Emma is scared of other dogs - HELP!
Wife and I went on a leisurely 3/4 mile walk around the subdivision with Emma on her leash. She learned heal quickly and how to keep pace beside me while exploring everything in the road. however she also learned not to walk between my legs or do circles around me - a couple of stepped on toes solved that:eek::D
We have a lot of dogs in the subdivision - some friendly, some not, so we were watchful of who she met. The first was male full size poodel that still thinks it is a puppy - a very sociable dog. We asked if we could approach and owner said OK. She was very interested in Emma too.
So we started to approach slowly, dogs were 20 feet apart and Emma freaked barking and wining and trying to hide behind me. We stopped, and reassured Emma it was OK. After a bit we tried again and the dogs got nose to nose and then the poodle tried to sniff around Emma, in a friendly manner. Emma was in a panic to get away, so we stopped and separated.
This is the first dog Emma has really met sense litter separation. Poodle owner said we should try and make a play date later as her poodle seem to respect Emma, and backed off at her yelping during the sniffing. Poodle did not bark or make any aggressive sounds at all.
As we were separating another horse owner road by with her dog, a border collie. Emma looked, barked, then hid behind me - again this dog was 30 some feet away. At least she did not bark at the horses. The poodle and the collie along with owners went the other way on the loop for thier walk.
When we passed them again, Emma was again very upset, hiding behind me. Neither of the two dogs approached this time so we were able to pass.
Boomer the neighborhood love showed up without his owner - running loose as usual. Boomer is a mutt - part husky, part who knows what, but he wiggles for joy at any attention. He used to play for hours with my golden and is very easy going. Emma was a little bit less agresive/panic this time, and did get nose to nose, then went bizerk, trying to get away from me and Boomer. She had me tangled badly in her leash as she ran between my legs to get away. I knew Boomer would not harm her so I took Emma aside (about 10 feet away), had her sit and tried to calm her down as the wife held Boomer. Boomer never barked, just sat and wiggled.
Emma just kept looking up and at me and wined as I reassured her and rubbed her down, she was shaking looking back and forth at me and Boomer. in a few minutes she did settle down and was able to walk past Boomer without further incident, but kept looking back as we walked away.
These were all adult dogs a lot bigger than her.
Ema is 14 weeks and will be going to puppy class next month (3rd is the first class). I really want her not to be afraid. Should I take her to the local pet stores and see how she does, or have her meet the Poodle again in our fenced yard with her off the leash. The poodle owner is very willing to help with this.
At the end of the walk, she seemed a tired happy puppy - ready to take on my daughters cat - whom she has no fear of yet. Cat is just about as big as she is, and fortunately very patient - no claws yet, just hissing.
Any suggestions?. I don't want to ruin this part of her life and want her t be in control as she passes dogs in the neighborhood.. So folks know I did not force Emma forward, just kept her on the leash and let her move on her own, which was usually backwards.
I dont know if you clicker train, but what our trainer had us do at first was click and treat for looking at a strange dog (even if super far away), then click and treat for approaching each step etc, keep treating every time she sees the other dog. Then they sort of start to associate the other dogs with a really fun, good thing. Our puppy would growl and bark and hide at other dogs when she was 10 weeks old (it was a mini class offered by my vet where all dogs had shots) but now at 12 weeks she loves seeing other dogs, it makes her really happy and she always wants to greet them because it equals good treats :)
It sounds like youre doing a good job though. I wouldn't rub her and reassure her when she whines though, it increases it. If she whines, just walk away father until she quits and act like there's no big deal going on and she will get the hint that her behavior is unnecessary since you are so calm.
I would try to get into puppy class earlier if any way possible!
Going to the park and sitting a distance away from dogs teaching your dog focus works to. I used to take mine to the park every day, sit on the bench and let the bike riders, skate boarders, dogs, and kids walk past her...no interaction, but lots of treats and focus. Your lucky that the poodle owner is willing to work with you, a nice stable dog can do wonders.
