Puppy TERRIFIED Of Other Dogs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy TERRIFIED Of Other Dogs

I just created this account, so sorry if this is in the wrong topic. Pretty sure I got it right though. Anyhow, I have a 14 week old female DDR Shepherd (we’ve had her for 6 weeks). She’s been doing great on training, and even took her into the city to get used to noises, etc. Nothing bothers her, not even huge trucks and buses. But she’s terrified of other dogs. I’m obviously not a professional trainer, and this is my first shepherd, so I need help. We have a dachshund, so it’s not like she isn’t used to other dogs. And she hasn’t ever had any traumatic experiences with other dogs. If I new what the issue was, I could help her. But I don’t know what to do. The other day I was walking her and a lab came up to her and just smelt her and just stood there. But she was doing that blood curdling scream that dogs make when they’re utterly terrified. She also tried to hide under a chair when a dog just walked by with it’s owner. I don’t try to protect her cause I’ve read that it can make them feel it’s ok to be scared. But I do stay calm hoping she will stay calm as well and feel that. But nothing seems to work. We would bring her to dog parks to introduce her to other dogs, but she’s not fully vaccinated yet. And all of our friends dogs aren’t well trained and if they get over excited, they could make things worse. Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 08:32 AM
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Seems weird, that's my first thought! Could something have happened to her already, in her young barely-started life?

Rather than letting her meet dogs directly nose-to-nose, maybe start at a distance from a place with dogs (dogpark? petshop?) and hang out while playing and eating treats...?
After her shots, what about some kind of basic obedience class (if it doesn't freak her out too much)?

She may never be a social "dog park" dog but hopefully she should be able to walk by other dogs in a dignified manner...eventually.

You actually never have to meet another dog onleash, if you don't have to. Don't feel pressured. (offleash dogs kept by careless owners...that's another matter...)

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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We never wanted her to be a “dog park dog,” I personally don’t really like dog parks, we only were gonna bring her to get used to other dogs. But I think I will do that. When she gets the rest of her vaccinations, I’ll bring her to a dog park and slowly “acclimate,” her with the other dogs. When she’s finally comfortable with the other dogs coming up to her through the fence. Then I’ll slowly bring her in. I think that would be a good start.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DDRGSDEva View Post
We never wanted her to be a “dog park dog,” I personally don’t really like dog parks, we only were gonna bring her to get used to other dogs. But I think I will do that. When she gets the rest of her vaccinations, I’ll bring her to a dog park and slowly “acclimate,” her with the other dogs. When she’s finally comfortable with the other dogs coming up to her through the fence. Then I’ll slowly bring her in. I think that would be a good start.
We did this with our puppies. Our male was more vocal and cautious but our female was fine from the get go. We allowed her inside on leash at 1st and kept our male in the fenced off area until he calmed down, had time to sniff and bark it out a little. Then brought him in on lease and once we knew he was good, we let him go! It helps to find a dog park with a good group of people and dogs. The people who are at ours could see Chunk was just a puppy and was nervous, not aggressive and they welcomed him in even though his bark would have made most people scared.

I am not sure if we will continue to bring them to the dog park through adulthood, we will see how there temperament changes. Right now they are happy, loving puppies. They take command and listen to us very well. They are really good with other dogs and people... but I understand that may change with time.

If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by DDRGSDEva View Post
We never wanted her to be a “dog park dog,” I personally don’t really like dog parks, we only were gonna bring her to get used to other dogs. But I think I will do that. When she gets the rest of her vaccinations, I’ll bring her to a dog park and slowly “acclimate,” her with the other dogs. When she’s finally comfortable with the other dogs coming up to her through the fence. Then I’ll slowly bring her in. I think that would be a good start.
The best use for a dog park is training OUTSIDE its fence.
There’s absolutely no need for your dog to interact with other dogs, what you want is for your GSD to ignore them.
Start well away from it, arm yourself with treats, and do some training at a good distance. Get a little closer each time. Zero need to go inside. If she shows signs of stress, move farther away.
Your goal is for her to be comfortable, and for her focus to be on you.

PS— Stay away from the fence. The ones on the inside could get territorial and you could have a situation where they would bark at her and/or get ugly, and that is the last thing you want.

One more thing: do this when she is older. At 14 weeks, she is still a baby and should be exploring close to home. Dogs have no business coming up and sniffing her, especially if she has not finished her vaccinations.
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Last edited by Sunflowers; 07-25-2019 at 11:37 AM.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 11:39 AM
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Couldn’t agree more with what @Sunflowers said. Going into a dog park with an already skittish dog is just setting them up for failure. Working outside the fence is the only reason I take mine to the dog park. We work on basic obedience with the pup with the distraction of the dog park, and on recall, stays, etc with the older dogs. I don’t get near enough to the fence line for the dogs inside to pay much attention, because of the barking and chasing and pacing that can happen with the dogs inside the fence line. Well, except with our senior, but that’s a whole other story and issue.

I would recommend taking it slower with outside activities that force her to interact with strangers and strange dogs. Drive somewhere less active and let her enjoy the walk, while creating a better bond with you before you start introducing all that noise, foot traffic, and strange dogs coming towards her. Let her build up her confidence with you. Have her focus on you, instead of allowing her to focus on the distractions around her and trying to make decisions on her own. When you get to the point where she trusts you will make the right decisions for her, slowly start introducing her to different circumstances and places. If she gets skittish again, restart back to the last place she was comfortable at.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 12:10 PM
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As well as following @Sunflowers good suggestions, I'd consider looking around for a (NON Petco) trainer who's very experienced at managing anxious/spooky puppies and adults. If you're lucky, the trainer can come to your house and guide you through exercises outside the dog park. Ideally, after the basics are installed, the trainer also might be able to incorporate the two of you into a group class.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 12:21 PM
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It's pretty normal for pups to do that shriek when strange dogs approach. It's a call for momma to come help. I agree that strange dogs should not be sniffing at her at this age. And I agree that the dog park is not where she belongs.
Shy puppies that get pushed, turn in to reactive dogs, or worse. Give her time and space and let her set boundaries that work for her.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, thanks for all the suggestions and help. I’ll do the training outside the fence, but not go in. Thank you!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 04:24 PM
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It's not so odd. My pup last year when I first got him...would drag me back home if he heard a dog bark. In the beginning he would wait behind the storm door until the barking stopped before he went outside again. As he got older, he would run back to our front porch and not go inside. And then later, he wouldn't run, just hide behind my legs. He just slowly developed his confidence. Finally, he wasn't scared anymore. I never made a big deal of it. Just let him go at his own speed. I've watched enough National Geographic to know that young animals hang around the den when the adults go hunt for food. And the minute there's a noise or a threat, they run back into the den. So I figured that's just normal behavior. The dogs barking were a threat to him and so he wanted to run back to his "den."
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