Advice needed please - walking incident - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Advice needed please - walking incident

Hi all

I've started taking my 3 and a bit month old shepherd out and about and initially she was fantastic with meeting other dogs/people etc. However, this morning a dog owner with no control over her three retrievers allowed them to run the length of the field towards me and Ellie. Before i could do anything, one of the dogs had literally jumped on top of my girl and scared the life out of her.

I've not had this happen before and didn't have a clue how to react. I tried to stay calm and just walked Ellie away from the situation. She was crying and jumping up at me to pick her up but i just carried on walking her away and gave her a treat once we had cleared those retrievers. (no idea if that was the right or wrong thing at all)

However, now when we meet new dogs she seems a little bit skittish and tries to hide behind me. I don't comfort her when she does this, i try to be confident and she is slowly starting to approach other dogs again. Her first reaction however is one of fear...well, perhaps fear is the wrong word. But she does seem startled initially which wasn't the case at all before this incident. Any ideas how i can build her confidence again as i don't want any lasting damage to my girls wonderful temperament.

Whats the best thing to do from here? Do i just keep walking with her, be confident and hope she gets more confident to? Or are there some exercises i should be doing with her to help the process along a little? I want to make sure i'm doing the right thing to enable my Ellie to suceed and be happy.

I just hate that this one bad experience seems to have had an impact on her. I have no intention of letting my girl off the lead until i know her recall is 100% but it's a shame other owners in the area don't do the same :-(
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 05:54 PM
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You are doing what I would do in this situation. In the mean time, I would make sure she was only exposed to very dog safe dogs to boost her confidence.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 08:38 PM
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I've had similar situations happen. I usually scoop puppy up into my arms if I see some dog coming at them, especially one I don't know. i would worry too much about it since it was a one time incident. Try to get her around dogs you know, that are safe and friendly...preferably closer to her size! Keep up confidence building and socializing, and I'm sure she'll be fine!

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks both. Just back from walking and she seemed much better this morning. She met two dogs who were both on the lead so i was able to ask the owners if it was ok for them to meet eachother. Both had lovely and calm dogs so Ellie was back to her confident self and happy to have a good sniff and be sniffed. She didn't try and hide at all so i was a happier mummy.

I think it's just the loose dogs that run quickly towards her that she doesn't like (and to be fair thats understandable) For now i'm going to carry on arranging the meetings and building that confidence up

She also met a group of school children and she was fantastic with them. Didn't jump at them, just let them pet her and gave out her trademark kisses. I gave the kids some of her treats and she was showing her range of tricks off to them which was nice. One boy said he had wanted a Husky before but now he wanted a German Shepherd and was going to tell his mum when he got home from schoool
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 05:15 AM
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I would not scoop the pup up, reason being a dog in your arms makes you both more a target for oncoming dogs. I would have gotten between my dog and the oncoming barrage. Keep doing what you're doing but like Elaine said, try your darndest to let her near only safe dogs.

Unleashed dogs are a hazard which is one reason many places have leash laws. When we encounter an unleashed dog, I take down identifying info, address, dog description, license plates in the drive etc .. and call the Police. I don't necessarly want them cited, but I *do* want an Officer to make contact w/the owners and make sure they know that their dogs must be leashed. If they cooperate, fine ... if not then I want them ticketed.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 10:31 AM
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If you continue to go and about with good dog meetings, she'll get over this and realize it's an isolated incident. I've come to expect meetings like this from 'rude' dogs (sometime the rude dog is mine :eyeroll: ) so KNOW it's apart of dog life that I need to prepare my pups for.

I do try to be more vigilant when my puppies are young. So if I see dogs rushing over to say hey and overwhelm my puppy, just stepping in front to GREET the oncoming dogs first (placing the puppy behind me) is a huge huge help. Slows the oncoming dogs, buts me in a leadership position for my puppy, and allows the OVERWHELMING emotional craze of the meeting to go down a few levels.

Puppy classes are also a huge part of getting a more confident puppy in a somewhat controlled situation.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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That's great advice. I didn't even think of putting myself in front of her so i'll definitely be doing that should anything like this happen again.

We start puppy classes next week and we have a puppy party at the vets in a few weeks time too. All the puppies that were vaccinated get to meet, and have some supervised play time with eachother under the supervision of the nurses. We get a tour of the vet practice which should be good as they've got so many great facilities. They then teach us how to brush teeth, clip claws (although they will do it for free during her first year) and all that general day to day stuff. I'm really looking forward to her meeting other puppies her age :-) She actually loves the vets when we go and i don't think she's felt a single injection she's had because she's been too busy kissing the nurses to death.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 01:30 PM
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you are doing right by being confident and walking on. you are a pack leader and the pup looks to you for direction and guidance. If you pick up a pup in situations, you are telling them that it is okay to fear, you are also not being a good leader and eventually the pup would try to handle the situation most likely inappropriately.

To maintain the pack leader position you walk with confidence and continue straight on.

You are doing fine.

Also stepping in front is fine. It also shows your leadership to the puppy.

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