5 Reasons Why Older Dogs Don’t Get Along With Younger Ones

6 June 2017

Do you have an older dog that never seems to play well with younger dogs that come to the house or hang out at the dog park? Are you thinking about getting a puppy but you aren’t sure if your older dog will be accepting?

You may have a reason to feel a bit uneasy. Not all older dogs are very accepting when a younger mutt comes around and this could result in confrontation. Here are 5 reasons why older dogs don’t get along with younger ones.

1. Older dogs can be territorial

If you have an older dog, they may be used to having their take of the land. This could mean their favorite bush outside or that nice comfy space next to you on the sofa. Bringing a younger dog into the home that wants to explore every nook and cranny may cause some territorial anger in your pet.

The situation is even made worse when the dog in question is of the same sex. Dogs are naturally created to be accepting to the opposite sex, which explains this hostility.

2. Differences in energy

A younger dog comes packed with energy. They like to play and sometimes they want to play all day and all night. Older dogs are typically more mellow, and even though they still like to play they may not like to play as often as a younger dog would.

When the younger dog is constantly trying to steal away the dog toy or beg the older dog to play this could cause the older dog to lash out at the younger one from a place of stress. On a more extreme end, they may even try to steal his mating partner. Naturally, the older dog has reasons to behave in a hostile manner to the younger one.

3. Dogs have a Hierarchy

Older dogs consider themselves to be at the top of the chain. When a younger dog comes into the picture it is likely that the younger dog will not be well socialized. Because of this it may not understand the hierarchy and step out of line.

This could cause them to react in a way that says “Hey, I’m the boss!” If you are thinking about integrating a younger dog into the household, maybe try out a meet and great with your current older pet to make sure the hierarchy can be established. Otherwise, a good rule of thumb would be to keep the young with the young and the old with the old.

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4. Jealousy

When you get into a routine with an older pet, odds are it won’t subside just because you are bringing a puppy into the picture. Did you know that some dogs have a jealous streak?

When your new pup sees you playing with your older one or giving it more love it may lash out at the other dog from a place of jealousy because it wants all the love and attention. Lesson – treat all of them equal and you won’t have to face this intergenerational hostility.

5. Older dogs are set in their ways

Most older dogs are unaccepting of other dogs no matter what. They may just be programmed that way. This could be due to improper socialization or just based on their upbringing o conditioning by any other means. When an older dog is set in their ways and a new puppy comes into the picture, don’t expect much change.

This older dog will still lash out at the younger one no matter how hard you try to make the two get along. This doesn’t apply to all dogs, but from experience, this tends to be the way most older dogs react towards their younger counterparts.