My dog is way too shy with other dogs. There are only two dogs he plays with (sister's dogs, who we see every two months), and that is only a very short tug of war before he backs off. I would like him to be able to play at the dog park with other dogs and have fun and play bitey face. I am pretty sure the reason he is so shy is because of lack of socialization as a puppy. It isn't because of lack of excersise, because I know he gets a decent amount of excersise. In fact, he is sleeping next to me right now. We take him to a dog park once a week, all of the dogs there are friendly. He usually sniffs the dog but then if the dog makes any sudden moves or tries to play he backs away. Also, we take him to the lake sometimes (every two weeks) where he sees dogs, though he hasn't been swimming yet this year, because he got an ear hematoma and the vet said not to take him swimming for a while. Does anyone have any tips on how to get him to be able to play more with other dogs? If so, please share, I would be so thankful. Sorry for such a long message, I am new to the forum. =)
You can't really change his personality. Some adult dogs like to rough house and play, some don't. Enjoy him for who he is.
(eta this is assuming that he is fine with other dogs that he passes on the sidewalk and doesn't show any aggression or excessive fear at these times)
Last edited by kaytris; 07-23-2010 at 11:14 PM.
=) Thank you for the advice. He usually just sniffs at dogs when they pass on the sidewalk, but if they try to come closer he runs away with his tail behind his legs. Of course I enjoy him for who he is, I'm was trying to make him less shy so he can have more fun. =) Thanks again!
is he otherwise confident? Maybe some classes like agility or rally to build up general confidence (and with other dogs around?)
Not sure a dog park with dogs you do not know is the best way (as you may run into dogs who will pick up on his shyness and pick on him). If possible, meet-ups with dogs who are well balance (neither too shy nor to domiant or in your face).
Just guessing here, not a trainer by any means.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I don't think you can ever get him to enjoy playing with other dogs, and I agree with Tanya that an offleash park is not the best option for him, but of course you can build his confidence so that he doesn't run away from passing dogs. Obedience or agility would be a great idea (I'm partial to agility myself
A couple good books are "Cautious Canine" (P. McConnell) or "Fraidydog" (A. Wilde) - not sure on the last title, but you can look for them on dogwise.com
Is there a Doggie day Care near you? While I know the quality may vary, the Day Care I work for matches the dog's personalities as best as we can.For example, a really shy dog we would put with soome of the calm oldsters who could care less about a lot of play. This would get the shy dog used to other dogs that are not going to rough house. Gradually as the shy dog is able to tolerate, we introduce bolder dogs. Our adolescent group is only for the brave and bold.
We have a couple larger dogs that can only deal with the small dogs. One is just very shy and the other (actually two goldens) are well...retarded in some way. (even look a bit pin-headed...but are really sweet dogs).
You would have to find the right Day Care, and explain truthfully your dog's shyness with other dogs. Our Day Care has an evaluation day, where we see if the dog can cope with Day care....and not every dog can (but usually it is an aggressive issue. Shy dogs we just are careful about who we put them with).
Karen and the gang
BBI Kodi's Journey To Anotch (Journey)
BBI Kodi's Blackpowder Striker (Flint)
As per usual for JL, you've gotten really solid and fantastic advice! The only thing I can add is that a Rally class may also be a good confidence-builder.
Simon was a very shy dog when we first adopted him (not necessarily with other dogs, just in general). Obedience classes with lots of praise and treats and positive reinforcement really helped him build confidence.
I know what it's like to want your dog(s) to be able to enjoy every aspect of their lives, including having enjoyable relationships with other dogs. I would love nothing more than to be able to take mine to a dog park or other play opportunity and turn them loose. But mine tend to have issues with other dogs, so they are never going to be dog park dogs. And I agree that a dog park, where you have no control over who shows up and what kind of personalities are at play, is not the place for a dog who has shyness issues. It could make things exponentially worse in just the blink of an eye.
IIRC, in Scott & Fuller's book, "Genetics & the Social Behavior of Dogs," they found through 20+ years of their longitudinal research on many issues (on 5 breeds of dogs) that socializing a dog to other dogs and humans needs to be done within the first 15 weeks (or was it 25?) of the puppy's life or they'll be forever deficient in that respect.
However, if you have friends or neighbors with a friendly, playful dog, you might try some experience (maybe less than an hour with you there) to see if gradually you might thaw out some of his reserve or reluctance. After all, Nance (PaddysMom) recently posted about her cat (Hope) becoming affectionate with one of her dogs.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I agree that some form of controlled socialisation may help to bring him out of himself.
On my last training sessions we had a Lab introduced that would simply not do anything due to it's fear though not shyness.
After about four or five weeks at the class it slowly came round.
Thank you for the advice everyone! =) I'll take everyone's thoughts into mind.