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Old 07-31-2014, 02:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Very timid puppy

Kingston is 12 weeks old and finally vaccinated to a level that we are comfortable with him meeting dogs other than those of our family and one close friend. He loves people and has no fear of the vacuum, thunder, power tools, etc. However, he is extremely timid when a dog is near. His first introduction was with a family dog that is very old and basically ignored him, but his second was with a 9mo spaniel mix that was full of energy. He was very cautious but ended up doing the play/retreat/play combo for almost an hour. Seemed totally appropriate to me.

However, every interaction with a dog since has been him with his tail between his legs trying to get under me, followed by barking that's difficult to decipher whether he wants to play or is telling them to stay away. One of them was an 8 week old mastiff that was as calm as any animal can be - the mastiff sniffed him and licked his collar very calmly and Kingston seemed terrified. The next was a German shepherd pup that very calmly tried to play with him and Kingston wanted nothing to do with him (hackles raised for the entire time).

I previously had a boxer mix that we got at an older age with huge anxiety and dog reactivity issues. We worked with behaviorists and never really made much progress with her and I REALLY don't want to end up in a similar situation. The unfortunate reality is boxers look strong and mean to unknowing people and when they bark and lunge it only reinforces those fears.

I have never raised a puppy from this young, is this a normal progression of socialization and I'm just overreacting or is this the early signs of some behavioral issues? We are enrolled in a puppy training class but it doesn't start for two weeks - my plan now is to slowly introduce new dogs in an open and calm environment and go back and visit the spaniel that he has already met.

Any advice or experience with similar situations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Take him to puppy classes where it's a controlled environment. Expose him to as many dogs as possible. He just needs to build up his confidence. Don't baby him or feed into his reaction. Act like there is nothing wrong and he will eventually follow your lead.
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the response. That's exactly what we've done when he was spooked by everything else (storms, power tools, etc.) and it has worked so far. It just seems different with dogs - like a high energy fear vs. just being surprised and unsure.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Know safe dogs are one thing, random encounters with "I thought my dog was friendly folks??" is quite another!

Every time you do that, you are putting your dogs trust in your ability to keep him safe at risk! It's a bond of trust and right now you have that!

The puppy is shy he's not sure about other dogs? That was never a concern for my guys they were taught to ignore other dogs. No Dog Parks, no random encounters with "I thought my dogs were friendly folks" who may or may not know there dogs??

I took "zero" risk with my dogs welfare and random dogs owned by JQP!

Your dog can be found here:
Three Dogs Who Shouldn’t Be at the Dog Park or Daycare | Robin Bennett

And this Dog Parks:
Leerburg | Dog Parks: Why They Are A Bad Idea

Right now your dog is right on the cusp. What you do will determine how he turns out. If he is shy, he is unsure about other dogs?? But has no real reason to be afraid?

If he has a bad encounter, now he has a reason and where was MOM??? Unless your right there to get a dog/puppy off of him? He can easily conclude "no one" can keep me safe!

So now you have a "fearful" now he has a "reason" to be afraid! Yep, he says "I was right," there is something to be afraid of! As soon as he gets tired of being fearful...he becomes a fear biter and dog reactive!

So the full chain and no need for it to happen! Just ignore other dogs, step aside cross the street, no more "intros!" Don't give him a "reason" to be afraid!
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Last edited by chip18; 07-31-2014 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah for now we're going to stick with dogs he knows and seems at least relatively comfortable with. I don't care for dog parks but I want to be able to bring him to events with dogs and not have to worry too much about how he will adapt.
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdevine42 View Post
Yeah for now we're going to stick with dogs he knows and seems at least relatively comfortable with. I don't care for dog parks but I want to be able to bring him to events with dogs and not have to worry too much about how he will adapt.
Dogs that are brought up to ignore other dogs can do just that!

Gunther my Dominate Male Bull Mastiff/APBT/Lab mix and Rocky GSD Dominate Aggressive Male did just that, both had (little dogs come on my lawn, working on the car did not see them!) get in my dogs face and bark bark bark!

My guys just held there ground and stared at the little miscreants!!! I got that dog out of there face!!! Had the "dog" actually attacked that would have been different but they knew a none threat when they saw one!
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh...loose leash training:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnwfZ7xv-E0

Dog has to able to walk well on a loose leash or you will never solve dog reactivity problems!

And "Who Pets my Puppy or Dog" :
Leerburg | Who Pets Your Puppy or Dog

Gunther I worked with Dog problem head on. My GSD I did not. I had to do 'Who Pets" thing because he had a serious people problems!

So my concern was people but with dogs I did the same thing move on and ignore! When Rocky was safe with people I found he also had no aggression issue issues either! We had ignored them in the process so it was two for one training!

It's easy to say "teach them to ignore other dogs" the above is how you get there!
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you for the informative references. We've got lots of work to do
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I wouldn't worry about sticking to dogs that your pup knows, but I would definitely stick to dogs that YOU know. Basically you want to do everything in your power to ensure that your pup has only good experiences with other dogs. I would also very strongly encourage you to enroll him in a puppy kindergarten class. That way he will be exposed to other pups in a controlled environment with a trainer there to help you when needed.

This isn't abnormal, its just something you need to work through. I it makes you feel any better, a good friend of mine has an eight month old chocolate lab puppy. When I first met the pup she was right around eight weeks old and although she got along great with her "big sister" (a nearly three year old lab), she would yelp and run to hide whenever any other dogs came near her. We had several play dates with them and we allowed her to run between out legs to hide, kept an eye on her at all times so that we could interfere if she got too scared and eventually she came out if her shell and was rolling around in the grass w my boxer like they had been friends forever. And now? Now she yelps with excitement when she sees other dogs...or when they walk by without saying hello to her lol. Not ideal from a behavior standpoint, but the point is that she grew out of that phase and is now extremely dog friendly. S definitely know that its something you need to work on, but try not to worry about it too much.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you NJRae, that is very encouraging. He is enrolled in puppy kindergarten and will start next week. He revisited a puppy we know and did very well, didn't seem too scared. He also met an older greyhound for the first time and was completely ignored by him, which was probably a good thing. Kingston responded with the patented boxer play-bow with the growl/bark to get him to play which was great to see. He's definitely still very cautious but hopefully puppy kindergarten will help him open up.
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