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8 week old puppy play


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Have a just over 8 week old Cairn puppy. And trying to gradually introduce her to our 11 month Cairnoodle. At first the 11 month was not interested at all, as the pup is very confrontational & up in her face. Nibbling at her fur, grabbing onto her legs & tail, etc.


Day 2. We let them play for few minutes bursts a few times per day and the puppy seems to be getting extremely combative. She will not back down and tbh the 11 month seems to love it. And she is not hurting the puppy. The occasional Yelp from the puppy, and we separate when this happens.


Are we making the puppy more aggressive or will she learn some boundaries from our 11month? 

Any advice gratefully received.

 Thank you 

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Hi and welcome!

We did not place our puppies until 12 (or preferably 16) weeks so we had ample opportunity to see that this period of development was absolutely a time of wild wrestling, mock battles, and endless boundary-testing by puppies. Their littermates as well as adults in the house (mother, plus we always had other adults) would often invite play, pretend submissiveness, and without fail *sharply* discipline the puppy when it went too far. Nothing more hilarious than seeing a strong adult rolling over on its back and grinning while a tiny puppy stands proudly atop its glorious conquest. :) 

This is an age where puppies learn bite inhibition from their siblings and housemates (and humans, too — and we tolerate mouthing far less … as in not at all). These mock battles are really developmental opportunities in addition to just fun, typical, doggy play (and a tired puppy is a good puppy).  So your 11-month is doing a fine job by engaging with the puppy and undoubtedly helping her learn dog-to-dog manners.

Because your girl is so young, you will also have to be very active in teaching her to have a soft mouth and good people-manners. But patience, persistence, and consistency are the orders of the day with a new puppy. 

Congrats! Have fun with the wee :devil:

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I appreciated Sam’s breeders knowledge on holding unto her litters till they were 12 weeks old. At 8 weeks I did visit Sam and he was all teeth and my hands looked like a pin cushion...those extra 4 weeks made a huge difference as no doubt Mum and the other  Cairns in the house had a Chance to teach the pups some dog manners. When we brought him home at 12 weeks we straight away continued with the “no bite” command. Even now 4yrs later when Sam gets a bit to rambunctious during zoomies a firm no bite  command works every time. He will play  grab our hands  but with a very soft  mouth. It sounds like your other dog is keeping rough housing under control.

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Until one has loved an animal, a part of  one's soul remains unawakened.  - Anatole France

Adventures with Sam &Rosie


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