German Shepherd Dog Forums

German Shepherd Dog Forums (
-   General Behavior (
-   -   Fear of smaller dogs? (

annap24 08-07-2014 11:07 AM

Fear of smaller dogs?
Hey guys,
I tried to search for any similar problems on this forum but I'm not finding what I'm looking for. My adopted GSD Reagan is a total sweetheart. However, my mother-in-law's small dogs are not. She has a male shih tzu and two female chihuahuas. When we come to visit her, which is pretty often, all of her dogs growl and bark at Reagan, and the second Reagan's back is turned to them they snap at her back legs. We tried doing introductions on neutral ground before ever bringing Reagan into the house, but that didn't go well. My MIL's dogs were freaking out because they've never been on leashes before (these dogs have no training at all). Reagan gets along well with other small dogs and completely ignores them. But with these dogs, she's clearly afraid and I don't blame her. While we're visiting, she's constantly looking over her shoulder and whining because she thinks they're going to sneak up behind her. Recently she has started barking back and growling a little. I'm worried this could turn into fear aggression and that she could end up hurting one of my MIL's dogs, even though I wouldn't blame her because they're already attacking her. Has anyone experienced this before or have any suggestions for how to handle this?

Sent from Free App

hunterisgreat 08-07-2014 11:16 AM

5 Attachment(s)
If another dog attacks you and bites you and you bite back, thats not fear aggression. Its just called self defense. If any dog ran up and bit one of my dogs they will bite back and I consider that an appropriate response.

annap24 08-07-2014 11:18 AM

You're right. I guess fear aggression is the wrong term. I guess what worries me is that them biting her doesn't really do any damage, but if she bites back one of them could be seriously injured or killed, and even though it was self defense I think my MIL would blame her.

Sent from Free App

Bear L 08-07-2014 11:32 AM

What would you like your dog to do? Sit there calmly while allowing the other dogs to bark, snarl and bite her?

If you are not going to protect her, she has to do it herself (and then get unfairly blamed for protecting herself).

Your dog is not at fault. It's the humans and the little dogs. Change what's at fault and you'll have peace. Otherwise, don't bring your dog there to get traumatized and blamed for protecting herself.

When I experience this, I either get my dog out of that situation or shield my dog from the incoming dogs and shoo them away.

If your mom brings you to visit a friend where the friend's kids keep bullying you - what would you like your mom to do?

Galathiel 08-07-2014 11:44 AM

I live this scenario every day. My pup never responds and isn't concerned about the display my 14 y.o. shih tzu puts on. My solution? They are never together. It's not fun, but my old dog won't hush and accept that the pup is here to stay. He gets to stay in the master suite when the pup is out. Oh well.

annap24 08-07-2014 12:04 PM

Sorry for the confusion. I'm DEFINITELY not saying my dog is at fault. I do protect her. After the first time it happened, I have one person walk behind her when I have to walk her past the little dogs so that they can't get to her. I also mostly keep her separated in a different room, but it is unavoidable for her to have to walk past them at some point. What I was looking for advice on is what can be done to either stop the little dogs aggression or to make Reagan less scared. They haven't bitten her since the first time it happened, but now she's scared of them growling. I just didn't know if there was a way to make her less scared. I totally know she's not at fault and the little dogs are not allowed near her now.

Sent from Free App

Galathiel 08-07-2014 01:28 PM

I would probably not take my dog unless I'm paying an extended visit. Like I said, my shih tzu refuses to 'get over it' .. not saying your MIL's won't, just relating what I've experienced. My GSD is pretty full of himself so those types of displays aren't bothersome - I'M the one that can't stand the noise!

Unless your MIL is willing to leash and correct her dogs for their behavior, it may not get better.

annap24 08-07-2014 01:34 PM

Yeah I'm afraid it may resort to that. Her shih tzu is very much the same way. I was trying to avoid leaving her because I like taking her as many places as I can, but my MIL isn't very willing to correct her dogs so it looks like that may be the best bet. :( I'm happy to do whatever is in the best interest of Reagan. Do you think this fear will transfer over to other small dogs?

Sent from Free App

Galathiel 08-07-2014 03:29 PM

I think you need to make a conscious effort to really reward her for being calm when she sees smaller dogs when you're out and about town. Don't get too close necessarily, but when you see a small dog, give her something yummy she doesn't normally get. She will begin to look forward to seeing little dogs.

Although it's fun to go places with your dog, it's a lot less stressful on them to just stay home if they are constantly going to be harassed. And less stressful for you. :)

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:55 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome