My Puppy Doesn't Like Other Dogs? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-28-2016, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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My Puppy Doesn't Like Other Dogs?

My 4 month old puppy has a host of normal annoying puppy behaviors. She's counter cruising, stealing shoes, nipping... thank God I've housebroken her. Overall they're all behaviors I am confident will go away with enough concistency and training... all except one... dislike of other dogs.

We enrolled Sabre in a group puppy training class almost as soon as we got her so she can be trained and also be socialized with other dogs. Problem: she will not stop barking at the other dogs. She lunges at them, and when the trainer told us to try allowing Sabre to sniff another dog, she outright nipped the other dog in the butt rather than sniffing her.

She's not really afraid, though her heart rate increases. Her ears are forward, and her tail's not tucked.

I've been clicker training/ rewarding her with treats when she's quiet around other dogs, but sometimes when she's riled up enough about another dog she'll outright ignore treats. And during training when I have hot dogs as a treat she'll get full up so fast it's back to barking.

The trainer recomended trying to enroll her in doggie day care to see if the same behavior occurs when I'm not around. After all I could be tensing up and causing Sabre to get protective. This particular doggie day care has a former vet as an owner and we go to get her evaluated tomorrow but I'm really nervous.

She loves humans but doesn't seem to like dogs. I can live without taking her to the dog park, but I would like to have other dogs eventually and not be afraid my dog's going to attack another dog while I'm out on a walk with her, especailly when she's older and big enough to pull me along with her. I don't nescessarily require her to love other dogs, but I do want her to ignore other dogs when they are in the same vicinity.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-28-2016, 11:36 PM
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Your pup is only 4 months old and from your post, she has been in puppy classes from early on and is not doing well with other dogs. Understandably you are nervous about tomorrow's evaluation for a doggie daycare. I would seriously consider cancelling that appt. and instead taking a break from the classes and socialization. I would try taking it slow with her. Let her observe other dogs at a distance and reward her for being quiet as you are doing. Gradually get closer - if she gets upset - back up and increase the distance until she focuses on you - then reward. I wouldn't worry about when she is grown up because puppies change. A puppy can be very friendly with other dogs but when she is older, she may not like them. Your pup could be the opposite - not friendly now, but later as she matures, she will do well.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-28-2016, 11:53 PM
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Mary Beth is right.Forcing the issue very often makes it worse.Better that your pup learns to ignore other dogs.Kinda like forcing someone who's afraid of snakes into a room full of them.That's a nightmare not a cure!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 12:04 AM
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agree with above. Do NOT put this puppy in doggy daycare...too much for her brain to deal with. Increase her confidence in with her through simple training, tracking, praise her when you capture her doing the right behaviors. Many pups are overwhelmed/overstimulated in places with too many things to deal with.
Ignore and be neutral is always the goal when I'm working puppies. People and other dogs are not 'playmates' or 'enemies' I want to be more exciting to my pup than any distraction.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 10:59 AM
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Great advice so far!

I'm working on the same thing now, only with people. Shade is fine with other dogs, but not comfortable with people. He barks at everyone who gets close. I was doing just as you are, putting him in situations where he had to face people and deal with the consequences... It almost always ended in barking and fear and he wasn't learning anything. My trainer told me I was working past the threshold (flooding - he was overwhelmed), and that it could actually make the problem worse. As SOON as I started working under threshold (keeping a distance from people and rewarding him for just looking at them), he improved dramatically! We're still right in the middle of it, but I have every faith that he will continue to improve, now that I'm not forcing him to be up close to other people. Ideally, I don't want him to approach strangers or take food from them. I want him to ignore them and look to me.

I love this site and the articles. I don't follow any one theory or methodology, but I have found a lot of useful information here.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 01:19 PM
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 02:25 PM
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Something I find useful when training my dog is the idea of setting the dog up for success. If they're struggling with just seeing one dog, I can't imagine throwing them in with a huge group will be a positive experience.

My adult dog is fearful (and thus, aggressive) of other dogs. Our trainers (married couple) started with no dog, then a plush dog, then one of their highly trained and stable dogs, now we attend their group classes but keep a bit of distance. We find out what motivates him and use that to our advantage. When he seems to struggle, we pull back a bit and work with what he can give us at that moment.

It's like throwing a kid into the deep end to teach them to swim. They *might* learn but they might also drown or develop a phobia. The risk isn't worth it if you have methods that are less risky (to all) and more effective.
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