Video: Conditioning Your Current Dogs to the Puppy – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Video: Conditioning Your Current Dogs to the Puppy

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  • Janet says:

    Hi Sarah–can a puppy be taught to play more nicely? My puppy (9 month-old mini American shepherd, who I got last week) seems to favor biting legs and bellies (not hard) and body slamming, while my older dog (8-year-old border collie mix) does the play bow and run away sort of thing. The older dog does not like the younger one’s play style at all (and I don’t blame her–it looks pretty annoying, and I worry that someone will get hurt). They are getting along well otherwise, and I am doing quite a lot of training with them together. I have never had two dogs!

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Hi Janet,

      Yes, dogs can definietly learn to adjust their play style. Both dogs are doing what is normal for their breeds but I agree that the aussie slamming can be dangerous. I would monitor the play, then when the puppy starts to get too rough, i would interrupt the play and direct her to a toy, or have her sit or down to get a treat and chill a moment before being released to play again. Really bad slams can be given a short time out. When she is playing nicely I would praise her. Also, if your bc mix will not hurt her, I would not get upset if she corrects the pup… Let me know how it goes!

      • Janet says:

        OK. I will try this. I don’t think the bc mix will hurt him. She is a gentle soul. I wish she would stand up for herself a bit more, but I don’t want her to be unhappy. The puppy’s recall is coming along really well, but is not entirely reliable yet, so I hope I can make it work!

  • alincoln1963@gmail.com says:

    Sarah I get my puppy next week. Here’s my dilemma. Ranger is great with puppies but for one thing, he bites their necks roughly. How do I stop this behavior without making him think he can’t play with the puppy??

  • Judi says:

    I have three Aussies. Summit(boy) age 12 Lira (girl) age 8 and now Vita (girl) 12 weeks. At first Lira was great with Vita (brought her home at 8 weeks) Playing, correcting and hanging out together. Now I feel like Vita is tormenting Lira. Lira will just stand there and take it until she gets her baby teeth on something that hurts her and has starting barking at her to get her to play. She eventually does but seems like I am putting her more and more in her expen to chill out! She now has starting barking at Summit (who sounds like Hops). I am keeping play sessions short and if she gets barking at Lira and more nippy she goes in the expen and usually passes out. I almost feel like I need to separate them more. Which does not make either happy. Any suggestions? Vita is also going nuts in her expen or crate if I am working the other dogs. I think I am expecting to much but if I have cookies in hand and she is in the crate as I play with lira she’s quiet. How to up the game?

    • Sarah Baker says:

      I definitely remove the dog that is pestering another. You can try redirecting to a toy, do multiple recalls out of play for treats and to settle a moment before playing again, or sometimes a tie down, crate or xpen is needed. Puppies often become more obnoxious when they need a nap. Your puppy is also becoming a teenager so that often makes them peskier than young puppies.
      If you want dogs to be quiet while you work other dogs that often takes LOTS of time and training. It took at least a year before I could do any agility with Hops while Skeptic stayed and even longer before I could sequence Hops with Skeptic staying quietly on his cot. You just have to slowly raise the length of time the puppy has to stay quiet while training the other dogs. It is also important to put her away when you cannot reward often enough so she does not rehearse the behaviors you do not want.

  • KHV says:

    This is great information. Any additional examples are welcomed. My puppy is 12 weeks old now, we are a “gated community” and working very slowly. No incidence so far, a few snarling lips when puppy leaps onto the pen at the adults. Two was a much easier integration than 3 by the way.

    • Sarah Baker says:

      I am glad you like the video. I agree that each additional dog is more difficult! Make sure to train a solid recall so you can call the puppy off other dogs.

  • Jennifer says:

    Sarah, I am doing similar things to integrate my border collie puppy with my two adult schnauzers. We treat for looking at puppy, we have encouraged play through x-pens, we have done kibble searches on the patio (so they are loose together but not fixating on each other), we have done leashed walks together (me with puppy, my husband with an adult dog). Other ideas to encourage peaceful integration? It’s been six weeks and we are not at the point where I feel safe letting them loose in the house together. I am taking things slow and letting puppy grown and gain confidence. I don’t want a history of conflict.

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Go as slow as you need to. Muzzle training Hops was one of the best things we did. That way everyone could be out and there were no potential injuries.

      Doing group training is good too. Everyone is out (using whatever management is needed) and everyone takes turns doing things for treats.

      If the puppy does not mind, it really helped Dillon when we taught him to touch Hops for cookies. His mindset about the new puppy totally changed.

      Keep training and keep managing when you cannot train. Have things improved?

      • Jennifer says:

        Things have continued to improve and there have been no incidents. I am just looking for next steps so we can continue to work towards total integration. Puppy is reaching the point where she will be bigger than the adult dogs very soon.

  • piperjan says:

    How much do you allow and/or encourage play between the puppy and a resident dog who likes playing with the puppy, assuming that both parties are enjoying the play, reading each others’ body language, and taking breaks? I struggle with how to balance the fact that I want my dogs to play together and the idea that I also want to make sure my puppy thinks I am fun to play with. I do spend time playing and training with each dog separately, but I want to make sure that’s enough, and that their play seems appropriate.
    Here is a short video of their play:
    https://youtu.be/1voxHXYQXI4

    • Sarah Baker says:

      If the play is as you described and showed in the video then I would not be concerned about putting much of a limit on it. There are conditions I would limit it though. For example if my puppy played so much he was too tired to play with me, or if they no longer took breaks on their own, or if one dog no longer wanted to play. I would also use their play as distractions for training. Can you recall out of play? When they come can they sit? Can they down? Try using releasing to play again as the reward. The more you use “life” rewards the easier it is to wean off of food.


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