At the beginning of October we got a new 12 week-old beagle, Copper. We brought him home to our other two dogs, Rusty (1.5 year-old bluetick) and Lucky (14 year-old beagle). At first everyone got along just fine, but one day when they were all outside Copper tried to play with Lucky. Lucky didn't want to play and got mad with Copper and started growling and snapping. Rusty then started to fight with Lucky because he wanted to protect Copper. This was about a week or two after we got Copper. Now, we can't let all three dogs be with each other because Lucky doesn't like copper. If copper didn't try to play with Lucky everything would be fine, but all copper wants to do is play with everybody. Copper is now about 6.5 months old and lucky still doesn't like him.

How can I train Copper to stop trying to play with Lucky, or train Lucky not to get mad at Copper, and train Rusty not to fight with Lucky when Lucky gets mad?

Also, Lucky was never socialized as a puppy so he doesn't get along with very many dogs.

3 Answers 3


Dogs are pretty good about communicating with themselves. Lucky's growling and snapping at Cooper doesn't necessarily mean that Lucky was being aggressive and looking to hurt Cooper. This is how dogs teach each other what they are willing to tolerate from each other. I think the real problem is that Rusty got in the middle.

My recommendation would be for you to let Lucky teach Cooper himself that he doesn't want to play and just wants to be left alone. This can only happen with Rusty out of the way. So I would suggest giving Lucky and Cooper an opportunity to interact with each other by themselves, and putting Rusty somewhere else by himself so he doesn't interfere. You can put Rusty in a locked room, or in a different floor in the house, or take him outside while you leave the other two inside or vice versa, or take him for a long walk or to the dog park or hiking. Just make sure he doesn't see or hear the other two dogs. And make sure Rusty doesn't feel like he is being punished, so if you put him in a different room, give him a rawhide or kong or something to make him happy and entertained.

You'll have to do this in short bursts every day for weeks, maybe longer, until Cooper gets the picture that Lucky isn't interested in play. Just make sure you keep a very close eye on Lucky and Cooper while they are together just in case things get out of hand. Never leave them unattended. A good trick is to keep leashes on both dogs so you can easily pull them apart if you need to.


Copper is just a puppy and curious about anything naturally. And Lucky is an old dog and have a fixed character and disposition; he is also afraid of losing his status in your mind. Those are instincts depending on the ages. And Rusty's interfere may largen the gap of Copper and Lucky. The only thing you can do is to shorten the gap between them and reduce the alert to cupper in Lucky's mind. Let them stay alone without Rusty and play some games with them fairly. Do not bias anyone. If Copper is too naughty to clam down. Try to lock them in the cages separately. If it's possible, you could send Copper to a puppy training class.


I have same problem with my dogs. I think mostly because of odd number of dogs at home. I think you need to train Lucky to play along with Copper for a couple of time without Rusty getting along. If I were you, I would put Copper and Lucky together for a couple of days, at the same time need to watch as they might fight during that time. You must also show Lucky that you wouldn't like if Lucky fought with Copper but also you must not cuddle too much to Copper as it will end up making Lucky jealous. Hope this helps.

  • Lucky is 14 years old and doesn't want to play with anything or anyone. Should I try and train copper not to play with Lucky? I've never tried training a puppy not to play, so I'm not sure where to start. Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 15:56

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