My dog mated with a female dog from another house and the female dog gave birth to 6 puppies. The family that own the female dog then decided to give us 3 of the puppies. We accepted them and brought them home but our male dog (the father of the children) keeps fighting and attacking the male puppies.

We had to tie him up. What can we do to prevent him fighting his puppies?

  • 3
    This sounds like a dominance issue to me, but I've never dealt with a male parent with puppies without the mother around. In my experience the mother defended the children from the parent until they were big enough. Oct 9 '13 at 20:14
  • Can you specify the breed of parents and puppies. Might be helpful. Oct 9 '13 at 20:16
  • @sevargdcg Yeah. me too. We usually had a female dog until it died :(
    – user34
    Oct 9 '13 at 20:16
  • @Skippy 10, I just brought the puppies to him, I just kept them apart
    – user34
    Oct 16 '13 at 11:41

I am NOT an expert, but here's my theory:

Like many pack animals, non-neutered male dogs will instinctively kill male puppies. They are future competition for the eligible females in the pack. Since the mother, the dog's mate, isn't around, the older dog probably doesn't recognize the puppies as "his own". Keep them either separated or supervised at all times until the puppies are big enough to defend themselves. When that happens, the older dog will probably still attack them, but he will be able to establish his dominance without hurting the younger dogs. They will be able to establish a pack pecking order and coexist less violently.

  • 3
    Dogs are not pack animals, they're social animals, same as wolves, who wouldn't be considered true pack animals either. Neither dogs nor wolves have a dominance hierarchy, as they usually live in family groups, meaning all members are related and killing the young makes no sense whatsoever. I'm afraid I don't know what the reason for the stated behaviour is, but dominance certainly isn't it.
    – ThomasH
    Oct 9 '13 at 23:26
  • 2
    It might be worthwhile to "forget" that these are the dog's own offspring; rather, treat it as a solo dog suddenly sharing the house with three young pups.
    – Steve D
    Oct 10 '13 at 2:23
  • 2
    @ThomasH - Wolves still show some pack tendencies, though more of a family pack model rather than what we've hsitorically considered a pack to be. Dogs, though, don't show the same as evidenced by the fairly large number of wild/ferel dogs in parts of the world. Those conditions have shown dogs tend to scavenge, rather than hunt, and so that is a discouraging factor in pack behavior.
    – Joanne C
    Oct 10 '13 at 2:58
  • 2
    @JohnCavan: I think a very popular theory (at least recently) is that dogs and wolves are not as related as we might have thought. It has been suggested dogs were simply scavengers, eating our garbage, and that we slowly domesticated them. Totally off-topic, but interesting I think.
    – Steve D
    Oct 10 '13 at 5:26
  • 1
    @JohnCavan Rereading it, that was ill phrased. I blame the phone. Family structure is part of what I meant by social animals. People have certain notions in their head when you mention the word pack, so I try to avoid that. But I shouldn't have lumped in dogs with the familial (pack) structure. The fact is that they've evolved with and around us for so long that it's hard to define what's "natural" for a dog without including the human element.
    – ThomasH
    Oct 10 '13 at 8:38

What did you do before bringing the puppies home? I read the question and it looks like you just brought home three strange animals who run around and make noises and smell ever so odd and unfamiliar.

When we already had a male dog and decided to buy another male dog, we naturally went to see the newborn puppies a many times. For only two of these visits we brought our older dog with us to the house where those little puppies were growing up. We let our dog have a smell sample of the puppies, and he did, but he was also wary of the mother dog and most of the time he simply steered clear of the puppies and their mother. However, with our clothes the smell of those puppies came home to us after each visit, and on those two visits our older dog got a firsthand experience of the puppies and smells of that house and all.

When those puppies were 8 weeks old we went to get our puppy and we took our older dog with us for the trip. So he was one of us, bringing home a new member of our family. When we got home, at first we did not let the puppy on the floor, but kept him in (my wife's) lap so that our older dog could take a proper smell sample of the newcomer. The older dog was not quite happy about the new dog, for it was too noisy and far too full of energy while awake. However, he accepted the puppy. Of course the old dog had to bark and growl at the new dog at first, as of saying "we are not friends yet!"

The second day of the new puppy at home with us they were already sleeping this near to each others:

dogs sleeping near

And ten days later they already sleep in the same basket, even though the puppy had a basket of his own, he preferred the warmth of the older dog.

two dogs, one basket

Now, when you bring a new animal in your home, do not expect your older animals to accept them just like old friends. They don't.

  1. Get smell samples for your older dog. If you can't take your older dog to the puppies, at least take a towel there for a few days and then bring the towel home (with the smells) a week before the puppy/ies.

  2. Take your old dog with you when you go get the puppy/ies home.

  3. Keep the puppy/ies in place at first, for the old dog to come safely close and sniff the newcomer(s). Do not let the puppy/ies to run free around your house right away.

  4. When your older dog barks and growls at the puppy/ies, don't panic, don't get nervous, but keep calm and see what happens. Your dog mirrors your feelings, and will eventually calm down too.

I'm sorry but I don't have experience what to do, if these steps were not taken and the older dog wants to attack your puppies. I have no answer to that :(

Having said that, there is one thing I would try first of all. For dogs have this "Get lost, I was here first!" mentality. So, take your old dog for a long walk. While he is away, let somebody play with the puppies so much that they get sleepy. Before they fall asleep, let them eat well. They should be sleeping by the time the old dog returns, and now the puppies are the "first ones here" and your old dog is the one coming in. The puppies are safe (from the old dogs point of view) to go near and sniff. And they were there first... No guarantees, but worth a try.

  • If the question was "how do I introduce a new puppy to my old dog", this would be a great answer.
    – cimmanon
    Dec 5 '13 at 13:49

I have a 18 month old boy American Stafford terrier, his mate is a fox terrier. He was 6 months old when I brought her home and she was 8 weeks old. He was totally avoiding her from day one, so I kept them separate when not home, but when home carried her, feed her and took her for walks first.

After about a few days, my boy dog was like "what's up with this", I guess he figured out that I cared and then was all on her as a puppy till now. She is 1 year 4 months old, had a litter in July: 9 puppies, 7 girls and 2 boys. My male dog was overwhelmed with the whole thing like where all these dogs come from, but at 5 days I introduced dad to his babies: no problem at all. Now I have mom, dad and a female from litter and mom is OK. Her second litter is due in Feb.

I said all that to say this: your dogs are an extension of you, they pick up your likes and dislikes and with a lot of correcting and guidance you should be OK.

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