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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well let me start off on how this started. Two days ago I started to walk Ze'eva down the side of the road on the really large shoulders that are here at the strip of beach houses that I live at. About halfway between where I live and a small state park there was a boxer/pit mix in the front seat of an old black SUV. The dog started barking as we walked by and seemed somewhat aggressive. Not noticing that the back of the SUV was open the dog ran out and attacked Ze'eva but didn't hurt her. She started crying and whimpering from being scared and startled as soon as the dog rushed her. I stood firm, assertive and must of seemed pretty intimidating and dominating to the dog as it just stood there barking and snarling in front of us but didn't make another move. About 10 seconds later the owner ran out and pulled her dog back and asked if she was alright. I quickly checked Ze'eva over to see if she was cut or if anything was broken and she was fine but still scared. I quickly stood up with leash in hand and moved forward in a calm and assertive manner and after that thought all was well.

So today I am walking Ze'eva at another state park south of here and have her off leash on the trails doing retrieval and tracking basic training. We finish the training and start to head back and come near the trail head. A man, his daughter and a older but hyper Aussie Shepherd come toward the trail and the Aussie quickly walks, not runs, toward Ze'eva playfully and Ze'eva immediately runs away crying and whimpering like the other dog is going to attack her. It was obvious right away what was going through her mind as this took place...

Does anyone have any ideas on how to break this and re-socialize/rehabilitate her as previously the past few weeks she has done amazing around other dogs at the local dog parks and on the trails.
 

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First, do not reinforce this behavior by cooing (such as "it's alright sweetie") or empathizing. Handle the encounters positively yourself, ignore dog's whimpering & crying.
Second, have good things happen around other dogs. Such as carry favorite treats and reward your dog when other dogs appear.
Third, - if the others don't reverse it -- try building thresholds. Which is where you recognize the distance where your dog reacts, start there by rewarding for good positive behavior and slowly shorten the distance. Don't rush this. Slowly move up to where you are doing the first two casually.
 

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another tip, is try to avoid putting her in situations where the dog is suddenly there. The dog not being on a leash and introduced properly and nicely is one of the issues she has. She's now viewing all unleashed and uncontrolled dogs as dangerous and scary. thats a pretty terrifying experience for a puppy. Most dogs wouldnt attack a puppy like that. She's scared and doesnt understand what happened or why. She doesnt know what she did wrong though she obviously didnt do anything wrong. She may even view leashed and controlled dogs as dangerous and scary. Proper encouragement and training could very well get her back to being okay but keep in mind, an experience like the one you described can be pretty terrifying and mentally damaging. I'm very sorry you and Ze'eva had that experience. Thats never a good experience for anyone, especially when it causes fear issues with other dogs. I hope you are able to work with her so she gets back to associating positive only things with other dogs. keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
another tip, is try to avoid putting her in situations where the dog is suddenly there. The dog not being on a leash and introduced properly and nicely is one of the issues she has. She's now viewing all unleashed and uncontrolled dogs as dangerous and scary. thats a pretty terrifying experience for a puppy. Most dogs wouldnt attack a puppy like that. She's scared and doesnt understand what happened or why. She doesnt know what she did wrong though she obviously didnt do anything wrong. She may even view leashed and controlled dogs as dangerous and scary. Proper encouragement and training could very well get her back to being okay but keep in mind, an experience like the one you described can be pretty terrifying and mentally damaging. I'm very sorry you and Ze'eva had that experience. Thats never a good experience for anyone, especially when it causes fear issues with other dogs. I hope you are able to work with her so she gets back to associating positive only things with other dogs. keep us updated.
Yeah I will and will be doing all I can to work with her on it. I don't reinforce it at all and didn't when it first occurred or yesterday. All I did yesterday at the park was call her, have her sit, leash her and move on. I have had a few leashed encounters since the first event and she was completely normal so it seems so far that this is just unleashed. My biggest fear with all of this is that it messes with her upcoming SAR training.
 

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Yeah I will and will be doing all I can to work with her on it. I don't reinforce it at all and didn't when it first occurred or yesterday. All I did yesterday at the park was call her, have her sit, leash her and move on. I have had a few leashed encounters since the first event and she was completely normal so it seems so far that this is just unleashed. My biggest fear with all of this is that it messes with her upcoming SAR training.

i think with time she'll adjust and be fine but not without work which you already know. She obviously has a fear of unleashed dogs. After that first experience man you better believe i would too! and i'm able to walk my male off leash most of the time (unless there are deer about and then it gets interesting). She just needs time. The good thing is it sounds like she hasnt been too negatively affected by her encounter as leashed meeting she's okay with. I'm willing to bet her fears are really in fast approaching unleashed dogs. She would probably do fine with a calm dog off leash that approached her nicely instead of what she views as a raging bull. If i remember correctly she is still pretty young so even one of my cats coming up at her all fast might make her a little panicky too. Just stay positive about it and dont even worry about it affecting her SAR training. If she's going to do it, she's going to do it and wont let anything stand in her way. She'll be fine. Keep up updated though!
 

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I had a basset hound (yes basset) come at my boy with teeth and everything. Left him yelping and running in circles, etc. We immediately grabbed another basset that we knew was totally cool and left my boy with her for 10 minutes. He recovered and has not had a problem since. Now when a dog growls, he moves and avoids and still approaches dogs that give positive cues.

Doggie Daycare really has helped because he is learning that not all dogs react the same and he has to adjust to who he is with or near.
 
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