Is fearful behavior likely to become aggressive?
Ranger was dropped from the Seeing Eye because he was fearful of inanimate objects - street grates, big construction equipment, things he couldn't identify in the dark. Now at 16 months some of his fears are better but some seem worse. Now when I walk him he reacts with varying degrees of anxiety to other dogs. If the other dog seems friendly he has a barely perceptible response. A slightly alert stiffness. Most of the time he starts a stalking behavior. And if the other dog gives off a bad vibe he stalks and the hair stands up on his back and sometimes he lets out a bark or two. So far he has never growled or shown teeth and if any dog has actually approached him he has NOT lunged or nipped. He still seems less than relaxed, but not super tense. Since this behavior is getting more common in him I am getting worried.
I normally walk my two dogs together so I haven't had an opportunity to address this with Ranger alone. Today I took him out alone and tried to get him to focus on me when we were near other dogs.
Any suggestions to break this cycle before it is too late?
Also while walking stamp your feet, jog and tap bins or lamp posts so there is a small noise(predictable noise) and then try to get the dog re focused on you, by maybe letting him know you have some treats, say hot dog slices. Don't give treats until dog is focused on you. Trick is to stop the dog reacting to small noises around him. Jog a bit, slow down, keep the dog on his toes.
Basically if your dog wants to stop and stalk, keep going and even increase pace. If the dog wants to avoid say a bin, slow down a bit and be steady.
Another way is to turn and go the other way and then go towards the thing again, get a bit closer and turn back again. It seems foolish but it does help the dog. Sometimes I will just cross a street to avoid distractions whether it be fear based towards objects or aggression based towards a dog.
Do start to walk your fearful dog on it's own. Bring to car parks at night as there are plenty of objects and usually not anybody around. Also start to cycle with him and he'll have to pass dogs or objects etc. Leash the dog tightly high on the neck and under the chin and you will control him better.
Hi Rangers Mom!
I sent you a PM...text heavy.
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