It is normal for older dogs to be more aggressive towards puppies. But if your dog has been showing signs of aggression, there are ways you can help calm him down and make the situation better.

“My older dog is bullying my puppy” is a common situation for many pet owners. This situation can be resolved by finding ways to decrease the aggression of your older dog.

My Older Dog’s Aggressive to My Puppy! What Should I Do?

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You’ve got a cute, energetic dog on your hands. You imagined your elder dog greeting the puppy and playing with him while pulling at toys. 

And you imagine the two of them cuddling up on the floor.

Reality, on the other hand, strikes. Your elder dog is adamant about avoiding interacting with the newcomer. In fact, he’s rather harsh with the youngster.

So, what are your options?

dog looks up as puppy attacks.

It’s crucial how you introduce them and have them live together. Take it gently and patiently.

Some adult dogs get along with pups better than others.

Things to Think About Before Getting a Puppy

I’m a puppy lover. Even if they’re nice to pups away from home, not all adult dogs want to live with a puppy. Before you go out and acquire your new dog, think about the following:

1. Is your elder dog generally fond of puppies?

If your older dog has been properly socialized with puppies in the past and loves interactions with them, the odds of him accepting one at home are higher if the situation is handled appropriately.

It’ll be much more difficult to persuade your elder dog to accept pups in your house if he doesn’t like them.

2. Does your elderly dog have any concerns with his or her behavior?

If this is the case, it is preferable to settle problems before acquiring a puppy.

When you have a puppy, any problems will be amplified, and it’s not fair to either dog to ignore them.

If you’re unsure, consult a canine behavioral specialist.

3. Is there anything wrong with your senior dog’s health?

It’s usually not a good idea to purchase a young puppy if an older dog has health difficulties that impede his vision, hearing, or movement. It’s possible that it’ll be too much for him.

He won’t like playing with a young puppy if he has any disorders that might impact his discomfort level, such as arthritis.

My Shih Tzu was saved. Trevor loves all breeds of dogs. However, he is now about 16 years old and is losing his eyesight. 

I wouldn’t put him in the same room with my Aussie mix puppy Millie and expect them to play together off-leash. It would be inequitable to both dogs.

However, when Millie has had enough exercise to be calm, I have them meet on leash in harnesses.

4. Think about whether the puppy you want is right for your elder dog.

A Saint Bernard puppy, for example, may be too much for an older Maltese.

When selecting a puppy, look for one that will not overwhelm your existing dog and has comparable activity levels.

It’s more likely that they’ll be able to live together effectively if they do so.

It’s not unthinkable that the strange pair will get along. It almost always makes things more difficult.

However, I’ve had my adult Lhasa apso Ralphie accept my Aussie mix puppy Millie. It only took a little more planning and effort.

5. Is your senior dog up to date on his vaccinations?

Before acquiring a puppy, be sure your dog has all of the essential immunizations.

What’s the Difference Between a Puppy and an Older Dog?

It’s natural for an older dog to reprimand a puppy correctly. If the adult dog is actually violent toward the puppy, difficulties occur.

When a new dog comes into the house, it may be quite stressful for the elder dog.

Is your elder dog behaving badly around the puppy?

It’s natural if your elder dog snaps or growls at the new puppy when the youngster gets rowdy. 

Much like the puppy’s mother, the elder dog is asking the younger dog to respect him and back off.

After then, the puppy should ease off on the correction. He should treat the elder dog with respect.

A shriek from the puppy is possible. It’s probably normal as long as the encounter is quick and the puppy isn’t hurt.

If you have any doubts about whether the contact is normal, separate the dogs and seek expert assistance from a positive-reinforcement trainer.

What we term the “puppy license” is something we’ve seen with our older dogs and new pups.

Our older dogs, for whatever reason, allow our puppies to get away with more while they’re younger, but as they get older, they lose their “puppy license” and the older dogs begin to rectify their improper conduct.

What Can You Do To Ensure Your Success?

You can assist your older dog and puppy develop a good bond in a variety of ways. 

You should never hurry introductions or allow the older dog the chance to defend desirable objects. 

Also, don’t leave the two alone together unless you’re confident they’re getting along. That takes time–possibly months. It’s preferable to be safe than than sorry.

1. Get your home ready for the puppy’s arrival.

Remove any chewing gum, toys, and food dishes. All of these are things that your senior dog could be wary about. (Please note that if your adult dog–or even you–guards such objects prior to acquiring a puppy, seek professional assistance before choosing to acquire a puppy.)

Create a toy-free zone where both parties may learn to coexist. To avoid conflict, you might set up separate play spaces with their toys for each of them at initially.

You want to put them in a position to succeed.

2. Alter the smells

If as all possible, leave anything with the puppy’s fragrance in the elder dog’s kennel or bed so that he becomes used to him when he arrives.

If possible, leave something with the fragrance of your elder dog with the puppy before he arrives.

3. Take them out of their comfort zone.

It’s typically preferable to introduce your elder dog to the puppy in a public place rather than at home. 

