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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

We brought home our adopted new puppy Spock on Saturday. He's a 5 month old Standard Poodle, and he is a great addition to our family.

Spock is joining Penny, our 9 year old miniature poodle who has been an only doggie for about half of the three years she has been our dog.

So far, so good in most cases - Spock is quickly learning his name as well as a few commands, he's not been perfect, but he is picking up his house training as well.

He and Penny generally get along, but we have one big challenge so far.

Penny is not old, and still has a lot of energy herself, but he's full of that puppy energy and desire to play and she is pretty freaked out by it. He's already almost 3 times her 11 pounds and he throws himself around and bounces and pounces at her.

We also have to work out meal times better as Penny is used to free feeding and Spock will eat anything left around - but we can deal with that.

The biggest issue is how to get him to calm down a little. We're trying our best to use his energy on walks and long sessions of playing with him outside ourselves, but unless he is resting or eating he too often wants to play - and she just isn't interested.

Any advice for our situation?

Thanks,

Ted
 

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First, congratulations on your new addition ? But I do think she's right to be worried about him. A local trainer told me about just some of the injuries she's witnessed (some fatal) when a larger dog tries to play with a small friend. And they're heartbreaking.

She actually goes so far as to say big dogs, especially puppies, SHOULDN'T play with small dogs. Ever.

I think that might be a little extreme, but I'd definitely encourage you to invest in an inexpensive indoor exercise pen if you haven't already. All time spent indoors but NOT in the pen can be calm. (Chewing, grooming, that sort of thing.)

In the pen, Spock can shred, bounce, make a mess and be a silly puppy, but once he's out, unless he's outside, it's time to settle.

That gives your older girl her space, and also teaches Spock when and where it's appropriate to let loose.

We especially like our x-pen when Peggy gets overexcited (and overly mouthy). We can just calmly step out and close the gate and she's like, "Wait! Where'd you go?? I'll be good! I swear!" She'll then usually sit as an "apology" and we can return to the game.
 

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Thanks, Peggy.

I think it actually will be easier to enforce the rules for Spock that he can't play with Penny rather than trying to get him to calm down and play "nice".

Penny generally stays inside most of the time except for walks or if my wife is working in the garden, so the back yard can be Spock's roughhousing playground.

We can work to enforce that indoors are quieter/calmer space.

All of this is new as we've never had a puppy before, let alone a bigger dog.
 

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I so get it. We lost our beloved 14.5 year old mini poodle mix in July and our big, bouncy spoo puppy has been quite the 180! Every behaviour is amplified.

Luckily, spoos are extremely trainable and (sometimes shockingly) intuitive. Once Spock understands the boundaries, I think it will get a lot easier for you.

I keep Peggy tethered to me or to a stationary anchor when she's inside but not in her x-pen. Even just letting her drag her leash around helps her to understand it's not a free for all. Plus, I can quickly grab or step on it if she's about to get into trouble.

Does Penny have a crate or a safe place to escape to? This could also be useful.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Penny has a crate... it is right next to Spock's crate as her presence seems to be calming to him.

He came from a home-breeder situation and was in a house with 10 litter mates as well as his mother until about three weeks ago when he arrived at the rescue's shelter. He was there for two weeks while going through the adoption process, being neutered, etc.

He doesn't show great separation anxiety, but if he is in the crate and she is out o the crate, he doesn't do well so far.

Penny has not been crated for the last 16 months. We had an older poodle/shih tzu mix named Shaggy when we adopted Penny three years ago and they had crates next to each other for when we left the house. Penny was always easy to crate with a simple mention of "Crate time". She would head to her crate and settle down.

16 months ago we had to say goodbye to Shaggy and in an unrelated bit of misfortune two days later we suffered a house fire. We were displaced for a year and during that time we got out of the habit of crating her. She doesn't really need it by herself.

We got her crate back out when we set up Spock's crate and the first time we left them (yesterday afternoon) I just had to say "crate time" and she was in her crate before I could lead him to his.

We're only three days into integrating him into the family, so I'm not too worried yet. He's already learning his name, and he picked up the command sit in no time flat. He's a really good boy and I'm sure we can train him to behave properly around Penny.... I just wasn't sure what boundaries were realistic.

You're advice is a great place to start.

Thanks again.

Ted
 

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I love that Penny got back into the crate routine so quickly. What a good girl!

And what a devastating experience you've been through. I'm sorry.

I do see how one dog being confined while the other isn't could cause some friction or an unstable dynamic. I'm sure some of the poodle pros here will have some more advice for you.

Sounds like you've got a bit of a wonder pup on your hands. That's so encouraging to hear, especially after the rough start he's had. Will be waiting patiently for photos!
 

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Ted, sounds like Spock is happy to be with you all, especially sweet Penny!

I will say though, that during these next few months, he is testing his limits! He will go from listening and being a good boy, to being a crazy fur ball! He is learning where his boundaries are and how much he can get away with. Right now my 6 month old standard is LOVING tissues and taking things out of the trash then RUNNING! He is so fast... Norman right now is thinking this is a fun game, but its not for me! He's testing what he can get away with. I will trade the tissue for a toy. Showing his what is good to play with and what is not.

For Norman, he is VERY jumpy and zoomie and our two older bulldogs are not like that at all. They are our couch ornaments. To get Norman to leave the girls alone, I try to stand up, walk up to him and show him my disapproval with my hand in a "stop" cue and me saying "No more". But do not stand over Spock because this body language shows aggression or wanting to pick a fight in dog-language. Just stand about 2 feet, up right, and say "No More" or what ever cue you use.

If this does not work after repetition, I would take him outside. Showing him that outside (like you stated) is where he gets be a goofball. Inside, he sees Penny and wants to play! But once he starts acting silly, take him outside to play (not as a punishment or this may back fire). For time-out or to calm down, when you cannot put him outside due to heat/rain, put him in his crate. Possibly put a Kong in there or some other treat-toy that helps him focus on licking and not wrestling/barking. This can help calm him and show him that rough-housing is over and to focus that physical energy on something mentally.

This is what I would personally do. But I can understand your potential stress. We have all been there, and I am there now! Norman can be more than a handful. We just have to find ways to coop that train our dogs and benefit us.

Hope this helps! I am not a professional AT ALL!! But this is the best advice I can offer after using these techniques myself and also from getting advice here on the forum!!
 
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