growled a little. Normally, Ruckus would put his ears back and run the other direction to remove himself from the situation. This time, Keith said, Ruckus stood his ground and when the dog came back towards Ruckus and Regina (and clearly the owner wasn't properly restraining her dog), he low growled and snapped in the dogs direction, but kept his footing.

    Incident #2 was this morning when I was walking the dogs. A dog that Ruckus has played with numerous time was coming down the block and his owner said hi to me and was excited that we had added Regina to the mix. I don't know the owner well, but we chat when Ruckus and her dog play at the park or when we see one another with the dogs on the street. The dog is about 1 now, maybe a little older and we met him as a puppy. He's a huge dog with a super long tail being his defining feature (he's actually really cute and has always been sweet). Now I don't think I've seen this dog in a number of months, but all the dogs want to greet one another, and I always had a good experience with him so I went over to let Ruckus say hi to his buddy and let Regina meet him. In a split second that dog and Ruckus were tangled up and growling. No one got hurt but I had to pull Ruckus off of him and his owner had to restrain him and he kept growling. Poor Regina looked terrified because she got yanked back by accident and because of the growling. I scolded Ruckus and apologized thinking maybe he started it, but then the other dog's owner said she was sorry that her dog has become a bit leash reactive sometimes and that he started it. So again Ruckus was reacting, but this worries me because I grabbed him this time, and no one was hurt, no bites, no blood, but what if Ruckus had gotten hurt or what if 63.5 pound (according to the vet yesterday, haha) Ruckus had hurt the other dog?

    What makes me think that Ruckus is protecting Regina is that I was walking him late at night last night before bed and Regina wasn't with us. Another very excited dog was lunging towards Ruckus and his owner apologized in advance for leash reactivity (is this the new "it" term for dog training because I've heard it a lot lately from people...) and said they're working on it and she just adopted him. I said no worries my dog is mellow and told Ruckus, "Ruckus, wait. Leave it." and he just chilled there while the other dog walked by.

    My stories must make DC sound like one big dog fight, but I promise these incidents aren't the norm and Ruckus meets lots of super friendly pups all the time on his walks!

    Am I overreacting? Has anyone experienced this? Any tips?

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    Default Re: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    @g8erjackie Hi Jackie! I am guessing here, but to me it sounds like Ruckus has "come of age" " and isn't gonna' take no ****". He now has a little sister to protect, and
    they are also braver when there is more than one(even though Regina is a baby) Since Ruckus really loves Regina, I believe he is going to be protective of her.The "cowardly lion" has found his courage,and it's called Regina! As for" leash reactivity",A lot of dogs are more reactive/protective, when they are leashed, and some are just jerks(which their owner wouldn't admit!!!) You may have to be more careful when approaching dogs from now on. Ruckus is the "big bro"!
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    “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough,all the components of my heart will be dog,and I will become as generous and loving as they are"

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    Bulldog Vet in Training Become a 4 Paw Member Donnam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    Jackie, I think Lynn is right about Ruckus "coming of age" and also protecting Regina. We have a really laid back Aussie mix that we adopted a couple of months before we got Winnie. I mean Jack is so cool, he LOVES all other dogs and all people and is a really calm dog. A couple of days after we got Winnie, we were sitting on the patio with a another couple who had come over. The guy started making some motions like he was stalking Winnie and Jack immediately jumped up and growled with teeth showing. Of course, Dave quit doing it and Jack was fine, but he sure communicated that "you don't threaten my puppy!"

    I've never heard the term "leash reactivity" but dogs do seem to do much better with each other when they aren't restrained with a leash (if that's what it means?).

    I just love Ruckus and Regina together! You're lucky they love each other so much!

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    Default Re: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    Stu and I just had a conversation about my 2 other dogs (Boston Terrier/Frenchie and Boston Terrier/ Pug) and my aunt's dachshund. Sully (the Frenchie mix) is the oldest of our dogs and I believe my aunt's dog Cosmo is a year or two older than him.

    When sully was a puppy (10lb puppy), Cosmo was very aggressive/dominating towards him. Little did Cosmo know was that sully would become a 51 lb dog one day. When Sully got older and bigger Cosmo backed down from messing with him.

    We later got Mi'me - my Boston/pug. And she was a tiny thing - 5 lbs at 8 weeks. I think she was about 10 lbs when she first met Cosmo and Cosmo reacted towards her the same way he did with Sully Puppy. However, this time Cosmo was about to try to dominate her and before he could sully stepped between them and prevented it from happening by literally pushing him away. It was very cute to see how protective Sully was over his new little sister.

    Now that I'm thinking about this, there was this time curly got spooked by a plastic bag when he was a pup and he ran behind sully for protection.

    So all that said, no it isn't weird. They are pack animals so Ruckus is just protecting the pack. I think it will get easier when Regina gets older and able to hold her own, so to speak. Now that all the dogs are older Sully has retired his overly protective attitude.


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    Default Re: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    I am actually in the same boat! I have three dogs, Bella is the oldest and she's the chihuahua and jovi is. 1 year and 8 month bulldog and she has always played with any dog that comes around. Bella when we first got jovi would always attack her and jovi would just cower and run away with her head down. We got Tali who is now four months old and now anytime Bella tries to attack Tali (I shouldn't say attack but she bites lightly to tell them no and to back off) now jovi gets in the middle and will growl and bark at Bella and try to push her away even though Tali is pretty much biting her ears and jumping on her (Bella is half her size) so even though Bella has every right to tell Tali no jovi feels the need to step in and tell Bella to back off. Also jovi loves other dogs and I had my sister bring her puppy over for the first time the other day and jovi instantly attacked her. It didn't hurt my sisters dog but I was very shocked. So I don't know what the issue is so this advice would help me too! But you are not alone


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    Default Re: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    Ruckus is being protective of the lil sister.
    Hug your bully today

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    Dog Park Attendant Roseann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    Our lab, Rootbeer is our oldest. He is the same way with our EB, Henry and 7 mo old EB mix, Clyde. When the neighbor got a pit, Rootbeer went into protective mode and basically stays alert for danger when they're outside. If the neighbor dog comes over everything is fine as long as he just plays. If he acts in any way aggressive or dominate Rootbeer puts him in his place immediately. I am proud of him for taking care of his brothers. He was never like that before. He liked all dogs everyone except a crazy man who stalked me and killed his sister from the same litter, Zoe. I feel safe with my big baby around.

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    Default Re: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    As someone else stated... pack animals. We had this with Banks, if we walked her alone she was an angel, well as much as she could be, but if we had Nitschke or Cheli on the walk with her... she would try to 'protect' or what I call... show off her dominance at anything other creature that was in her line of sight. Rukus may feel a need to watch over his little sister, but also, keep in mind, if you are anticipating this behavior now that he has done it -- he will sense that and react to your being stressed.
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    Bulldog Vet in Training g8erjackie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Older dog protective of new puppy? Reacting more aggressively than before.

    Here's hoping he grows out of it when Regina gets a little older. No further incidents to report, thankfully.

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