Why Does My Adult Dog Dominate Puppies?

by Merran Hamilton
(Melbourne, Victoria Australia)

I have a gorgeous 21 month old German Shepherd he is very easy going and mixes very well at the local park with all sorts of dogs. He has never shown any aggression to other dogs. He is assertive with other dogs if they get out of hand but usually just his presence is enough to calm things down. He does however put young puppies on their backs and stands over them when they are new to the socialized group? Sometimes he frightens the pups. He has never used his teeth on them, he just makes a lot of noise and looks imposing, then he walks away from them and does not bother them again. Should I be concerned about this? I always ask him to back off when it happens. What else should I do?

Our Response

You are doing everything right – young puppies are inquisitive by nature. Your older dog is just saying ‘hey I need my space’. He is walking away which is a good thing – have you considered taking your dog to training classes – this will not only enable your dog to mix with yonge puppies but it will desensitize your dog to young puppies. The more he is around them the less it will bother him – its called socialization and it works – and works well!

Hope this helps