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Pom scaring pug puppy during play

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by OctoHolly, Sep 10, 2018.


  1. OctoHolly

    OctoHolly PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there,

    I have a 4 year old Pomeranian (neutered) and a 5 month old pug, both males.
    There seems to be an issue in communication between them. They are eager to play together, but as my pomeranian play bows, he barks very loudly multiple times at the pug puppy. The pug puppy lifts up his paws and gently bats them towards my pom, but my pom just stays in place, play bowing and occasionally spinning, all while barking at the pug. My pug eventually backs off and whimpers. They occasionally chase each other around the house, which they both enjoy, but, these other times concern me.

    Sometimes my pug initiates play time, but it always ends up with the same scenario of my pom just bowing and barking at him, and my pug getting confused.

    I would like to add, that when I or my fiancé play with my pomeranian, he never barks at us, even when play bowing and spinning. He only does this with the pug.

    I'm not really sure what's going on between them, or what to do about it. I'd appreciate any help, thanks!
     
  2. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Has your pug had plenty play experience with other pups?

    To me, it sounds as if your pom is excited and wants your pug to chase and play, yet your pug is reluctant.

    What is your pug like playing with other pups? Is he quite a shy one?
     
  3. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    The barking could be more that your pom is actually unsure of your new puppy at the moment rather than anything else.

    Am not saying in the future when or if they play there will be no barking but often barking can be due saying actually I am unsure of this.

    I think it might help if you spent calm time with both of them together so they are in close proximity and realise both are ok. So say sitting on the floor and have just the puppy kibble as a treat so when they both come close to you, start giving them pieces of kibble. So it's like saying to both of them look he's ok.
     
  4. OctoHolly

    OctoHolly PetForums Newbie

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    Hmm, the breeder I got him from did mention that he was the quiet, relaxed one of the bunch, and tended to sleep a lot compared to the other pug puppies, and rather relax than play. However, since the day we brought him home, he's been anything but quiet and relaxed. He's always excited around other dogs, and eager to interact with them, and incredibly over the top eager. However, every dog he's met seems put off by his eagerness and they tend to back off and try to ignore him. My pug is quite "in your face" with other dogs, but I think that's quite normal for puppies who have yet to learn boundaries. So no, he's not shy in the slightest. But, really doesn't seem to have a clue what to do when my pom starts barking during play.

    There are no other puppies in my area, so other than his brothers and sisters, he's not played with any other puppies.

    I don't know if this is related or helps, but, my pomeranian always tries to correct certain behaviours with my pug, but, my pug often doesn't listen and will just bark back at my pom. There are times where eventually after a long argument the pug will give up, but, often the pug will just argue back for absolutely ages until my pom just gives in, which lets the pug get his way. I'm unsure what to do in situations like these, as I've heard you're not supposed to interfere during these moments. But, is it normal for my pug to get away with these things, or put up such a fight to get his way? Could this also contribute to the miscommunication during play?
     
  5. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    You should never let older dogs in multidog households correct younger dogs, or any dog correct another dog in multi dog households.

    Tides can soon turn with young dogs, and practiced behaviour can lead to fights

    As an owner you should step in so that older dogs do not get pestered by younger dogs, whether this is using a houseline and removing the from the situation. Using toys as distraction before puppy approaches older dog.
     
  6. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    I think @O2.0 might be able to offer some good advice.

    I was only really thinking of what my young dog would do if another play bowed and barked - is it an excited kind of bark? - i think she would give chase (unless this is happening inside a confined area of the house?)

    I agree with @lullabydream that you need to step in before things get out of hand.

    I know what you mean about not interfering too much - it's that fine line between what is rough and tumble play (and puppy/young dog) play can look really rough and what is turning nasty.

    You can get a good idea when watching pups or dogs play - if it looks evenly matched and if the dogs keep bouncing back in for more in a fun way, signs are that it's all fun. When one dog is in the submissive on its back for extended periods or trying to run out of the play and hide, getting body slammed etc then you can get the idea that's not much fun for all. Would you think about taking your youngster to classes so that it be around more pups a similar age?

    Or see if there are any pug meet ups around your way?
     
  7. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Yes, it is normal for a pup who hasn't learned boundaries to be very "in your face" with other dogs, but you should definitely not be allowing it, and knowing that he defaults to that, you should be proactively preventing him from a) practicing the behavior, and b) annoying other dogs. You most definitely don't want him annoying the wrong dog who might not tolerate rude puppies and could give an OTT correction that could injure your pup both emotionally and physically.

    I'm guessing here, but I would bet that at some point your pom figured out that barking keeps obnoxious puppy at bay and that's how he has chosen to deal with annoying puppy behavior. Play bows are not always invitations to play, they're sometimes calming signals and sometimes a sign that the dog is conflicted - "I want to play with you, but I don't really like the way you play" sort of communication.

