I have a rescue dog (6 y/o male fox terrier) who was not adequately socialized in his previous home. Would adopting a young puppy help him learn how to socialize with other dogs/gain a level of patience/learn to understand body language better?

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Hi there!

We are a multidog household, with Max (the aforementioned foxy) and Munty, a female 11 y/o Aussie terrier. In terms of their relationship, they tend to be quite indifferent to one another – they're fine when left alone, will sleep/cuddle up next to each other, and squabbling only occurs when one is playing (when Max plays fetch or tug with one of us, Munty sometimes barks at him and he is then provoked by the barking). There appears to be no particular hierarchy – both are fairly stubborn dogs (that's the terrier attitude, I guess), and neither allows themselves to be the subordinate dog. on the very few occasions that they have fought, there has never been a clear 'winner' – we always separate them immediately, and after a few minutes of separation from the other, things go on as usual and they seem unbothered with one another.

I wanted to introduce this to the thread because my dad and I had a very brief, not serious discussion earlier about introducing a young puppy (8-16 weeks, ideally) to the household, and it sparked my curiosity in terms of the dynamic between a potential puppy and Max. It is likely we would look for a medium-breed puppy, possibly of lab/retriever descent – something with a mild and easygoing personality (A third terrier would just be chaos).

In terms of Max's behavior, he is very play-, somewhat food driven. He can be nefarious at times – trying to jump onto the table, countertops, etc – but his biggest issues seem to be around other dogs besides Munty. He barks like mad when he sees other dogs, and has socialized fine with a few (a doggy daycare we once left him at over vacation told us he got along well/played with a few dogs there, but showed aggression to others), but largely acts aggressive when he sees other dogs. When watching his behavior, it becomes clear that he doesn't understand a lot of basic dog language (he tried to aggravate a very placid dog at a park once, which had its head down and was slowly wagging its tail, not responding to him with any sort of bravado), and he seems very un-eased/anxious around other dogs, constantly on an alert.

We have taken him to an obedience class before, which taught us handy techniques for dealing with his difficulties (e.g., using the "look" command and feeding treats to distract him from passing dogs on walks), but his behavior has yet to make any big changes.

We wondered if introducing a new puppy – and socializing it at puppy schools, dog parks, etc would help Max in turn – and if the pup's good behavior would rub off on him in any case. That and showing him how to respond to basic dog behaviors, particularly during instances of play with this puppy, would help him gain an understanding of how to better interact with other dogs.

Or conversely, would Max's antics be more likely to rub off on the puppy?

As for Munty, she is generally well-socialized and is a very no-nonsense senior dog. She gives a fair warning to other dogs if they get too playful around/with her before displaying any signs of aggression. She would likely have little to do with the puppy, considering she minds her own business and tends to go sleep the day away on somebody's bed.

I believe it would also be fair to mention that me, my mother, and my dad and I work from home on alternating days, so somebody is almost always home to monitor the dogs – save for many weekend afternoons, or if we go out to dinner.

Any thoughts about or experiences with poorly socialized dogs and their dynamic with puppies would be greatly appreciated 🙂 Thank you for reading!

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