This will assist to prevent your senior dog from becoming territorial.

In many situations, it’s difficult to introduce a puppy to an older dog since the puppy shouldn’t be in the same area as other unvaccinated dogs.

So you may meet them at a friend’s home or somewhere else neutral.

The rescue organisation had us meet Millie, my Aussie mix dog, at their site when I received her last summer. I also took my other five dogs to meet her.

My other dogs are puppy-friendly, and they know how to reprimand them correctly. Nonetheless, it was critical that they meet there.

4. Take your time with introductions.

When your elder dog meets the puppy and is calm, reward him with goodies. Stop any possible encounter and seek expert treatment if he seems hostile (raised hackles, lunging, growling).

You’ll need two handlers for your introductions: one for the puppy and one for the elder dog. One person should hold the puppy’s leash while the other person holds the older dog’s.

Keep them on six-foot leashes with no flexis or lengthy lines. It’s also preferable if they’re wearing harnesses that they can’t get out of. 

A tight collar on the elderly dog might convey to him that something is amiss.

They should be on opposing ends of the room.

Move them a few feet closer once they’ve become accustomed to being in the same room, ensuring sure the elder dog is comfortable.

Getting them to meet briefly face-to-face might take an hour or more, depending on the dog. 

If the adult dog seems calm, gradually approach each other, have them meet for a few seconds if all goes well, then move apart (saying them “let’s go” as you walk away).

5. Take a walk with the dogs to get to know one other.

If the puppy is mature enough to walk on a leash, you may walk him alongside the adult dog, with distinct handlers for each dog.

This is an excellent technique to introduce two dogs to each other. Maintain a distance of at least 10 feet between them. Depending on how the elder dog responds to the puppy, you may become closer over time.

6. Gradually incorporate them into your home.

Don’t make them engage, play with each other, or pose for pictures.

7. Separately feed them

It’s ideal to feed them in distinct regions so that there isn’t any food conflict.

8. Keep track of all interactions.

To get the rooms to meet, use gates between them. One may stand on one side of the gate while the other stands on the other.

Get your puppy acclimated to being in a crate so he can be crated sometimes while in the same room as the older dog.

Keep an eye on your elder dog’s body language to make sure he doesn’t become too rough or violent with the youngster. 

I would have them meet in harnesses on loose leashes at first, for days or weeks (depending on the dog’s attitude). 

Two handlers are required: one for the puppy and the other for the mature dog.

Be patient and take your time.

If the initial contacts go smoothly, you may ultimately have two leashes dragging so that each person can take a leash and instruct the dogs to “let’s leave” before things escalate.

Ensure that the dogs’ leashes do not twist or wrap around them. After all, you don’t want any issues to arise or for them to be overly harsh with one another.

Stop the interaction right away if the older dog shows signs of stress, such as raised hackles or tense body language.

Have one handler use a toy to entice the puppy away while the other calls the older dog over.

Take each dog to a different place, such as a separate room, to relax.

9. Do not allow the puppy to bother the older dog.

Even adult dogs that like being around pups don’t want them harassing them all the time. 

Remove the puppy from the older dog’s reach. To persuade the puppy to play away from the adult dog, use a toy.

10. Exercise the puppy before engaging with an older dog.

Make sure that all of your encounters go well. The adult dog is more likely to accept the puppy if he isn’t overly frantic.

Allow the puppy to get some exercise away from the elder dog by taking a walk or playing with it. This will keep the puppy from becoming too active for the older dog.

11. Give the puppy some instructions to learn.

Obedience training is necessary for the puppy to learn what is expected of him. 

The puppy should learn to sit, lay down, walk on a loose leash, pay attention to you, and settle on command as a starting point.

The more information the puppy has, the more probable the two canines are to get along.

It’s critical to instill some impulse control in the puppy.

12. Reward and praise both dogs by having them sit.

Give them a reward and praise them as long as your elder dog isn’t guarding resources. Give the reward first to the elder dog.

13. Pay attention to the elder dog initially.

If the elder dog is recognized first, there is a lower chance of a fight between the two.

14. Foster a pleasant relationship with the puppy.

There should be two handlers. Someone should stroll the puppy near the older dog while holding the puppy on a leash. 

They should be at least 15 feet apart, allowing them to see but not approach each other. 

When your older dog is calm, pet him and provide him positive reinforcement (treats, praise).

As the elder dog can take it without getting upset, bring the puppy closer. Continue to give the elder dog high-value goodies so that he associates good things with the youngster.

Stop delivering rewards to the older dog while the puppy’s handler leads the puppy away from the older dog.

When the puppy is present or approaches, you want the older dog to believe that excellent things–treats like little morsels of chicken or hotdogs–appear.

Engage in things that will help you connect. Walk the puppy and the elder dog at the same time (for a short distance). A puppy should be walked by one handler while the adult dog is walked by another. Only stroll where there haven’t been any unvaccinated dogs. 

