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Help me get over my dog fear - quickly!

(8 Posts)
MrsGravy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:08:38

My friend is away on holiday for a few weeks and has left her cocker spaniel at home with her brother. Her brother works full time so the dog is on it's own all day. She was worried about this as usually she or her DH are around a lot. I offered to go around from time to time and take her for a walk or let her out in the garden.

The dog is lovely, very lively but well trained by my friend. BUT I'm a bit nervous of dogs if I'm honest. When I went round to walk her yesterday she was VERY excited to see me and was barking and jumping up. Logically I know she wasn't being aggressive but the barking was freaking me out a bit. It doesn't help that everybody tells you that you musn't show fear - this sets me into a downward spiral of 'I'm scared, oh god she can sense I'm scared, now I'm really scared, now she can sense I'm really scared AAARGGH'.

Anyway, I managed to walk her without her ripping off a limb or anything.

She also seems a bit reluctant to go for a walk with us (me and kids), she kept trying to lead us home bless her!!

I want to continue to pop round from time to time but would like some tips I guess - I don't have anything to fear do I?? Also, why would she be reluctant and how can I encourage her to want to come with us? I try hard not to show my nervousness, give her lots of strokes and 'good girls' etc.

Marne Fri 29-Jul-11 20:17:56

Give her a treat (dog biscuit or some cheese), spaniels love anyone that feeds them. She sounds lovely, i'm sure the more you see her the less nervous you will get. She might be reluctant to walk if you are taking her a diffent route than she does with her owner, my dog always wants to do the walk that fimiliar to her (starts pulling if i take a different route), i'm sure once she gets used to you and where you are taking her she will start to enjoy it.

MrsGravy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:28:58

Thanks! I'd been thinking maybe some dog biscuits would be a good idea. I'm walking her tomorrow morning so I'll get some before I go. DH just went to see her and he said she was really scared when she saw him (she doesn't know him very well) and was backing away from him and quivering sad He stayed a while and she eventually came round.

Marne Fri 29-Jul-11 21:17:42

Some dogs are more nervous around men, you deffently need dog biscuits grin, i used to look after my bosses dogs (2 very large dogs and one smaller), one of the bigger dogs (a ridgeback) was very barky and slighty nervous, once i gave her a biscuit she was fine (never trusted her though), food always does the trick smile.

RedwingWinter Fri 29-Jul-11 23:39:44

MrsGravy, for someone who is a bit scared of dogs it sounds like you did brilliantly well!

I second what the others have said about dog biscuits.

I hate it when a dog jumps on me uninvited. If you don't want her to do this, when she does it try folding your arms and turning away from her. Since dogs jump to get attention, this sends the message that it won't work.

She'll get used to going for a walk with you and to the route that you take. If she seems reluctant, it's only because this is a change to her usual routine. It will make a big difference to her compared to being indoors all day.

It won't matter if you are scared. If you stand up straight and tall anyway, you will be acting like you are confident, and she will probably think you are confident. I used to be terrified of dogs and would go weak at the knees if one so much as looked at me, thanks to some bad experiences as a child, but gradually got over it and am now the proud owner of a very big soppy dog (a husky/malamute cross).

tabulahrasa Sat 30-Jul-11 01:58:47

The whole knowing you're scared thing only matters if a dog is going to attack you, an even then you can bluff it out.

With a normal friendly dog, being scared usually makes them friendlier, which I can appreciate - not so much fun if you're scared. They do seem to feel the need to convince you that they're nice though, by being extra hyper and doggy, lol.

My last dog was always reluctant to go for walks when we left him, he'd do it happily enough if I was in and someone took him out though - so I don't know if it was not wanting to leave the house empty, or just a case of, she left me here, I'm waiting here for her...

minimu11 Sat 30-Jul-11 14:59:41

I would do exactly the opposite to what the other posters have said! (sorry)

It sounds like this spaniel is already excited to see you hence the barking and bouncing around - very normal spaniel behaviour.grin

If you give biscuits everytime you see the dog they will get more excited to see you and hence bark and jump around more.

The behaviour you want from the dog is calm. So when you go into the house barely acknowledge the dog, if the dog is bouncing about just turn your back until it is calm, the pop on the lead and just lead it for a walk. I expect it is your anxiety that is making the dog a bit uncertain and want to go home but if you walk on with confidence the dog will soon realise that is the right thing to do.

You do not have anything to fear and the calmer you are the calmer the dog will be (it does not matter if you are a bit uptight inside just act calm on the outside and keep breathing and all will be ok). Remember you do not have to get the dog to "like you" or bride it for its friendship it will love you just the way you are and if a bit nervous it will not turn into a wolf and savage you honestly.

Enjoy being a foster mum for a bit!

MrsGravy Sun 31-Jul-11 21:39:14

Thanks everyone, I popped in Saturday morning as the Dog's 'Uncle' (!) had gone out for the night. She seemed happy enough to see me and really enjoyed her walk - in fact it's probably fair to say she walked me rather than the other way round grin

I can see the logic in your post minimu11 and I think I'll try that approach actually.

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