On our walk tomorrow I will see how she reacts to the poodle. He is always out in the yard.
She is one tired puppy tonight - feeling the walk like ME :laugh::sleep::)
If I was you I'd have a look if there's any "baby" puppy classes on offer. A lot of our Vet clinics offer them as soon as puppies had their 2nd set of shots. You really don't want to wait another 3 weeks.
Totally agree with mego tho, don't make fuss and cuddle her when she's whining and scared - you are rewarding her for being scared. Instead try to be happy, and confident - she will pick up on your emotions.
Ideally if you know someone that has a really well behaved adult dog that won't jump all over her trying to play but be happy to approach her quietly and let her sniff them all over that would be the way to go.
I think I got lucky. This Saturday there as a puppy socialization class being put on by a local trainer. (I'm sure it is also to get business as it is free - donation only. They have several fenced yards where they separate by ages with toys to play with. The also have a special yard for tough situations where they can do a bit of one on one.
Sounds like this may be a fit and she does require proof of shots.
Thoughts on this? Thanks
Had same problem with my Zeus...
There's some good suggestions here, no doubt.
But our approach was to simply take the dog out of the meet and greet action until he got bigger. Zeus is now 57 lbs. at just 4.5 months and he has no problem with walking the neighborhood now without fear of other dogs on leash or behind fences.
But Zeus was attacked twice early in our errant socializing efforts, once in a dog park and once just walking. It hurt his confidence. A GSD intended for protection work must have confidence.
Here's a couple of things we did to help him build his confidence. But relating them to you is not intended to diminish the value of the previous fine posts on this matter.
Firstly, we "bark" when we take Zeus into his backyard (completely fenced). Over a very short period of time he began barking too and soon established his "territory". Now, no other dog can bark from a nearby yard without a firm response from Zeus.
Secondly, when we hear a do bark and before Zeus can respond we move aggressively towards the sound and "bark". Zeus now approaches the sound too and, again, lays out his territorial claim vocally.
Thirdly, when we walk the neighborhood and dogs bark, some quite viciously, at him we simply make him sit and face the dogs while we hold the leash high on his neck preventing him from retreating. I speak to him softly and reassuringly and make him stay until the other dogs tire (or I do of the cacophony). He no longer even turns his head in noticing the sound of other dogs barking at his approach. He ignores them completely when before he would not only pull on the leash to escape, but also, anxiously glance over his shoulder for 100 yards to ensure the dog was not loose.
Lastly, we walk the dainage (ditches) where the fenced backyards of homes abutt the path. Invariably, this sets of the dogs in the yards and they go into a barking frenzy.
Again, I bark, advance towards the sound with Zeus in tow and have sometimes even shouldered the fence aggressively opposite the other dogs to help Zeus know that their threats can be faced down. He's responded very positively to those steps.
I should also mention that with Zeus on a leash I physically and decisively drove off the second dog that attacked him. I didn't the first time and felt terrible about it. Despite, the immediate conflict with the owner of the second dog I didn't disappoint Zeus the second time and cleared the field of both dog and owner.
Maybe this will sound crazy. But I swear that after my decisively stepping in and routing the second dog that attacked Zeus my puppy had a clear change in heart and attitude about other dogs in that he was MUCH more comfortable and at ease in the proximity of other dogs. I think it gave him a shot of considerable confidence that he was not alone in facing these threats and that between the two of us he was no longer in any real danger.
He's now very comfortable with other dogs. I think he doesn't feel that he's going to be attacked anymore and perhaps that if he is attacked I'll make it right for him.
Or, maybe he just got bigger.
In the yard and around the house Emma is very protective and strong. She barked and held her ground when the repair man came, and did approach when he offered to be friendly - got down and presented back of his hand.
In the yard she is also very good, barking at anything new or strange. We have a lot of loose dogs and she will be right in their face at the fence, Bark at first and sit and stare - nothing aggressive - no snarling. She did not retreat in this situation.
I will be out on the walk again this afternoon and will see how this goes. The class Saturday was also recommended by my vet.
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