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Am I being to involved?

January 4th, 2009, 10:47 AM
We brought home a new beagle/basset hound mix from a shelter. Our faimly already includes a 2 1/2 yr old lab mix. They are not aggressive to each other in a traditional sense. But when the puppy plays with the lab sometimes she gets too rough and the lab cries out and hides behind me. I correct her by saying no biting and giving her chew toy to occupy her mouth. She and my lab can play chase and wrestle for a while if she has a ball in her mouth. He loves to chase the new puppy and everything is fine. But when she drops the ball she nips him too hard and he cries. I know she wants to be his friend. She sits with her back to him and leans on him all the time. She kisses his face and brings him toys and drops them at his feet wanting to play. Should I keep interfering when she plays too rough or should I wait for my lab to show her its not okay himself. I have read that older dogs will let younger dogs know when their behavior in annoying with growls and etc but he does not do that. He seems to wait for me to correct her. I know I can be a bit of a "helicopter puppy mom" but I want to make sure both dogs feel safe in our home. Anyone have any suggestions?

January 4th, 2009, 01:03 PM
By giving her the bone you are rewarding her behaviour.

January 4th, 2009, 01:30 PM
When the older dog bites the younger do you see:

1. the older dog does a single, quick, "snap", involving only her head and mouth, and directs the bite at the pup's cheek area


2. the older dog lunges bodily at the younger dog, and uses her arms or body to pin the younger dog as she grabs and does not release the bite

If it's the first one, I wouldn't worry about it. Older dogs will discipline misbehaving younger dogs with displays of teeth, growling, and snaps. These bites rarely make significant contact, never result in an injury, and are more symbolic than hurtful. That said, it would be normal for a pup to yelp in response, it's how they say "ok, enough, stop!" It's all a very normal and very ritualized doggy exchange. I would see no need to intervene. We see it happen all the time in our house.

If it's the second one, though, I would be intervening, and fast, as the intent there would be to inflict damage.

I don't see harm in distracting your dog with a bone/toy, as long as it doesn't become the source of a squabble between the dogs.

January 4th, 2009, 01:33 PM
I think it theory the adult dog will correct a puppy, but in my experience not all adult dogs are good at this. One of mine, for example, is a bit challenged in the dog manners department and will allow puppies to get away with anything, even if it results in him bleeding.

So, I don't actually think it's a bad idea that you're intervening if your lab isn't doing the correcting himself. I also think re-directing the puppy to a more appropriate chew toy is a good idea, though it can be slow going.

Do you know any friends with dogs who might be better at setting down boundries for the puppy that you could have a "date" with?

January 4th, 2009, 02:00 PM
eeek! :loser: I misread the OP, thanks for pointing it out, pitgirl!!! I thought it was the LAB biting the NEW dog, but I see now it was the other way around...

That does change things a bit...but there's a fine line. We have an adult dog who does not discipline our puppy well either. She grumbles but the little one generally beats the tar out of her most of the time, and there are yelps. Although I don't LOVE it, I still generally don't get too involved. If the puppy releases the bite or moves away as soon as the older dog yelps, then she's at least responding appropriately to the "ow, stop!" signal. The only time I intervene is if the older dog says "stop" and the puppy doesn't. That's when I break it up, usually verbally, or physically remove the puppy if necessary (rarely), and then try to distract the pup with something else.

January 5th, 2009, 01:40 AM

If it were me, I would also be telling the puppy no biting. That way he learns what the words mean, also u are helping your lab out, and you are teaching the puppy some manners.

If you got another puppy they would teach each other not to bite. Just a thought. :D

January 5th, 2009, 10:22 AM
:goodvibes:Thanks for the help and advice. Sometimes you need to hear the thoughts and ideas of others to help you make the best decisions for the furry kids. I'm so thankful there are other pet parents to get advice from. I have been persitant about "no biting" and I finally heard my lab Duke growl at the puppy this morning when they were wrestling in the back yard. He yelped when she nipped too hard and then growled at her but did not bite her back. She ran to the other side of the yard tail between her legs. I hope this is a good thing and they work things about between them. We have the basset/beagle on a 2 week trial basis because the shelter was concerned about issues she had displayed at the shelter. They didnt want to adopted her out-right they wanted to make sure it was a really good fit. Although the shelter is a blessing for so many animals who would otherwise not survive I think the shelter is quite overwhelming to the puppy with all the barking, people and other animals. We love her very much and we want her to live with us permanently. Since she has been here, nipping Duke too hard and "food scarfing" are the only things we have experinced. We are with the dogs every moment we can trying to help them both make a good transition. But, I may be back for more advice . . . :fingerscr

January 5th, 2009, 11:21 AM
I would let the older dog have lots of opportunities to teach bite inhibition (which is soo much better than 'no bite) to your little toothy pup. And what your dog did was very appropriate to the situation. Adult dogs almost never actually touch the puppy.

If the older dog won't then redirecting to a toy is a great plan. Pups NEED to use their teeth, its how they interact with the world. So by redirecting you are showing the pup where the teeth SHOULD go.