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Teacing a new dog and a first dog to play


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Hi All,


I just got a female Long Haired German Shepherd (Caramel)on

Saturday and I have a question. I introduce her and my Border

Collie Toffee and they seem to do pretty well. They sniff each

other and no problems. We brought her home and Toffee was very well

behaved and didn't even get very territorial. He's growled at her a

few times when she did some he didn't like and she backed off and no

problem. She seems to respect him even though she's about 25 lbs

heavier than him. The only problem is Toffee likes to play rough

and play tug o war, and Caramel doesn't at all. She likes to play

fetch but for some reason if I throw her toy Toffee barks at her and

if I don't hold him back a fight insues. This same thing happened

this morning when Toffee picked up his floppy doll toy and started

whipping it around, I don't know how it started other than that,

just the next thing I knew I was yelling at them to stop. It's as

if they don't seem to understand each others style of play. As long

as they don't play together they seem to get along fine, does anyone

know what might cause this, or if there is a way teach them this is

just play? I know this probably will work itself in time but I

wondered if anyone had any pointers.


Thank you for your imput,



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Hi Matt,

For the time being, I would suggest that you play with them separately, and keep toys picked up. Also, be sure to work on obedience training them separately for a while, too. Sounds to me like Toffee needs to learn a little self control.


One thing you can do is teach Toffee that when Caramel gets something good, he should be polite and patient, and he'll get something good too. For example, put Toffee in a downstay, then love on Caramel for a few seconds, then walk over to Toffee and give him some warm praise and an extra special goody. This tells Toffee that if he waits, he gets special treatment too; he doesn't have to compete with Caramel to get the things he likes, such as treats, your attention, and toys. Any competitive, pushy behavior should not be rewarded.


As for sharing toys, you may be able to teach them to play together eventually, but it's also possible that Toffee views toys as a very important resource, and any time you set the two of them up to compete for that resource, he will get aggressive. If that's the case, then just giving them separate playtime might be the best option for the long term. In addition, you could give them each a toy in a separate room, using a baby gate as a divider so that each dog has their toy in their space.

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