Blending Dominate Female Springer with 9 week old isn't working so well - suggestions
Any advice would be really appreciated. The springer was tightly bonded with our chocolate who passed away this summer. He was an adult when we got her as a puppy and took over as her mamma dog for the most part (until she realized she could dominate him and then she fetched the morning paper and he ran along in case he could have a chance). They were great together.
I knew she would be harder to blend with a new dog, but didn't expect her to be so truly awful! (She gets plenty of attention alone and snuggles still.) The poor pup does everything, but stand on his head trying to play with her. He's only 9 weeks so he's learning about biting. She will have nothing! to do with him except to run along side when we are out playing. She snarls when he asks to play and bares her teeth. She will hold onto the end of a large toy we have only briefly if she thinks she's mostly playing with me. He has nipped her a few times and so is learning about that and she has nipped him back - fairly. However, there are plenty of times that he is gentle and would be gentle if she would give him a chance. I'm worried that he will learn some bad social behavior for one, and that she will not accept him for two. We got him at 7 weeks and expected that she would be a bit more forgiving to a puppy. She is only really with him in the morning and evening when we're all in the kitchen or outside playing so we're giving her plenty of non-puppy time. The small kitchen is his puppy gated zone until I do full on night crating starting this weekend. (I work FT so until they reach a point to give me a little more sleep they get paper trained first).
She also growls while playing and always has. When he growls with me, play stops and it's not allowed. (That is working well) I won't have a 110 pound lab sounding like he's going to kill someone. I'm worried he will freak out other dog owners though! She eventually taught our chocolate lab to growl while playing. Sigh. Are we resigned to have a growling lab???
No suggestions? Shoot. I was hoping people had some help for me and had gone through this before. One trainer suggested an e-collar and training for the Springer. I'm worried about making her neurotic. I'll check in again some time. Hopefully, someone will chime in. Thanks!
puppies are annoying even for friendly social dogs.
Is the springer generally social with other dogs? Was she socialized? (without the male lab?)
Honestly I would limit their interactions. you can't force her to want your new addition. especially not an annoying puppy. So you will have to give her space, separate them, take the lead in keeping the puppy busy and social. Also do some fun one on one things with the springer and ensure they have a safe place they can get to that the puppy is NOT ALLOWED to get to.
Growling in play is often just a sign they are into it. Personally i would not correct it. but to each their own. and a lab shouldn'T be 110 pounds Growling is just a noise a dog makes and in fact, in dog sports it's usually something you aim for (it means your dog is really into what you are doing). I wouldn't make a big deal out of it.
Make sure to socialize the puppy with lots of other dogs, all types of (safe) dogs.
The Springer has her space most of the day. Her bed is next to his crate in the bedroom where at night she sleeps part of the time and part of the time on the floor next to me (she's always done this.) She prefers to sit on the other side of the puppy gate in the kitchen while we prepare food and any time she asks to be let out of the puppy zone we honor that. She will nip at him even if he tries to lick her muzzle and she has only allowed him to lick her a few times. She received a ton of praise for allowing it. I had a gun dog trainer suggest an e collar to nip any aggressiveness in the bud, but I'm weary of that and concerned about winding up with a neurotic dog. Field Springers are high strung to begin with. This springer is dominant in our household, at least. Until she knows another dog, she is shy (but, I don't think that is unlike her breed.) She was over the other lab and the cat and would like to be over us if she could be.
I'm o.k. with some play growling, but not ferocious growling like a mad dog. The new puppy is getting that I won't play if he does the really mean growl, but will otherwise. My first lab only did a low play growl and the 2nd didn't growl much at all until he picked it up from the Field Springer. I personally prefer not to have a large dog go into a growl like it's going to kill me and we live in a dense historical neighborhood where he'll have to be very social.
We adopted our Field Springer from a litter where they let people take the puppies at 5 weeks. She was left to play with the mother, her adult full sister, and a toddler. She did require a lot of socialization and is somewhat shy until she knows strange dogs better, but does like to play. She has a regular group she goes running with in the hills twice a week right now.
Our lab puppy has been able to play a few times with a neighbor's pug and lab as well as greet the other neighbor's Vizsla Monday, but that's about it so far. He's had 2 of his vaccination series so far. I would love to have him play with some other dogs, he really needs to! I play with him on all fours with toys and silliness, but I'm not a dog and it's not the same It's a tough balance of immunizations versus socialization and I'm more comfortable with an adult dog than another puppy right now. What do you all do?
LOL, yes a lab shouldn't be 110, but I'm pretty sure this one will be in that range when he's about 5 years old. I loved our chocolate who was the perfect family lab and a medium size English/bench type lab. This one however, was the largest of the litter and is 1/2 Field Trials. At 10 1/2 weeks he is 28 pounds. At least I learned my lesson from my first lab and this one won't be neutered when he's young. In addition to health benefits, it should also help keep him from being as tall. Knock on wood!
please please please DO NOT USE AN ECOLLAR FOR AGGRESSION. it generally leads to more aggression. imagine if you were uncomfortable with something and every time you tried to show your discomfort you were zapped? you would hate that thing even more.
two dogs is not socializing not even close. find a puppy class or friend with dogs or something. ASAP (in a safe way). The socialization window is open til about 12 weeks. you want to find safe social dogs that are healthy and up to date on their shots. Puppy classes are great. you want to skip dog parks and stranger dogs (not all socialization is good socialization, you want it to be positive experiences) but friends and family with friendly health vaccinated dogs is fine. you can hold him at a coffee shop or whatnot. get him out for car rides, drive thrus. stores that allow dogs but are not pet store (some hardware stores, etc.).
When I got my last lab 12 years ago we already had a 7 year old female German Shepard/mutt. She was sometimes aggressive with other dogs. It took her about 3 weeks before she would play with the puppy. Before then she just growled at him (but I dont remember her snapping or ever actually trying to hurt him). Then one day she just decided he was OK and they were BFFs until the day that shepard died. So there is hope! She was definitely the dominant one and the black lab was the dopey side-kick.