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Aria, my ~2 y/o mutt, lost her older friend and after looking we found another dog to bring home. Meryl, a ~1 y/o hound mix, became part of the family a few months ago. They are both wonderful dogs and training has finally started going well with Meryl.

However, Aria was used to playing with an older, calmer dog. Meryl is younger (maybe still a puppy, I keep hearing different ages on her) and plays hard. They chase each other around the yard but Meryl grabs Aria by the neck-rolls and plays too rough. I see no aggression in the play, it just seems rougher than Aria likes/is used to and doesn't like it. They play "mouth-fight" inside sometimes, but Aria doesn't even like Meryl laying next to her anymore. Aria won't play outside if Meryl is out there now and I'm not sure what to do next. Meryl will play too hard and it scares and/or hurts Aria at times, so I feel she feels defeated and just doesn't like her anymore. They were instant friends for a few weeks at first.

I have tried:
Putting Bitter Apple on Aria's neck to keep Meryl from grabbing hold of it (didn't phase her).
I got a vibrating collar to startle Meryl when she starts playing too rough for Aria (seemed to work for a bit, now doesn't mind the vibration).
I took Aria to doggy daycare to interact with other dogs her own age (loved it, still came home and acted the same).
I walk with them daily, but started walking and playing more to burn off more energy and hasn't had any effect.
Scolding Meryl when she plays too rough, but she plays too hard to even pay attention to me.

Does anyone have other suggestions? I also saw a trainer who suggested to work on sit, stay, etc commands and wait for the puppy phase to run it's course. Thanks for any and all suggestions - I just want my happy girls back!
 

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I have a very over excited Boston Terrier who was unfortunately never socialized around dogs that don't like playing with other dogs, and as a result until very recently didn't understand that not every dog wanted to play. I ran into trouble when I kept wanting to bring her to a family friend's house, but the family friend has 2 Corgis that don't really like playing with other dogs; the male gets scared and the female gets snarky (barking and charging and probably would get into a scrap if she was pushed, but she isn't actually aggressive- knowing my dog through, she would be really, really scarred by a dog just getting into a small scrap with her because she's very sensitive).

What I would do (and did) in this kind of a situation is to set the dogs up for success together by not allowing the more playful dog to practice the problem behavior (ie, rough play) while simultaneously teaching a different behavior.

Do not allow the younger dog to have complete freedom when around the older dog until the younger one has proven she is able to coexist with her without getting too rough. I would probably do this by exercising the two dogs separately; the younger one could probably benefit from more walks, since it is likely that a higher energy level compared to your older dog is part of the problem. Also play with her in the yard separately, making sure that you're also giving the older dog a chance to play outside. I would also crate train the young dog if she isn't already, because IME crates are wonderful tools for young dogs that aren't good at calming down on their own. My dog learned from a young age that if she got too worked up and crazy around my parent's dog, she would get crated away from the family. It wasn't that the crate was punishment, but more that this kind of rough play behavior is often a sign a dog is over stimulated, and a crate is a good place to decompress.

When the dogs are out together, have the younger one leashed or at the very least trailing a pull tab or short leash so you can easily grab her. I woudl keep a look out, and anytime the other dog starts to show signs she's uncomfortable or not enjoying the play, go get the younger one and keep a hold of the leash until she loses interest. Help her to lose interest in playing with the other dog more quickly by playing a training game with her or doing a little bit of positional training cues (ie, sits, downs, heels, backing up at heel, etc) as a distraction. Reward her with treats, as well, and not just attention. In the beginning, I would just not let her be off-leash with the other dog at all, IMO, because it sounds like she's more often bothering the older dog than not.
 

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but Meryl grabs Aria by the neck-rolls and plays too rough. I see no aggression in the play, it just seems rougher than Aria likes/is used to and doesn't like it.

Does anyone have other suggestions?
I think it's great that your observation states " I see no aggression", just a rowdy dog with a bit of pushiness.

I used a long line ( always loose until needed ) when my dog would have some company over and exhibited the same overzealous behavior. She plays hard plus it's her backyard, sort of.

Here's how I would do it. First, chances are the dog is a bit lead and collar wise, so use that to your advantage. Be ahead of the dog, you know all the indicators your dog exhibits as she ramps up for more intense play. When you start to see this develop, break up the escalation with a verbal command or some noise which she will respond to and maybe have her come into you on a recall, doesn't really matter what it is, as long as you control the tempo and stop the dog before she ramps up. That's where the "lead and collar wise" might benefit you as many a dog will mind their manners a bit more when there is that lead and collar attached.

Inevitably, you will need to rely on the long line when it gets beyond the point where you maintain verbal command control. When you use the long line be crisp in both your action and verbal command. The behavior stops when you command and it needs to be clear. You're the one who is the referee so you make the rules and enforce them consistently.

Come up with a new verbal cue explicitly for the new behavior you are trying to create or modify. I used "nice" when the dog was playing properly. Let them know when it meets your standards and say it often. Equally, the flipside of the coin needs a negative verbal marker and whatever your "off" command might be.

Last thought, consistency counts here again, when your dog has a good play session and shows improvement. You might reward the dog with an intense session of whatever type of play really gets your dog's intensity level satisfied, your other dog not included.

Long line is history when you control the level of play with voice commands and after a while it should be SOP.

Oh, using a long line in this situation will make you learn some new dances I'm guessing.
 

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Thank you, DriveDog and Moonstream, for your wonderful replies and ideas. I ordered a longer lead to keep tabs on her while they are both outside and give me some control until more of the verbal commands kick in.

Aria and I are very grateful for the ideas! Thanks again!
 

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How much exercise does meryl get in the run of a day? Maybe the dog needs some time alone to burn off the excess.
 
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