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Discussion Starter #1
Hi I have a new addition, an 11 week old pitbull puppy. I also have a mixed breed (possibly a Bordie Collie/Pomeranian mix, don't know for sure) who is about 2 years old. So my issue is with the puppy constantly playing too rough with my older dog. My older dog does not seem to get upset by this kind of play however he is a small dog (only 16 pounds or so) so what ends up happening is the puppy will mouth/wrestle etc on top of my adult dog but my adult dog can't seem to get out under. Thing is the puppy will STAY on top of my dog and not let BACK OFF to give him a chance to reverse the roles. My dog has not really been correcting the pup (a few times he yelped but puppy would not read his correction) but normally it seems once I remove the puppy off, my adult dog will want to revert right back into playing (SIGH) so it gets the puppy all wound up again!

The puppy also has a bad habit of constantly grabbing onto my adult dogs fur like it's some tug toy. This has been very frustrating. So this has been going on for 2 weeks now.

I have been trying to redirect his attention when this happens, when he stops this behavior I have him sit/look at me/treat. Sometimes the puppy listens, sometimes he is too engaged and does not. I've also tried removing him from play and placing him in a separate room/behind a gate/crate. Then in a few minutes letting him out and resuming play. I can do this 15 times and he still will go right after my adult dog with the rough play.

Thing is the puppy is getting big quick so i would like to teach him that with my dog he needs to play GENTLE and his play style can only reach a certain point. I spend alone time with both everyday working on obedience, puppy is enrolled in puppy class, etc, etc. I just cant seem to get him to stop his

Any other suggestions that might work I am open to and would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!
 

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What you've been doing is fine. Puppies are babies. How many times do you have to tell a baby human something before they learn it? 1,000? 10,000? (Just spent 4 days with a 20 month old, I must have said, "Stop taking off your shoes if you don't want them off!" 500 times before I gave up.)

Time itself will help, too. Right now, your pitbull puppy has what's called the "puppy pass". Adult dogs will allow really young puppies to do anything without complaint. This wears off around 4-6 months. At that point, your adult dog will start correcting the puppy when he plays too rough. Correcting means growling, barking, even snapping at the puppy (but not biting).

So keep monitoring play and distracting and giving time outs for now.
 

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I taught my big puppy the "play gentle" command. If he started to get too rambunctious with my older and smaller breed dogs, I gave time outs. Like amaryllis said, it needs to be done a million times before the puppy will finally put 2 and 2 together. I also kept a loose leash on the puppy and simply redirected away from the other dog while saying "play gentle" or just "gentle". Your pup is still very young, so may take a bit longer to get him to play gentler. Best of luck. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I realize it will take numerous and numerous times before he "gets it" just hoping it will come sooner rather than later as the size difference is going to start to become a safety concern.

I want to be consistent with my methods. I thought of teaching "gentle" or maybe "off" or "leave it" just not sure which would be most effective (if I should use different cues for different instances) or just stick to one. I'm all for positive training, but sometimes he is just super stubborn, not sure if a rattle of a can of coins would do the trick just as a slight startle to redirect his attention as once he gets into his mode he is pretty focused?

It's not only the play style he pushes my adult dog out the way a lot or goes straight to trying to get on top of him. Sometimes he initiates nice play, other time he just goes straight after mouthing his face, being on top, head/paw over back, just very dominant behaviors it seems. He also resource guards any good/toys so I've been giving these items separate. Note sure if this is something worth working on or if it can just lead to other problems...
 

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As for puppies grabbing adults fur. I'm not so sure about your dog but I'm pretty sure that mine doesn't even feel it when the younger one with her barely developed teeth tries to grab at his neck
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yea I don't think the puppy is using excessive pressure much when he mouths, grabs fur, etc. otherwise my adult dog would let out a yelp I'm sure (which he does sometimes but not often). What I am noticing now is that my adult dog does not seem bothered most of the time because once I get the puppy OFF of him, my dog goes right back to wanting to play, it's almost like he doesn't mind STAYING underneath the puppy getting all stomped on, mouthed, etc. However the puppy will outgrow my dog by probably quadruple in weight so he needs to learn staying on top with this sort of behavior is not acceptable nor will be safe. So I know it's not going to be an overnight fix but he is getting much larger and just worried about injury with this sort of play style. I am all for positive reinforcement but I just wonder if a sound interruption like a can of coins or something similar will be just enough to startle him if he doesn't listen to the "OFF" command, and then if he learns quick and I won't need to use it anymore. Otherwise I am constantly intervening/separating at this point...and it's already been a few weeks of the removing, gates, crate, getting him to stop, treating, teaching obedience, etc. etc.
 
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