• Teresa Stanczak

    October 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Congratulations on your new puppy!
    First you want to troubleshoot whether this is aggression or play.

    Many times play can seem aggressive to us because of how the dogs jump on each other, growl, bark, and bite. The interactions between the dogs, and the body language they display, give us information about the intentions of their actions.
    Some breeds have a tendency to play more roughly than others. Maltese tend to be fairly gentle with play, while terriers (such as your YorkiPoo) can be pretty rough.

    Getting familiar with dog body language and what it means will help you determine what is actually going on between your dogs. Do they ever interact with lunging? Do you ever see a play bow (dog down on front end with butt high in the air) from the puppy? Are tails up/down, wagging or not wagging?

    Below is a link to a page in our Self Help section about Canine Body Language.

    Here is a video on Canine body language also from the self help section.

    In either case, keeping a leash on the puppy can be helpful in managing their interactions. Allow your maltese to have an area that is puppy free, so that he/she doesn’t have to be pestered by the new frisky puppy. Tire the puppy out prior to them interacting.

    After reviewing body language and observing the interactions between your dogs, you should be able to better determine if it is play or aggression. Please post your observations and more detail about their interactions and I can help you determine the source of the behavior and proper steps to take. If you can take a short video that would be helpful too.

    If it is rough play and your maltese does not like it, then try short interactions where you call the puppy and lead him / her away (with a treat) before things get too out of hand. If you practice this repeatedly with the puppy, he/she will get in the habit of keeping interactions short and looking to you for a treat. This will also give your maltese more confidence with the puppy. Gradually make the interactions longer and longer as long as they stay appropriate. Make sure to pay attention to the Maltese body language as well. Dogs will usually growl or snap at a puppy if they get out of hand. This is normal and appropriate and gives the puppy important feedback that their rough behavior won’t be tolerated. Naturally, drawing blood or intense fights that need to be broken up is not normal play or interaction.

    I hope this information helps!

    We will be glad to help you troubleshoot this scenario with your additional details and observations.