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How can I help my dog be less scared of other dogs?

(8 Posts)
flowerybeanbag Tue 09-Sep-08 13:34:51

I have a lovely Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, pics on profile for drooling purposes.

We took him to puppy training classes and made sure when he was younger that we socialised him really well. As a result he was perfectly happy meeting all sorts of dogs, pretty much fearless and not worried even by big 'scary' dogs. Brilliant.

Then next door neighbour got a rescue dog. Dog is lovely, and doing really well, but at first he was a bit temperamental. Neighbour had idea to take both out together so they could 'meet' rather than just sniff under the fence.

On walk with neighbour and dog, my dog recklessly attempted to steal other dog's ball from under his nose. He got bitten on the face, not badly, but drew blood.

Since then, almost a year, he is scared of all other dogs. When one approaches he freezes until they go past and if there is a big one where we are headed he won't move.

He goes for a run everyday and meets at least one other dog usually more, so he is having plenty of contact, not being sheltered away or anything. Other than keep doing this, is there anything else I can do?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 09-Sep-08 13:38:30

Poor little thing. I'm not sure what the answer is but I know its a common enough problem - I've had larger dogs scared of my dachshund! So there must be advice from behaviourists out there somewhere.

Good luck

Cosette Tue 09-Sep-08 13:40:42

Might be worth finding someone who has a friendly dog, and having them spend some time 1:1 together regularly to build up his confidence. Each time he meets a new dog, he's having to assess whether he's friend or foe - and it would probably help to have dogs that he knows are friends.

Our setter had a run-in with a Doberman when he was a puppy, which scared him a bit - and even now he will lie down and assess another dog from a distance, before going closer. If it's a dog he recognises, he will bound up to it very excitedly.

Since having got a second dog, I've noticed he's doing the lying down/holding back a bit less, and has gained confidence.

flowerybeanbag Tue 09-Sep-08 14:06:04

Thanks both. He does have a border collie who he is mates with, and sees fairly frequently. That's where he learnt the ball-pinching unfortunately- this border collie lets him do it so he thought it applied to all dogs with balls I think.

There are also quite a few other dogs he sees regularly when in the park as well as new ones, and whose owners I tend to have a chat with, so those he is fine with, or tolerates anyway. It's the new ones that are a problem and I would like to be able to help him so they are not.

It's so frustrating because he was so well socialised before.

flowerybeanbag Tue 09-Sep-08 14:06:57

'dogs with balls' - obviously I don't mean what that sounds like! grin

purpleduck Tue 09-Sep-08 14:08:28

How about as soon as your dog sees another dog, giving him a treat and lots of praise...?

And if he was happy at puppy school, how about going to dog training class..even if it is just to get him used to other dogs

Good luck

flowerybeanbag Tue 09-Sep-08 14:12:00

Ooh, both good ideas purpleduck!

I will try the first one starting tomorrow.

I think the classes idea is great as well. Might be a bit more tricky - his puppy classes (which he loved) were about 7pm, which is DS's bedtime (before DS arrived) and DH not usually home by then, but will investigate about possibilities and see if that's something we could do.

purpleduck Tue 09-Sep-08 14:23:23

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