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As I mentioned in my post, my girl is almost 8, and she can still act like a crazy puppy :) Some dogs have a lot of energy and are playful later in life.
For sure, age is not always an indicator. My ten year old mini mix plays with the one year old like she herself is a puppy. It doesn’t last as long as it would have when she was younger but is still the same intensity.

This ten year old also zips around the agility course like a youngster, and people who don’t know her are always amazed when I tell them her age. I do hope this means she will live a long time, I’m hoping for another 8-10 yrs.
 
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I'd reached out to her regarding an adolescent GSD I was fostering. We had family coming to visit with a very small Yorkie, and I was looking to discuss the best way to introduce them.

She was kind and helpful, but very blunt: It's easy for dogs to unintentionally hurt other dogs when there is a large size difference. All it takes is one errant paw on the back.

It would have been irresponsible of her not to share her professional opinion with me, and her experiences have led her to the professional opinion that these dogs should not play with one another.

(And yes, this is despite the fact that often—thankfully—there will be no serious incidents.)
Peggy the Parti, you brought up some very good points, and I didn’t see any of it as divisive. It’s good to hear everyone’s experiences and thoughts, the more info the better.

I wonder if the trainer’s reaction would have been as extreme if the larger dog was a dog you owned rather than a foster. The combination of a foster and a visiting dog may have sparked her concern, too many unknowns. Having fostered a lot of dogs,I can attest to the fact that dogs from unknown backgrounds can react in ways you don’t anticipate. Combine that with a dog that is visiting, coming in to what the foster now thought was their safe territory...well, there’s a potential there that has to be closely managed.

Just a thought, I missed that the GSD was a foster the first time I read this. I haven’t personally owned big and littles together. I used to have big dogs, but they didn’t overLap with this crew. When I was a kid, we had a dachshund with larger dogs. No problems, but that dachshund was a feisty girl and she kept everyone in their place!
 

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I have 4 dogs. Renn a st. poodle (60 lbs), a cairn terrier (12 lbs), chihuahua, 8 lbs and a boxer 82 lbs. I have no problems but I am also vigilant with any play. The chi and the boxer go out together all the time and do not interact in any wild play. I do not allow the poodle to go out with the chi, as he is still wild when he plays and could inadvertently hurt the chi. The cairn can hold herself accountable up to any size dog. LOL. As far a foster and a visiting dog, well it would even be an option for me to allow interaction regardless of size. I would need to know the dog really well to assess how they would interact. Many IG are delicate and easily can break a bone. My neighbors did as a pup from jumping, same with another neighbor and her Pappillion, he broke a leg jumping off a couch but today as an older boy gets on well with her very large doodle. I think its doable but for me I'd rather add another dog maybe when the standard is 3. I'd like a 2nd poodle but right now I have enough dogs in the house and my boy is still in learning mode. Having 2 in learning mode would not be good for me.
 

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I agree with Mufar, I would personally not have two dogs that close together regardless of size! I had two that were maybe 16 months apart, the older was well trained already but even so, we were pushing our limits.
I don't think there is a specific age, but I do think the older should be past the stage of still working on rules and manners, and be just in the 'maintenance' phase (obviously any sports, competitive obedience, or tricks could still be in process).
My older dog is a 100lb mastiff, so even though I have a standard poodle there was still a huge size discrepancy when I took him home! The mastiff is 2.5, an easygoing girl and so good at moderating her play with smaller dogs and they have done very well together.
I work in a vet clinic, and all of the cases I can think of where one dog hurt another, were due to aggressive behaviour (resource guarding being the most common). Of course more serious damage is usually done when it's a larger dog vs small, but I still remember the Jack Russel that killed a 12 week old puppy at the dog park...
If we are going to add in sprains and torn ligaments that happened during play, size was not a factor (if anything I would say most were of similar size).
Certainly things can happen, but rather than focusing on size you need to know your dog, and use common sense. For example, young puppies should never be left alone with an older/bigger dog, but should be crated or otherwise contained. I think it's also wise to make sure there are places for the smaller dog to retreat from the larger one- coffee tables and chairs can work, a small crate, and I have a baby gate with a cat door that my standard could fit through for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Certainly things can happen, but rather than focusing on size you need to know your dog, and use common sense. For example, young puppies should never be left alone with an older/bigger dog, but should be crated or otherwise contained. I think it's also wise to make sure there are places for the smaller dog to retreat from the larger one- coffee tables and chairs can work, a small crate, and I have a baby gate with a cat door that my standard could fit through for a while.
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Yes, I agree! We actually already have lots of fences around our house because we have 3 cats and like to give them an escape when Greta has lots of energy. And yes, it's never a good idea to leave a young puppy alone with a dog. There would be lots of separation anyway for socialization/training purposes. In the past, we had a 12 week old large breed puppy when we adopted a 1 year old medium breed dog and we didn't leave them alone together for a long time. It was probably 9 months before we started leaving them alone together. It was hard work, but we were able to train them both to be polite dogs. (I enjoy the hard work.) We are a little experienced with owning multiple dogs and have learned a lot from watching my brother raise his 5 rescues together, but we've just never had different sizes before and my brother's dogs are all of comparable size as well. Either way, it doesn't sound like getting a miniature while Greta is a 1 year old is a good idea. We have for sure ruled out a miniature. Maybe when we get a little closer to Greta's first birthday we will have a better idea of whether we want to add another dog as well. Thank you for your information!
 

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I brought home my standard poodle puppy to my 2 year old 30 lb mini mutt.

My poodle grew to be 70+ lb.

They get along ok, like siblings. No injuries have occurred, the Standard is now 2 years old. The mini mutt is really out of her weight class when it comes to tug o war, but they do still play.




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I brought home my standard poodle puppy to my 2 year old 30 lb mini mutt.

My poodle grew to be 70+ lb.

They get along ok, like siblings. No injuries have occurred, the Standard is now 2 years old. The mini mutt is really out of her weight class when it comes to tug o war, but they do still play.




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They are such a beautiful pair! I'm a sucker for a good mutt.
 

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Silliness! If you are loving, and having loving dogs, I see no reason to worry. I have a standard poodle, Must of his friends are little. It is so cute to see them together. I am a computer dingbat or I would show you photos of him playing with timy dogs smaller than the size of his head!
 

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PS, I just read some of the other posts. I woud feel differently if the larger dog were a pitbull or some other breed, but you are talking about a poodle. I swear, my poodle knows other poodles and reacts differently.
 
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