Leading By Example: Putting Your Older Dog To Work

You know what’s awesome? Having your resident dog teach your new/foster dog the ropes without even having to ask. Hattie is constantly checking in with Rufus, watching his every reaction to see how she should be feeling about whatever may be going on at any given moment. With very little effort, our foster girl is already getting the hang of things.  It’s like she’s been Rufus-fied! 

Even though Rufus has some behavioral issues we continue to struggle with (such is life, right?), he also has some great qualities we are so thankful for. And those great qualities are rubbing off on our foster pup in a wonderful way:

-The art of chilling out.


Playing footsie.


On peanut butter duty.

No one knows how to chill out better than Rufus – he is the master of doing absolutely nothing at any given moment. When Hattie first came to us, she was very scatter-brained and a total busy body (she is a puppy after all). And now? When she sees us all hanging out and relaxing, she does the same. In fact she seem to be on a very similar nap schedule as Rufus, only awake a little bit longer here and there to make time for antler chewing. All of this is wonderful considering her age – she’s such a good pup.

-Recall and staying close by.


These two nuts.

Hattie loves Rufus so much that she’d rather be close to him than anywhere else. Ever. This has been really great when working on her recall because I know that as long as Rufus is close by, she won’t be far behind. Of course we haven’t done off-leash work yet as we’ve only had her for a week, but she’s great on a training lead. I see wonderful off-leash romping in her future!

-Letting the little things go.


The outdoors is for fun and games, not for freaking out every time a car drives by.

Oh the noises. If Hattie heard any kind of action coming from outside, she’d go into a barking fit. After just a few short days of seeing Rufus unfazed by these same mysterious noises, she’s already getting so much better at ignoring the ruckus that comes with living around a ton of children and families. In short, Yay Rufus! 

If you’re thinking about getting a younger dog and happen to have an adult dog that rocks in so many ways, do it! The beauty of dog-dog relationships is that they teach each other so much without having to say a word. Of course it’s still important to train your new pup – nothing replaces basic obedience training. But! It certainly is nice to have a little help from our furry friends.


6 thoughts on “Leading By Example: Putting Your Older Dog To Work

  1. So true! My two current dogs, Tucker and Phoebe, are eleven and seven respectively. When I adopted Tucker at ten months old, I had a resident dog of twelve years old in the home already. Dakotah was a handful in a lot of ways, but also really awesome in lots of others, and fortunately Tucker seemed to only learn the right lessons from him, and has since passed them on to Phoebe. It’s cool to see how Tucker, once the younger “sibling” has become a “big brother” to Phoebe and her role model in so many things. I will always have two dogs!

  2. Great job, Rufus!!! Our “R” has done some teaching of his little sister too… and it sometimes works far better than anything I could do!

    Hattie is a cutie!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s