Do you have one of those dogs that turn into a grumpy old man every time they’re around a puppy? Is this made even more frustrating by the fact that they’re great with dogs of any other age or size? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many dogs display behaviors that may suggest that they don’t like puppies, but things are not always how they appear.
Many dog owners are concerned if they catch their dog growling or snarling at a puppy. When this happens, they’re often quick to jump in and scold their dog and remove him from the situation. More often than not, though, this behavior should not be deterred.
The reason for this is simple: Puppies don’t have manners. In fact, some of them can be downright annoying, especially to older dogs.
We spend countless hours training our puppies to listen to our commands, but there is a different type of training that they need to undergo during puppyhood that we cannot teach them.
Puppies need older dogs to teach them how to behave in the canine world. To an outsider, this training can come off looking like the older dog doesn’t like the puppy. Which, granted, could be true, but friendships often develop as the puppy matures.
Think of it in human terms; young children need to learn manners and it’s up to the older adults in their lives to teach them. When you scold a child for displaying a behavior that is not socially acceptable, it may appear that you are being unkind, but it’s necessary to help with the social development of the child.
When a puppy jumps at an older dog or is too close for comfort, it’s the older dog’s responsibility to correct the behavior. Since dogs don’t communicate the same way we do with our young, this communication is more physical.
For instance, when a puppy jumps at an older dog, the older dog will likely respond by jumping up and barking or growling at the dog. They may also use their paw to push or hold off the puppy’s advances. These are all normal exchanges designed to show the puppy that it is not acceptable behavior.
Another common example is when a puppy is up in the older dog’s space. The older dog will freeze, growl, and potentially snap. This may seem scary to humans, but it’s the older dog’s way of teaching the young dog to learn respect.
It should be mentioned that just like humans, some dogs find puppies exhausting and would rather not spend their time around them – and that’s totally fine. The time for human intervention is if the outbursts of training behaviour are more than a couple seconds long or hurt the puppy. In that case, the behavior is becoming aggressive rather than constructive. When this happens, immediately separate the dogs and speak to your veterinarian or dog training professional for tips on managing the adult dog’s behavior.
When your dog is interacting with a puppy, keep in mind that there’s more to their behavior than meets the eye. What may look like a grumpy old man yelling at the kids to keep off his lawn may in fact is an important learning experience for the young dog. That doesn’t mean that when it comes to puppies, your dog isn’t still a grumpy old man, teaching moment aside. As long as no one is getting hurt, it’s all good!
H/t My Smart Puppy
Featured image via: @taille_aao/ Reddit