    Yes, I think allowing things to continue like this for "absolutely ages" has definitely contributed to the unsure communication between the dogs.

    The whole "let them sort it out" advice is much more nuanced. There is wisdom in allowing stable dogs with good dog skills to help puppies learn.
    (Story time, skip to the next paragraph if you just want the advice part :) )
    Earlier this past summer, my dog Bates was staying with a friend who's a dog trainer. She had her two dogs, a foster, and a puppy in training. Bates is the "uncle" dog who is ridiculously tolerant of puppy stupids, and genuinely enjoys puppies. The other dogs also defer to Bates, mostly due to seniority, and he's the most confident, calm one of the bunch.
    The pup was doing the rounds, annoying every other dog in the house, finally the foster dog snapped at him, and the puppy did the dramatic "kaiyai" squeal running off and literally threw himself on top of Bates for safety, laying on Bates' bed in between Bates' front legs, looking up and licking Bates' face in appeasement.
    Bates just benevolently looked down at the pup as if to say "well, don't go around biting everyone, duh." Pup chilled with Bates for a minute, then got up and went to his own spot. (Eventually, dogs like Bates would address the rude behavior of invading his space on the dog bed, and the appeasement licking is also annoying to a lot of dogs, but those are lessons for when puppy licence expires, and by then, pup will be much better at heeding warnings and will have the impulse control to be able to do so.)
    This little scenario is excellent and a fantastic way for puppies to learn good dog skills. Pup is learning to heed warnings or get yelled at, he's learning calm behavior from a benevolent alpha (yes, yes, I know we can have all sorts of fun with that term, but there are times where it does apply), and overall this was a great experience for this young puppy. So you can see where folks who have multiple dogs in stable relationships will advice to "let them figure it out" and indeed nothing humans can do will match these sorts of lessons.

    But back to reality. Most of us don't have a house full of multiple dogs who all fit a role for teaching the pup dog skills. Most of us have one dog, who may or may not have the best skills, and random dogs we encounter out and about.
    IOW, most of us are going to have to do a good bit of intervening to help our puppies learn to navigate the world of dog communication.

    Here is how I generally approach allowing older stable dogs to help me train puppies:
    - I only allow either my dogs, or dogs I know exceedingly well with owners I trust to correct puppies. Dogs who are going to live together are going to have to learn how to communicate. Dogs who aren't ever going to see each other much, I don't care, and it's not worth risking my puppy's socialization with a dog I don't know.
    - Within that context, older dogs should be giving subtle warnings. If pup isn't picking up on the warnings, I step in. By step in, it might be something as simple as calling the pup over "hey stupid, stop annoying him, you're about to get flattened." I want pups to learn to heed warnings, not wait until the older dog has to really escalate. One, that's not fair on the older dog, and two, the pup needs to learn that you respond to subtle communication, don't wait for the escalation.
    It will happen though once or twice that you're not paying attention or things escalate before you can do anything, and the pup gets corrected. Not the end of the world, he'll be fine. I would not correct the older dog either, just make a mental note to give him a break and be more careful in the future.

    Speaking of breaks, older dogs need puppy-free zones. Puppies are annoying and exhausting. Older dogs need plenty of time and space where they know they will not be bothered by the pup. Baby gates and other barriers where the older dog knows he can go and get away and you will support him in his need for space. This will help the older dog's patience a lot too :)
     
  8. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    What a brilliant analysis @O2.0! Hopefully the OP will find that as enlightening as i did! Cheers!
     
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  9. OctoHolly

    OctoHolly PetForums Newbie

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    That's odd, because pretty much everywhere I've read says that it's normal for an older dog to correct a younger dog. My pug has learned some good things from being corrected by my pom, such as to stop jumping up at other dogs and to stop biting other dogs fur etc. Surely it's a form of communication between them? My pug doesn't pester my pom at all anymore because of the correcting my pom did. But, as for the barking arguments, I do step in when it goes on, as a quick "oi!" soon stops the commotion and they both go do something else.

    There're never fights between my pom and pug, unless food is involved, but I now feed them separately. I do understand what you're saying though, but I don't think all correcting is harmful. Dogs need to let other dogs know what they do and don't like, and it's especially important for puppies to know what's appropriate behaviour. Puppies are going to annoy older dogs, and I don't think it's wrong for the dog to say "hey, I don't like that!". I would never let my pug continue to frustrate my pom, and when he doesn't get the clue, I always step in to avoid problems.

    But, yes, I do know what situations creating the barking arguments, so I will take your advice and distract my pug with toys before that happens, thanks!
     
  10. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Read @O2.0 post...

