Hello! What a great site this is. I’m really hoping someone can help us here, …

Hello! What a great site this is. I’m really hoping someone can help us here, as we’re stuck with our dog situation!

We have a 10 year old female Maltese called Yuca. She is the light of our lives but is getting old 🙁
She’s healthy but tends to sleep a lot, and we read that keeping older dogs active is essential to keeping them alive!

We both work, and although she’s totally happy by herself, we decided it might be good to get her a companion for the times we’re not around. We hoped this might keep her entertained and engaged more during the day. As we’re both working from home at the moment, we thought now might be a good time to grow our little pack…

So we got another Maltese female, Coco, who is about 5 months old now. We’ve had her for just over 4 weeks. She’s amazing. A really cute little ball of fluff. But things don’t seem to be improving with regards to their relationship.

Of course, Coco is totally obsessed with Yuca. She will run to her and try to lick and play, but Yuca seems terrified of her. She backs away quickly and hides. Yuca has never been an aggressive dog, never. She doesn’t growl or bark or bite, ever. But she also has never been a dog dog, always avoiding them in public when out for walks.
We thought this was just a matter of them being strangers.
She has never once growled or barked or bitten Coco, she chooses to simply run away from her, even when Coco is trying to bite her playfully.

When Coco is calm, usually in the evenings and midday, Yuca is better. They will sit in the same areas, with Yuca sometimes letting Coco get quite close, but always with a cautious eye on her. The best moments we’ve had have been in bed in the evenings, with both of them sleeping almost touching! But then the day comes around and Yuca goes back to being her timid self again.

We’ve tried a lot of things to get them closer, and to help Yuca get used to her being around. They both have their own beds, food and water, and Yuca has a space she can be alone when she wants it. The problem is, she would choose to stay there the whole time! SHe seems anxious about walking around the house, which is not ok for us. We want her to feel dominant and have no fear of being anywhere at home.

We’ve tried using treats to bring them together, which works well in the moment. Yuca is a greedy lil thing and Coco’s existence doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference when there’s a treat around. She would take the treat from our hand even with Coco being right there next to her. But once the treat has gone, Yuca reverts back to scared mode.

We’re being firm with Coco on the rough play, although she’s tiny and couldn’t hurt a fly if she tried! We’re separating them for periods of time, so Yuca has her space and then trying controlled meet-ups several times a day. Of course, with us both working full time, this has been difficult and we’re very concerned about when we have to go back to the office.

We’ve made sure to give Yuca extra love and attention, always treating her as the alpha and giving her attention and food first. She doesn’t appear jealous at all.

As time goes on, we really hoped they would become close but we’re not seeing much improvement. There’s some improvement for sure, but it’s very slow progress. We really just want them to be friends. That was the whole point in getting Coco in the first place.

I really hope someone can help us. We love them both and just want them to get along.

Thank you for reading.

Tomas and Fernanda. Yuca and Coco.

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2 years ago

It’s possible that Yuca simply doesn’t enjoy puppies. And that’s NORMAL and perfectly okay! Puppies are annoying. Your best bet is to put a LOT of attention on working Coco’s brain more. A tired puppy is a good puppy, and the BEST way is to work their brain. This would be obedience training, beyond basic sit/stay/down. I know group classes aren’t really a “thing” right now, but I’d look into classes through Denise Fenzi’s dog sport academy: https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/

Maybe work Yuca while you’re at it. It’s a good way to keep her engaged, and working them together can help.

2 years ago
Reply to  Tomas

It can help, but the majority of this problem has to do with age disparity. Training is key.

Krista Magnifico
2 years ago

I agree with laura. I have an eleven year old dog. When his companion passed away I got a 4 month old. He was driving my older dog nuts. So I got a puppy for my puppy. The two puppies play endlessly and occasionally the old guy jumps in for just a little while. It is keeping him young and active but he isn’t being relied upon to be the single source of the puppy playtimes. Everyone is happy and healthy.

2 years ago
Reply to  Tomas

From the dog trainer perspective, do not do this unless you’re prepared to deal with possible littermate syndrome.

(Yes, it’s real, and it can affect any like-aged dogs. It can be as minimal as one dog is shyer than the other, or they could want to kill each other. I’ve seen both. The latter isn’t worth risking it unless you’re VERY experienced with dog management.)