Is your puppy playing too rough with your older dog? 14 Tips

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

There’s no need to worry about puppies playing rough with older dogs because it’s fairly common. You should try to determine if their play seems inappropriate to you.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Is your puppy playing too rough with your older dog? 14 Tips“.

You just bought a new puppy for your little one and you can not wait for him/her to meet their new best friend. When they meet you begin to notice that your little one is playing too rough with your dog. If this is the case you may be wondering if you should intervene and what you can do to prevent your puppy from playing too rough with your older dog.

Theres no need to worry about puppies playing rough with older dogs because its fairly common. You should try to determine if their play seems inappropriate to you.

1. Become An Expert

Only you know your dog better than anyone else- there will be few if any who can compete with you. 

Consequently when it comes to playing with your dogs you must decide what level of roughness or aggression is normal and acceptable

Examining your dogs movements will help you figure out if hes enjoying his playtime. If your dog buries his head in your collar and feels relieved from your interruption then this is an indication he is not enjoying his playtime that much.

2. Spy on Them

You might consider installing an indoor surveillance camera if you’re concerned about the interaction between your dogs. 

The cameras start at around $30 and they will let you keep an eye on your dogs even when you’re not there.

Almost all security cameras on the market come with an app for your phone that you can use to view a live feed of your camera from anywhere in the world. 

Its possible you already have one of these cameras and are not using it for this purpose.

Using the camera is a good idea because your puppys overly enthusiastic behavior could be a form of attention-seeking.

When you are not around how do the dogs interact?

3. Consistent Intervention

Try to always intervene at your dogs “level” once you have determined what is an appropriate level of rough and tumble. 

The consistency will make it easier for you- since you will have a baseline- but it will also benefit your dogs- eventually they will start to learn when they are going too far.

You should intervene if this is the case. You should try to manage your puppys behavior if its overbearing for your older dog. Dogs enjoy playing but it can be too much for many older dogs. Perhaps you are wondering how to deal with this behavior and whether you should even let your puppy play with your older dog.

4. Get Some Background

Talk to the breeder or rescue shelter about your puppys play behavior based on where you got your puppy.

Is the kind of behavior and level of roughness the puppy displays similar to how it has always behaved or is it new to you? 

If your puppy was raised with littermates he/she would have learned what was too rough and when to stop playing. The chances are that your puppy was taught a lesson if they bullied their littermates as other littermates would communicate to you they do not like your puppys behavior by growling or crying. Teaching your puppy that what they are doing is wrong can be accomplished through this type of communication. Whenever you introduce your puppy into your household you should try to continue teaching him these lessons.

When you own a dog you should ensure your older dog and your puppy are not playing together. Donot interfere if you see your dogs playing together. Nonetheless the playtime should end as soon as one of them leaves. Do not allow your puppy to harass your older dog as this can lead to conflict.

How can you help?

Listed below are a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure your toddler does not play too rough with your dog and to encourage him/her to be a nicer companion.

5. Enforce good behavior and discourage bad

When the game is over teach your puppy.

It is important to monitor both dogs. Please do not allow your new puppy to bother your old dog this will only lead to tension between them. When your older dog becomes irritable tell your puppy “No.”. Your older dog will be much more willing to play with your younger dog if your puppy learns to leave him alone when he has had enough.

You must now reinforce your puppys good behavior when you are training it. It is important to establish yourself as the leader of your dog and to enforce their good behavior. Give your new puppy a treat when they are being good and obeying your rules as a leader this will help you bond with them.

6. Is your puppy having enough exercise?

Get your puppy some exercise.

Playtime may be troublesome for your older friend if your puppy is full of energy. If your puppy seems hyperactive try taking them for walks or playing games with them. Exercise helps your puppy burn off any extra energy so they do not irritate your older dog too much.

To establish a bond between the dogs you might try taking them for a walk together. As a result your new puppys energy levels will be reduced which can benefit his relationship with your older dog as well.

7. Treat them both equally

Both your dogs should be treated equally. Tell your puppy “No” and if your older dog needs to be told “No” then you should also do this. Both dogs should be treated equally and one should not overrule the other.  

You might wonder how it is that you can say “no” to your dog.

In that case use a firm but stern voice; do not yell as that may scare your child and lead them to believe they are in trouble. Use your body language to demonstrate dominance. When your dogs see you are in control they will listen to you more. 