    I have never read anything unless you really have a good stooge dog that says older dogs should correct younger dogs. Most people don't have a good stooge dog
     
  11. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    The problem is, not all older dogs know how to correct appropriately or effectively. Some dogs are completely OTT and scare and potentially scar young pups. Others are just ineffective and that leads to other issues (it sounds like your situation is falling in to this category). This is why we humans have to stay on top of what is going on and intervene as needed. Which may be much more than we anticipated. After all, your dog didn't choose to bring a pup in to the home, you did. The older dog shouldn't be charged with training, that's our job :)
     
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  12. OctoHolly

    OctoHolly PetForums Newbie

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    Sorry, I should have stated that I don't allow him to be that way, or at least, I try to prevent it the best I can. He's usually on his lead when meeting other dogs, for example on walks. He's not "in your face" as literally as I meant, I mean he will excitedly go up to the dog, tail wagging frantically, sniff their body and bums, try to lick them etc. He's very outgoing and not shy is what I really meant. But, if the other dog seems uncomfortable (which they always are), I always pull him away to give the other dog room.

    As for the "absolutely ages" part, this has only happened twice. After those two times I learned that I needed to step in to stop those arguments. If they're barking at each other, then I stop them with an "oi". They both stop immediately and go their separate ways. I will try and prevent these arguments from happening at all now though.

    That's interesting about the play bows, does this apply to the spinning he does too?

    That "story time" was a great read, thanks! My pom does give subtle warnings before resorting to a quick sharp bark, and when I first got my pug, I would always rush in to stop my pug when he wasn't picking up the clues. The times where my pom did end up correcting the puppy, really paid off though, as my pug doesn't bother him (chase him, play with his fur, jump at his face) at all anymore. My pom is an incredibly gentle boy, and very calm, I definitely trust him not to hurt my pug, and he always gives plenty of warning before his quick bark happens (Like I said though, I do step in if my pug doesn't get a clue), but yes, I don't catch them all and he does end up doing a quick bark (this isn't constant, it's only ever few days).

    Yes, I agree, and always give my pom plenty of room and space where he can spend time away from the pug. He goes upstairs when he wants to have time to himself, or I will take the pug to another room. Sometime's me and my fiancé will take the pug out somewhere, and leave out pom to roam free in the house without anybody disturbing him. Or we will take the pom out, and leave the pug at home. We care very much that our pom gets time for himself to relax! (both are toilet trained and take amazing care of the house!).

    Thanks for your advice, it's really really helpful. I will go ahead and try to catch any signals my pom is showing and be sure to sort out the situation before anything escalates. How would you recommend I stop my pug if he's not getting the clues? You said to call him over, so do you mean literally just call his name? Should I scold him at all, or give him a treat for coming to me and leaving the dog alone? Or should I just call him over and then go do something else?
     
  13. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Yes, literally just call his name. At this point his name should be a super strong cue (and if it's not, work on making it one). Saying a pup's name should get their attention and be the predictor of all sorts of awesome things. Build this up so that you get to the point that saying pup's name means you end up with a dog in your face :)

    No, don't scold him for coming to you ever! And try very hard to never use his name in the context of a reprimand, this preserves the strength of the name as a cue to pay attention to you because good things are coming.

    Basically when you interrupt annoying puppy behavior you're changing the subject. You may say the pup's name and direct him to a toy, you might say his name and offer him a quick game with you, or a treat. Or you might want to call the older dog to you and direct him to a puppy free-zone. Remind him that he's allowed to simply ignore the pup and go away.
    If you notice the pup is overtired and needs a chill out moment, you can physically go fetch him and put him in a quiet spot, or give him quiet pets to calm him down. Or crate if he's good at napping in there.
    There's all sorts of options :)
     
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  14. OctoHolly

    OctoHolly PetForums Newbie

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    He has a great recall, so that won't be a problem!

    You're right, I don't even know why I mentioned scolding, I already knew never to use a dogs name in a bad tone! It slipped my mind in that moment!

    Well thanks for all the tips! I shall take your advice thoroughly!

    Will doing this also have bonus effects on the problematic play times they have? Or is that a different area to tackle?
     
  15. OctoHolly

    OctoHolly PetForums Newbie

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    Not sure if anyone will see this, but I'd just like to post an update on my pug and pom.

    Things are much better now. My pom has become so tolerant towards my pug pup, and any time he doesn't want to play he will just completely ignore the bouncy pup in front of him. They do however play together now, though it is very noisy, as their playing involves a lot of barking. But they enjoy chasing each other around.

    Fights are almost non existent. There have been perhaps two since I posted here, and they were very short. Overall, they're getting along so much better. I wouldn't call them friends yet, but perhaps "dogs who tolerate each other and sometimes play together" :)
     
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