When the puppy is roughly 16 weeks old and has had all of his vaccines, he may go for walks in normal places.

15. Redirect your older dog to instructions he is familiar with.

Bring him over to you and give him praise and a prize. Allow him to target–and then touch–your hand. Make him glance at you when you say anything.

This will aid in gaining control and ensuring that he is not too fixated on the puppy–in addition to ensuring that he understands what is expected of him. 

PRO TIP: Instead of a collar, it’s typically ideal to have them walk in well-fitted harnesses. A tight collar might give the senior dog the impression that something is amiss. A collar may also exert too much pressure on the trachea of a young puppy.

16. Stick to a schedule.

Dogs are animals that stick to their routines. As a result, attempt to maintain your adult dog’s routines that you had previous to the birth of the puppy. A routine also allows the puppy to understand what is expected of him.

17. Pay special care to your senior dog.

It’s critical that your senior dog understands that he is still loved and cherished by you. 

Continue to play with him and take him on walks individually. Do some of the things you used to do with him before the dog arrived.

18. Gradually introduce expensive objects such as toys.

Initially, kids should have distinct play places and toys.

Introduce toys that your elder dog doesn’t care about and that are safe for the puppy as soon as you see that they’re getting along. Alternatively, bring in new toys if the elder dog isn’t guarding them.

One handler should play with the puppy, while the other should play with the older dog.

What You Should Not Do

When attempting to incorporate the puppy into your family, there are a few things you should avoid. You don’t want to inadvertently impair their interactions or set them up for failure.

Don’t compel them to be together.

It’s critical not to push the puppy and the elder dog to interact or be in one other’s space. 

For the elder dog to accept the puppy, patience and time are required.

Do not stifle the snarl of the elder dog.

It’s usual for the elder dog to reprimand the youngster in certain ways. Normal is a growl and an air snap to alert the puppy that he has over the line.

If your elder dog, on the other hand, seems to be hostile toward the puppy, seek expert assistance. 

Allow them to be together only when all difficulties have been handled.


How Long Does It Take a Puppy and an Elderly Dog to Get Along?

There is no hard and fast rule for how long your dog will take to get along with a puppy.

It is determined by the two canines.

Some adult dogs are eager to embrace a puppy. They may have been exposed to them effectively in the past. 

Even some older dogs that adore pups may take longer to adjust to having a puppy reside with them in their home.

No matter how skillfully you introduce them and handle the situation, some older dogs will never accept a puppy. 

It’s occasionally best for both dogs to rehome the puppy after seeking expert guidance to assess the issue.

A puppy may be too much for some older dogs that have visual difficulties, arthritis, or other issues.

Is it normal for my older dog to bite the neck of my puppy?

This is a common occurrence among our new pups and elderly canines. It generally alternates between the older dog biting the puppy’s neck and the puppy biting the elder dog’s neck.

Our elder dogs, fortunately for us, are quite tolerant with our younger pups.

Our elder dogs like playing a game we call “bitey face” with the pups. Grasping cheeks, necks, scruff, and faces, displaying teeth, and making a growly noise. It’s normally a fun game, but it can get out of hand.

When the game becomes too much for our older dogs, they can occasionally howl, and other times they will nip the youngster.

Keep an eye on your puppy and older canines while they’re playing a rough game like bitey face. You’ll want to make sure you’re there in case play has to be regulated.

How Can I Prevent My Puppy From Biting Another Dog?

Here are some things we do to keep our pups under control and away from our elder dogs:

  1. Exercising Your Dog’s Body And Mind – A happy puppy is a weary puppy.
  2. Teach Bite Inhibition to Your Puppy
  3. One of our favorite strategies is to redirect puppy biting to your dog’s favorite chew toy. We like redirecting to Bully Sticks, our favorite chew.
  4. Give Your Dog A Command To Distract Her – Use a command that your puppy is already acquainted with. Make a good name for yourself, and make sure you have a high-value reward on hand.
  5. Bitter Apple Spray is a popular deterrent for biting and chewing on one’s own hair. This is also a good way to keep another dog from biting you. Before using the product, make sure it doesn’t bother your dog’s skin.
  6. Give Your Puppy (and Dog) a Break — separating your two dogs allows your puppy to relax and play with your older dog in a more courteous manner.

Stetson and Linus, my first two dogs, were the finest puppy raisers in the family because they taught the younger pups the house rules. They’d howl at the appropriate moments and sometimes issue corrections by nipping a puppy’s butt.

Now that we have two more laid-back dogs (Raven and Elsa), I have to use some of the strategies suggested above more often.


An elderly dog and a fresh puppy may frequently get along swimmingly.

It’s possible that they’ll become best buddies.

However, setting them up for success will require a lot of time, patience, and management.

What are your thoughts? Have you recently taken a puppy home for your elder dog? How did it turn out?

In the comments area below, tell us about your experiences.


The “older dog biting puppy neck” is a common problem that many pet owners have. The best way to avoid this issue is to get your older dog used to the new pup.

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