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Scared of larger dogs?

841 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  MaggieRoseLee
Today during our morning walk, Sasha and I saw the "dog lady" for the first time. The dog lady walks our neighborhood all the time picking up litter/cans and she has 2 mix breed dogs. Today she was walking towards us with her larger dog, and she walked to the other side of the street. She stopped, and asked how old Sasha was, I told her. and then her dog lunged foward towards us and Sasha let out a loud yelp and hopped behind me. lol, its kind of funny now as I tell the story. But I was quite embarassed initially. The larger dog didn't bark or bite Sasha. He just made a sudden movement towards us and that seemed to startle Sasha a bit.

I have been taking steps to socialize my pup. We've had a puppy playdate already, and this week we start puppy training. I even have a friend that has a full grown husky that I wanted to socialize her with.

Should I be concerned about what happened today. I know they go through "fear" stages but I didn't expect this. Any thoughts on how I should handle this situation would be appreciated.

I was thinking of the next time I see the dog lady, that I could possibly ask her if it was safe to approach her and her dog so Sasha could see nothing is wrong.
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My boy, Hans, does this when our old dog, Sophie, gets on to him for something. He is ten times bigger, but submits to her at times.
This is fairly typical puppy behavior, especially for pups that are a bit less outgoing. She knows she's young and vulnerable and she's seeking protection from you--that's a very good thing, actually!

As you continue to create positive social situations for your dog this behavior will go away. I would just remain positive in situations like this. Next time you could bring treats and give her a treat for remaining calm when she sees the other dog. I wouldn't push the introduction until she's comfortable.

then her dog lunged foward towards us
This is terrifying behavior. Your puppy didn't realize the bigger dog was leashed and that his human would (presumably) stop him. Sasha acted exactly right. It has nothing to do with a fear stage, except that repeats of this sort of scenario COULD make Sasha afraid of other dogs.

Next time, when you stop to greet someone (unless it's someone that you KNOW has perfectly socialized dogs), hold your leash at the small of your back, with your pup to your left but behind you. This way, she can watch, but she is in a secure position. You can chat with the other owner, pet the big dog, then, if you are 150% confident that the big dog will remain calm, allow a quick nose to nose greeting. Then, move on.

BUT, during the greeting, always allow enough room for your dog to retreat without the other dog having enough leash to follow. (Don't walk right up to the other dog, leave plenty of space). Ask the other owner not to allow her dog enough leash to follow. Your puppy needs to learn that other dogs are safe and that she always has a safe retreat in case they're not. In other words, you'll provide her the means of protection as a last resort.

As an aside, I'm very hesitant to let my puppies (or even adult dogs) meet TWO dogs. (or even one dog at a time because the owner isn't completely focused). Unless the person really clearly knows what they're doing (their dogs are walking in nice "heel" positions, not pulling, very focused on their owners, immediately obeying commands, etc), I would not allow it.
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As long as you KEEP socializing and taking him out, this will just be fine. He was probably more startled than really afraid. But part of life is meeting big dogs and small dogs and friendly dogs and inappropriate dogs....

Key is meeting MANY dogs so your pup will learn the difference, put each meeting into perspective, and the fact you will remain happy, calm and in control of the situation.
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