Check out this page for more information on how to say “no” to your dog. 

In order to build a genuine relationship between you and your dogs you should treat them equally. Establishing a clear relationship with your puppy is essential when training it to play better.

8. Have you tried distracting your puppy?

You can distract your puppy if your older dog needs some space if you’re having trouble separating your dogs. Your new puppy will be distracted from bothering your older friend if you play puzzles or games with them. Pulling your puppy is a great game when you want to both distract and tire her out. This is also a great game for training and teaching manners to your dog.

If you want to keep your puppy occupied you may find it helpful to read up on different games. Check out this page for further details.

9. Have you tried creating a safe space for your older dog?

Does your older dog seem irritable and angry lately? 

You might want to create a safe environment for your dog to go to. Your older pup may need some space as well just like us when you get a new puppy. Create a space where they can get away from the house. Its a good idea to put some comfy bedding and chew toys down for them away from your puppy. Separating your older dog and puppy will give your older dog some much-needed cooling off time.

10. Plenty of space

The size of the area where your dogs are playing may not be helping the interaction between them.

Allow them to play outside in your garden or at the local park if you are able. In the past this has helped me a lot. 

My stepdaughters French Bulldog Albert hasnot had much time for Sylvie my youngest Golden Retriever.

When Albert comes to visit us he gets so excited and he just wants to be at the center of things and just play. Its as though hes in a trance when he comes to visit us.

Sylvie does not want anything to do with it. 

Her lack of interest is obvious and she becomes quite aggressive and snappy very quickly.

Albert does not care because he would not take no for an answer and he will carry on regardless.

As Albert becomes more excited and Sylvie becomes more stressed the vicious cycle continues. 

We only improve the quality of the interaction when we take them out into the garden. 

Sylvie is much more willing to run and play with Albert in the garden than Albert is with Sylvie. 

The interaction between them is softer and more appropriate. 

Is it because there is more space in the garden? I have no idea.  

11. Nipping it in the bud

Is playtime rough enough for you?

If your puppy is being difficult you should distract it as previously mentioned. Consider distracting your puppy with other objects such as chew toys during playtime if your puppy is continually nipping at your older dog. 

It is possible to reduce this behavior by focusing your puppys attention on a chew toy. If you feel your puppys behavior is more serious than just being playful you should contact your veterinarian for further assistance.

12. Stop accidents before they happen

If you have an older dog you do not want your new puppy to have a bad relationship with him. You should closely monitor their behavior if their relationship has been rocky and your puppy is irritating your dog. Playtime is a great time to supervise your puppy and older dog. If their sizes differ significantly this is especially important.

When you think its time for them to end their play keep a close watch on their behavior. Separate them from one another when you see their behavior change.

13. Spay or neuter your dog

If you continue to wonder why your Puppy plays too rough with your older dog you might want to consider spaying or neutering your little one. Your puppy may be playing too rough with your older dog because it likes to show dominance. You can prevent some of these natural impulses by spaying or neutering your dog making their behavior easier to control. 

Did your puppy have any behavioral issues before it came home?

If you find out more about your puppy you’ll be better able to understand why they’re acting this way. You should ask your puppys previous owners if they observed any aggressive behavior before. 

You will be able to prevent your older dog from becoming frustrated by your puppys behavior if you know why it is acting this way.

14. Things will pass

You may feel you are making no progress when your puppy still appears to be overly boisterous with your older dog when things are at their worst but you need to remember that this will not always be the case. 

This would not always be the case for your puppy. In most cases puppies calm down between 18 and 24 months of age. 

As they become older and more bored their need to constantly tear around the house pick up anything and everything in their mouths and maniacally chew through your most valuable possessions will cease!


While playtime is important to keep your dogs happy its equally important to determine when your older dog has had enough when you want to ensure both your new puppy and older dog are content. Make sure you closely monitor both dogs and give them space.

We are all just like dogs and sometimes they can become overwhelmed. Introducing a puppy into your older dogs life is a significant change. Then you should contact your veterinarian for some additional advice if you believe your puppys behavior is abnormal. 

Remember that dogs are like us they too get tired fed up and overwhelmed. You will be able to build a strong relationship between your older and younger dog if you keep them both happy.

If you want to read more about puppies-related updates read here: Puppies.

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