Puppy nips at resident dogs
My boyfriend and I recently got a standard poodle puppy female (Abby) to add to our family. Before we got Abby, we just had two miniature poodles, one female, one male. They were both rescued from puppy mills so are very shy and not used to regular "dog play" (every time we go to the dog park, they generally do not socialize with other dogs are are intimidated when they are approached).
Anyway, since we've brought in Abby to our family, she often leaps at our resident male mini poodle and nips at his neck or back and he ends up trying to run away from her. Her being a puppy, she thinks he is playing so she chases him down and continues to nip at him, often barking at the same time. I have been keeping an eye on them and the puppy is never biting down too hard but I can see how my male resident dog gets annoyed and somewhat scared even.
Abby doesn't seem to do this to the resident female dog, however.
Things I've tried- separated the two dogs when Abby starts nipping and let the male resident dog run around while I hold the puppy down. Well, as soon as she gets bored with something else that distracts her, she's right back at it.
This is a tricky one. In most situations like this I would say 'just let them get on with it'! Normally the older dog will let the puppy know when she's crossed the line.
I expect your older male will respond appropriately if aggravated enough. Most adult dogs recognize a puppy, and accept puppy behavior for what it is, although they definitely won't tolerate too much.
It's interesting that your pup doesn't do the same thing with the older female. Pups are very intuitive and she may well have figured out that the male is the 'weak link' here.
Watching over them, and separating them if things get out of hand is important, but you may want to just see if your male will reprimand the puppy if he's pushed. Obviously you don't want him to be hurt, or terrified (unlikely but possible given his background) though, so do stay close at hand.
Correcting the pup when her behavior goes too far, and then separating them may be the only solution for now, but you could try one of these tricks -
When she gets a bit too rough with the older male, tell her "NO" and give her a quick shake by the scruff of the neck. This shouldn't be rough, or painful though, just enough to get her attention. This is how a momma dog would discipline an unruly puppy, and she will understand the meaning.
Or...et a small, plastic spray bottle and fill it with water. If the puppy starts barking or biting at the older dog too roughly, tell her "NO bite" and give her a quick shot of water on the nose. She will be surprised, and most dogs don't like this, so hopefully after a couple of sprays she'll decide to find fun elsewhere.
One of these should do the trick. I would also suggest making sure that you reinforce the puppy's position as 'lowest rung on the ladder' and elevate your older males position (in the puppy's eyes) by always greeting, petting, feeding etc. the older dogs before her. This often helps to allay jealousies and smooth ruffled 'feathers'.
You might also find my Introducing A New Puppy page helpful.
Best of luck!