Puppy showing dog aggression and fear
So I have a four month old working line female puppy who is having some MAJOR issues around other dogs out in public. Yesterday, she tried to bite another dog.
Let me give some background info. We have a 6 year old female and this new puppy. We got her at 8 weeks from a highly reputable breeder. Her litter was described as being bred as ďjack of all tradesĒ (they typically breed very high performing IPO dogs) and she was described as very social. I think that her breeding and personality are excellent, so I am afraid this is something I have caused somehow.
We live on some acreage and have exposed her to lots of different sites, sounds, walking surfaces and people. We kept her away from dogs besides ours until her shots were competed a few weeks ago. She had occasional interactions with healthy, trusted dogs of our family members. She would be a little scared and first, but then warmed up. After she got all of her shots, I started taking her to Home Depot and on walks on public trails to get some further socializing (desensitizing, not playing and saying hi to everyone). On one of our first trail walks an unleashed standard poodle came running up to us. These are off leash trails (typically pretty empty though) and this is to be expected. My older dog did as she usually does and says a cautious hello, maybe tries to play if the dogs is friendly. But the puppy freaked out! She got very scared and was trying to run and hide. I tried to show her I would protect her and stood between her and the dog. She was scared of the dog but eventually warmed up to the owner and wasnt running away. She never really approached the dog though. We moved on and everything was fine.
Since then, her reaction to dogs has been escalating on every encounter. I think she was entering a bit of a fear stage anyway. We worked through a few things at the house that was was barking at. She has been overcoming those things very well, but with other dogs it is getting worse and worse. I went to my old trainer and we did some obedience with his dogs present to help her get more confident and less reactive. It went well in our session, but it did not translate at all to our outings. At the vet and waking around downtown has been great for new sites, sounds and people, but seeing a dog sets the whole thing off.
Just yesterday I took her to Home Depot again and a nice woman was offering to have her dog sit while I practice letting my puppy walk by. My puppy was loosing her mind barking at this dog. The woman suggesting letting them say hi. I thought maybe this would help, because me holding her back was clearly not helping. This was a mistake. My puppy lunged, growled and tried to bite her dog. Truely bite. Looking back, I donít think this dog was the right dog to try this with. She told me her dog had its CGC, so thatís why I though it was be ok, but I donít think the body language if the dog was right.
I have been reading on here and other resources how important it is NOT to let you dogs approach other dogs during socializing, but I canít help but think that has been part of my problem. My older dog is excellent with other dogs and I used to let her approach friendly dogs when we were out training.
I am trying to figure out what to do next. My tentative plan is to stop taking her places where there are other dogs for now and set up specific play and social sessions with friendly, trusted dogs to get her more comfortable.
Any other suggestions?
She and my older dog get along well. They play rough, but we break it up if it gets to be too much.
She is very person friendly. She still barks at them sometimes, but not aggressively. It is more an of alert bark or an ďI donít know what that isĒ bark if they are doing something new or different. She is getting better and better with human socializing/desensitizing with every outing.
I am just very nervous after her behavior yesterday.