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Why is my 9 week old puppy dominating a 6 week old puppy?

by Lauren L.
(Mobile ,Al, United States)

I have a 9 week old golden retriever, we have had her since she was 6 weeks old. My sister recently got a 6 week old golden retriever. My girl puppy is constantly dominating her male puppy.

She will walk right beside him pushing him the way she wants him to go. She will stand over him and not let him move. Any time he gets a toy she will go take it from him. It has reached the point where he has gotten aggressive and they bit each other.

How do I need to handle my puppy when she starts this behavior?

Hi Lauren. What cuties! Congratulations to you and your sister.

What you're describing sounds like pretty normal puppy behavior. It's part of their instinctive playing/learning style.

Within litters, or packs, dog's want to sort out the pecking order, and your girl is trying to show the new puppy that she's in charge.

Although it may cause a little growling, nipping or reactive behavior, this is usually nothing serious and the pups work things out between themselves to their joint satisfaction :)

However, there are times when you can get involved if you feel it's needed.

For example, if your puppy is bullying the little one 24/7 then let them spend part of the time separately so that he gets a break. You can put one into an exercise/play pen, or separate them using a baby-gate in a doorway (or more than one), or give them separate crate time.

Growling, nipping and tussling is normal and as long as neither puppy is being physically hurt or terrified you really don't need to do anything, except keep an eye on them to make sure things don't get out of hand.

But if either of them get hurt or seem very scared, step in an separate them. Making sure to tell the bossy one that this behavior isn't acceptable. Then separate them for a few minutes to let things settle down.

Usually this pushy behavior settles down within days, or sometimes a couple of weeks, and I'm ure you'll see this happen with your two. Just give them time, space, supervision and the occasional reprimand or separation and all will be fine!

Hope this helps and wish you all the best of luck.

*If things get worse or you're still having difficulties in a few weeks feel free to contact me again, but I very much doubt this will be the case.

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