Will My New Puppy make Friends with My Older Shih Tzu?

by Carllo Cavanagh
(Gilmer, TX)

Friends for Life

Friends for Life

My male is 5 years old and the new puppy is a female. He seems like he is jealous and he has even growled at her. Will this change??? Will they become friends ???

Karen Says:

Make sure that you give both of them equal attention. I brought in a puppy shihtzu to my 11 yr old. Do everything with them together, such as walking, feeding etc. They will bond. My two are inseparable now.

Our Answer:

Congratulations Carllo, it sounds like your older dog is perfectly normal! You don’t mention if either of your dogs have been altered and that can always affect the dynamics when adopting a second dog. Also, as a general rule if your first pet has any behavioral problems such as separation anxiety or aggression those issues should be addressed before bringing a new furry friend into the home. But from what you’ve described none of these issues are in play. It sounds as if you’re dealing with a typical case of “showing the new guy the ropes.”

If your male dog is well adjusted, has good manners and possesses the usually friendly disposition of a Shih Tzu he will no doubt make a great big brother in time. Assuming he’s well-socialized there’s no reason to worry if he growls, snarls or barks a bit at the puppy; he’s simply setting limits and reinforcing his place as the Alpha dog. This behavior helps the puppy learn her position in the pack. As long as his discipline is within safe limits allow the dogs to work things out without interfering. Trying to manage their relationship will disrupt their natural way of establishing order.

Fortunately there are ways you can assist their bond without interrupting their instinctual methods:

    Walk both dogs together. A pack walk reinforces the idea that you’re the leader and reminds everyone that good things happen when they cooperate.

    Include both dogs in obedience training. Whether you take them to puppy obedience school or work with them at home, your male can be a great example for the young puppy. All dogs can use an obedience refresher from time to time and including him will help eliminate any jealousy over your attention.

    Give him plenty of praise and treats when he’s being calm or playing nicely with the puppy.

    Maintain your regular schedule as much as possible. Life changes when you bring a new puppy into the house, but try to keep your older dog’s life on track. Keep walks, meals, snacks and play time on a familiar schedule and train the puppy to adjust to your household, not the other way around.

Of course, if your male dog is exhibiting signs of vicious behavior then none of this advice applies! Address the dog’s aggression with a behavioral expert and keep the puppy safely separated from the older dog at all times, even when you’re present.

Shih Tzus are by nature tolerant and cheerful dogs, but they can get their little button noses in a snit if their feelings are hurt. The key to fostering a good relationship between canines may be to reinforce the relationship between you and your male dog. As long as he knows his place on your lap and in your heart is secure he’ll accept the new member of the pack and maybe even learn to love her too!

Comments for Will My New Puppy make Friends with My Older Shih Tzu?

Click here to add your own comments

May 17, 2013
by: Anonymous

We have just gotten an older (10 Years old) Pomeranian male and our little girl (2 years old) is terribly jealous. She growls at him if he gets too close (sniffing too much) and really stays close to me and my husband.

We think showing him we are her's and she doesn't want to share. She doesn't snap or get aggressive. We have maintained our regular schedule and they do everything at the same time, so hopefully everything will be OK soon.

She actually was wagging her tail while they were standing face to face this morning so I think things are improving.

May 17, 2013
by: karen


May 17, 2013
older younger Shih Tzu
by: carllo cavanagh,Gilmer,tx

I have been watching the two very close and little-dude is just letting her know that this is his home and she has to follow the rules. We have even seen them sleeping next to each other.I want to say thank you this web site and everyone's comments,it has been very helpful and insightful. Thank you carllo

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Shih Tzu Questions and Answers.