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What to do when my anxious dog gets chased?

(6 Posts)
ladydepp Mon 16-Nov-15 11:22:35

Help please from any dog experts!

My cocker spaniel is quite nervous of other dogs. She had a bad experience when she was a pup and tries to steer very clear of anything Lab sized or bigger.

Unfortunately if she is in a relatively confined space and sees a bigger dog she has a tendency to start barking. Most dogs just ignore her but every few weeks a dog seems to take offence and starts chasing her.

This happened today and this dog would just not stop chasing her, my dog was running around in circles and squealing in fear. Another dog joined in (I think they were together with the same couple). The owners could not call their dogs back and my dog was almost chased onto the road.

When I finally got hold of my dog she was shaking and I could see the owner finally grabbing their dog and telling it off (and possibly hitting it but I couldn't see very well and was trying to walk away as quickly as possible!)

My dog's recall is normally really good but when she is frightened she will not come back to me. I really don't know what to do, I have a feeling if she hadn't barked at the dog it wouldn't have chased her but even so surely the owner should be able to control their dog better if it is off lead? Or is that just wishful thinking?

CaptainKit Mon 16-Nov-15 12:02:25

surely the owner should be able to control their dog better if it is off lead - unfortunately this works both ways; the other owners should have been able to recall their dogs, but so should you.

Have you seen a trainer/behaviourist about how to deal with your dog's specific anxiety and reactions to other dogs? Without knowing precisely what she's reacting to it's hard to give any good advice.

It sounds to me like you should walk her on lead and away from other dogs for the time being, allowing her off lead only when you can see there are no other dogs around and can be certain she will return to you if called. This way you're not allowing her (or yourself) to be put back into the stressful situation you were in this morning, and so are not at risk of exacerbating her fears. This minimises the danger that she might run away/run into something that might harm her/get so frightened she bites another dog or a person trying to intervene.

Noofly Mon 16-Nov-15 12:51:03

Yes, other owners should be able to control their dogs better. I'm the owner of one of those dogs who is desperate to play with every single dog we come across. I recall him to me every single time a dog comes within sight and then make the decision as to whether or not to put him on lead or let him meet the dog. I know you shouldn't have to, but you could possibly do the same which would at least remove the worry of her running off if chased and you can let her off again if the other dog is calm/has no interest.

ladydepp Mon 16-Nov-15 13:15:29

I haven't seen a behaviourist but I might look into it. I will ask around.

Unfortunately I live in an area where every park is full of dogs, so I can't even go a couple of minutes in the park without seeing another dog.

She just goes completely deaf when she's being chased, I honestly don't think she can hear me because she is so frightened.

Thinking about it, she is better when I walk with a friend who has a dog so I might keep her on lead unless I'm with someone else. She's also good when DH and I are both with her. Safety in numbers I guess!

It is so frustrating when she can go weeks without being so scared and then this happens with no warning.

mrslaughan Mon 16-Nov-15 19:11:55

I am not a behaviourist - but I would think if she is better with other dogs, I would walk her as much as possible with other dogs and keep her on lead otherwise.
The thing is , I think the more experience's she has where she is chased the worse her fear will become - you want her to meet as many dogs as possible in a positive way.
The more positive experiences she has meeting other dogs - the less fear she will have. You have far more control of her interactions with other dogs if she is on lead, and therefore more chance of making them positive.

KinkyAfro Mon 23-Nov-15 12:47:23

The thing is though you know she's anxious and doesn't do well around bigger dogs so it's your responsibility to control that. I would keep her on lead and socialise her with some bigger dogs for a while before you let her off lead

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