Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)
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Thread: Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)

  1. #1
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    DefaultPuppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)

    Background: Dreidel--13 week old GR. OB school started last night ages of puppies/dogs in classroom 12 weeks to 3+ years. Various dogs including a Jack Russel Terrier, Standard Bulldog, Yellow Lab, and various mixes. Playmate: 4.5 yo Chocolate Lab. No issues with brother (the choc. lab).

    Here is the problem: We took Dreidel to OB class last night. All dogs on long leads for the play period. The trainer has everyone bring their dogs out onto the floor in order of "submission" (the most "submissive" dogs first with the most "dominate" dogs last). Most dogs/puppies are sniffing each other and doing what dogs/puppies do. Dreidel slowly creeps out and this bulldog begins walking towards her. When she sees him getting closer she starts screaming (just like someone was hitting her with a stick) and backing up. The bulldog does not understand what is going on and continues his advance. Dreidel continues her screaming (in addition to having peed on the floor--which I think is she was so scared she peed) and backs all the way up to the wall. The bulldog stops his advance at about 3-5 feet and looks around. Understand the bulldog never got closer then 3-5 feet from her and advanced with his head down sniffing. Attu (her big brother--chocolate lab) came over to see what was going on and she proceeded to scream and cower against the wall at him. (Now inside our house she roughhouses with him and later that night was back playing with him as normal). When the formal training started Dreidel did just grand. She had one other accident towards the end of class (she vomited) but I think she was so stressed from the beginning of the class that she got an upset stomach.

    So now my need for advice. How do we ensure this won't happen again? How can we help Dreidel over this fear of other dogs? What is the best way to give her that help? I understand that coddling her or telling her its alright or petting her at the moment she is so fearful is the wrong thing to do and will only reinforce the behavior. We are going to speak with the trainer and see what suggestions they have but please don't tell me to get a professional trainer (they don't exist on Kodiak Island, AK. The nearest large town is over 350 miles flying away so resources are very limited). When we speak with the trainer I am going to inquire about having one of the other classmates come early if possible or even her own dogs and work with Dreidel one on one to see if that will help.

    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Dawna

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  3. #2
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)

    I think the one-on-one with other sociable, friendly, compatible dogs would be the way to go. Build up the happy response to other dogs with as many experiences as possible.

    There may be some responders who object to exposing a pup of this age to other dogs.

    Dr. Patricia McConnell ("The Other End of the Leash") discussed the pros and cons of this.

    On the one hand there's the risk of disease before the last round of shots are given.

    But, on the other hand, there's the risk of your pup NOT acquiring some very important socializing experiences before the window of opportunity of this "critical period" passes by. McConnell favors providing the experience after the 2nd shots, with dogs you judge as safe, and before that "window" expires.
    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":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)

    Youre on the right track, but this class sounds a bit overwhelming for her. Please talk to the trainer, and suggest that Dreidel sit on the sidelines for the playtimes - she's not ready for them. Ask the other owners not to let their dogs approach Dreidel just yet.

    Ask the trainer to pick ONE quiet, laid back puppy and ask the owners to stay after class one night. Let Dreidl off leash (or drop the leash and let her drag it) and allow her to sniff around and explore. If she approaches the other puppy (which is on leash and close to owner), quietly praise her. If she stays away, that's fine too. The other owner may toss a ball or toy for their puppy to play with (puppy still on leash, you want dreidel to come to the puppy, not the other way around.)

    Also, I would ask the trainer if you and Dreidel can sit in on other classes - just to watch and be around the other dogs, not to work.

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    kaznalf is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)

    Socialise constantly especially at this age its very important they see EVERYTHING. I think maybe as it was a new enviroment she was a bit anxious seeing as she is ok in your house with other dogs...alfie got so anxious on his 1st lesson he barked the whole time, nextweek half the time and 3rd time he stopped barking...i think screaming is her way of saying she isnt comfortable and therefore maybe the more times you go the better she will be.

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    DefaultRe: Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)

    Thanks for all of the advice. I was thinking along the same lines and it is good to know I am not out in left field with it. We plan on talking with the trainer (Friday or Saturday) prior to the next class which is on Tuesday nites. Now get this...Dreidel met another older (7yo) GR last night. The older GR was inside of a SUV and the owner asked if Dreidel wanted to meet this GR. I was hesitant given what had happened in puppy class but thought why not. I picked Dreidel up (she could not have met the other GR--SUV too tall) and guess what...she just sniffed the older GR and her tail was going a mile a minute. Way to go Dreidel!!! ;D So this kinda confirms our thinking. Dreidel was overwhelmed in class but when she feels safe she's fine. I would not mind her meeting other neighborhood dogs but around here I really don't think they are safe (owners let them roam with no supervision and there have been numerous accidental puppies because of it > ) hence I don't feel comfortable letting young Dreidel mix with them yet.

    I have read Dr. Patricia McConnell ("The Other End of the Leash") but it was a long time ago so I think I need to get that book again and reread it. We are definitely not going to give up going as she did really well in the formal training aspect of it.

    Thanks again for your advice and assistance. It really makes me appreciate the folks here and I knew I would get great feedback. You folks are wonderful and I thank God for each and everyone of you.

    Dawna

  8. #6
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    DefaultRe: Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--UPDATED!!!

    Well we had our second puppy class and Dreidel did so much better. No screaming or cowering in the corner or accidents on the floor. We got there a bit early and Dreidel was trying to meet the other puppers coming in. During play time she went out and was meeting and greeting other puppers (even the big ones) and meeting other people. I am so proud of her. Way to go Dreidel!!! ;D

    Thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions. They really help.

    Dawna

  9. #7
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)

    Great!! Congratulations to both of you for a job well done.
    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":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  10. #8
    rpliegos Guest

    DefaultRe: Puppy has fearful reaction to other dogs--Need Advice (long)

    Keep on socializing her a lot since it´s the only way she will come out of the shell. They way you react to other dogs is also very important. When you are friendly towards a strange dog and the dog is friendly to you, very big chances are that your puppy will be friendly too, just like it happened with your encounter with the other dog.

    Dogs do recognize each other after meeting only once, specially if it was a short time ago, so once she makes friends with another dog they will both be delighted to see each other again

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