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Puppy Afraid of Dogs..Is overload Helping?

May 1st, 2005, 04:13 PM
Hi there,

I have a 11 week old puppy who is afraid of other dogs, and I just took him to a puppy socialization evening. He was quite freaked out, and spent the hour up against the wall. When dogs came to check him out, he would nip at them, whine at them, lunge at them, etc.

I was told that this is normal puppy behavior, and that they are learning to read doggie signals and that he is just letting others know that he is uncomfortable. It was puppy overload...lots of puppies running and having fun...very stimulating. I do trust this place and their training, as they are very "positive" in their techniques, and they have more experience than I, but, being a protective "mom", I want to make sure I am doing the best by this little guy, and not going to give him greater fears.

I just wanted to run it by others, to see if this is still good to continue with? I was going to keep bringing him and hoping that he will come out of his shell, and engage in play. Or is this making things worse?

May 1st, 2005, 04:25 PM
I definately think that you should continue socializing your puppy. He should grow up to be a well-rounded dog if you continue his socialization NOW.

My old dog was never socialized properly and she grew up to be timid of everything...other dogs, people, hot air balloons, thunderstorms, raised voices, sewers and any loud-unexpected get the picture!!! Socializing your puppy now is the best thing you can do for both of your sakes. I'm sure he will adjust!

Try not to be too over-protective/worried about him because your puppy will sense this and start thinking that there is something to be scared about!

What kind of dog is he and where did you get him from!? Perhaps there is something in his young life that explains his behaviour??

Good Luck and keep at it!!


May 1st, 2005, 06:50 PM
He might be at the end of his first fear period which would exagerate his response to everything. I am am concerned that after 1 hour he wasn't any better. Leaving at that point might have just reinforced his worries - he never got to relax and take a breath. How nuts was it at this class? He might do better to be with an older, wiser, benevolent dog first and then introduce a nice puppy and then two, then three. Help him deal with this stimulation overload. But see it through - make sure you see a positive shift before you take him out of the encounter. If he leaves a situation in a frightened state then he just remembers that puppies or new places are scarey, he never gets to feel the release of fear and get to the fun bits.

May 1st, 2005, 07:15 PM
I agree with both posters above. The pup needs to be socialized. I'm wondering if he was removed from Mom too soon?

My pup was quite terrified at her first puppy obedience class. She would run to people and try to hide behind them whenever one of the more "confident" puppies came to play. We were told to ignore her, as she needed to learn how to communicate with this pup and set her own boundaries. At one point, he cornered her under some chairs, and she turned around and gave him "what fer". I'll tell you ... he didn't press the issue during subsequent play sessions!

Remember, though, that your pup can sense what you're feeling too. So if you're completely stressed when watching their interaction, the pup is probably thinking, "Oh my God! Mom's so nervous! That must mean something really bad is going to happen!!" You have to act like it's no biggie, and your pup will pick up on that confidence. ;)

heeler's rock!
May 2nd, 2005, 10:01 AM
When we got our border collie at 8 weeks old, she of course was terrified to be away from her family. We did some socialization with friends dogs who we knew were healthy, and when she got her last set of shots, we went to the dog park. We went early on a saturday to a not as busy park, and just walked. She didn't want to leave me because she was scared, but everytime she came running to me and hiding between my legs, I'd nudge her with my foot and put her right back out there. I'd never acknowledge her fear by saying, "Oh, it's okay." or by petting her, as that just makes them think it's okay to be afraid. I'd make it like it was no big deal to be there, and not talk to her at all. I'd only pet her or praise her when she'd go poop or pee as we were potty training at the time. She too would nip at the other dogs, whine and so on, and it is normal puppy behaviour. It was hard, because you never wanna see your baby scared, but now, she is an assertive adult who can read a dog's body language, asses the situation, and react properly. She is completely well rounded, and VERY well socialized. It was the best thing I could have done for her.

Keep with it, and you'll start seeing changes in your pup's ability to socialize. Your pup is scared right now with all the new things going on, but with time, he'll become more social, and you'll have a well rounded pup!! :)