Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Just starting to meet other dogs - scared kind of?
Prepare for an essay, sorry - wanted to include all the facts and background:
Now that our almost 14 week old puppy has finished his vaccines, we've finally been able to take him out more than in the past. In his first month or so with us, he has seen some dogs out and about/at the vet's office etc., but hasn't really interacted with them. For the most part, he just ignores other dogs he has seen, even if they're barking.
The exception is when he comes with me to work, he's around my colleague's 13 y/o golden retriever who ignores him. The first time he met her (she stood there and looked at him and had no reaction), he hid behind me and tried to run back into my office, which I allowed him to do, while I stayed and pet the dog so he could see.
The second time, he tried to play with her, and she flat out ignored him because she was resting and is an old lady who wants to be left in peace.
This weekend we took him to a park after having breakfast nearby at a restaurant with him. The restaurant was filled with dogs, who he doesn't bark at, but he will hide behind us when they get too close.
At the park we just wanted him to have the chance to play in the grass a little, but as we were walking, we were near the dog park, which only had two dogs in it, so we walked him near the fence just so he could see the other dogs/see us not reacting to them, or only reacting positively (petting them if they calmly came up to us on the other side of the fence). He seemed cautious about this, but didn't bark or anything.
While there, someone's off leash bichon came up to us and tried to sniff Klaus, who promptly hid behind me. My husband (Klaus's favorite person) pet the dog in an effort to move him away from Klaus, and it was the only time I've ever heard Klaus growl. The dog ignored him but ran off to his owner. He approached us again later and tried to hump Klaus (lovely), at which point we were calm but immediately pushed the other dog off, but Klaus clearly wanted to play (did the play bow posture and pulled to get toward the dog) but the dog ran away to his owner again.
I'm so confused about his mixed reactions that I don't know how to approach the whole meeting other dogs thing for the best results. I've read other threads here, and I won't ever force him to play with a dog. I don't even care if he really likes other dogs, but he will have to ignore other dogs, even if they sometimes get in his personal space (but aren't threatening him of course).
This city is teeming with dogs, many of them annoyingly off leash, and we have very narrow sidewalks in many places, meaning that the dogs almost brush past each other when walking. We also like taking him everywhere with us when we can, and plan to regularly take him places like restaurants, the beach, etc. Even at the non-dog beach there are usually plenty of dogs running around off leash, so he'll need to be able to handle this - positively or by ignoring it - if he is to come with us.
Our new trainer suggested having some play times with other puppies near his age and size, and we hoped to set up something with two of his siblings and something with a friend of mine with a slightly older gsd pup. Is this something that could help his confidence with other dogs? Is there something else we should be doing or another way we should go about helping him make being around other dogs a non-issue? I just want him to be a stable adult dog who can be out and about without issue.