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Need Advice on Puppy Being Afraid of Dogs

June 15th, 2005, 08:33 PM
I so appreciate everyone's advice that I have gotten.

My puppy, Max is now 4 months old, and I posted awhile ago about him being afraid of dogs. I had taken him to a puppy socializing night and he was cowering, lunging, hiding and afraid all night. Well, since then, I have continued to take him there, and also have been taking him to doggie daycare, where he was kept behind the counter (not with the big dogs because he wasn't fully vaccinated). It has been about a month and a half, and I can happily report that he has lots of fun on puppy socializing and as of last week...he was in with the biggie dogs at doggie daycare and is having fun there too.

My concern is that I have taken him to the dog park a couple times to see how he would do, and it's not great. The first time, there were not many dogs...he was worried, but not too much, so it was non eventful. Today, he again was worried, but willing. Some of the dogs that come in slowly to him or that he can approach (i.e. the dog is calm) and he is fine with that. I usually go up to the dog and talk all friendly and crouch down and pet the other dog to show Max that the dog is OK and he doesn't have to worry. Then Max comes over and is interested. A couple of times, some more excited dogs such came barrelling over and he was verrry afraid. THe other dogs didnt' hurt him, but you would think they were attacking him...he howled and peed and ran for his life (till the end of the leash), and all because of them overwhelming him with their type A personality.

So, I think I'm going to stick to doggie daycare and puppy socializing nights...but I don't get why he is so afraid in these other situations. I am showing him that the dogs are friendly, I don't coddle him if he is afraid, and I myself am not tense, so I'm wondering what to do. Discontinue dog parks temporarily? Try again when he is more mentally mature (his already 55 pounds, so quite big). I really would like to go on walks with him with other dogs around, so any help is great.

June 15th, 2005, 08:43 PM
As much as I personaly like dog parks, I think you should discontinue to go until he's a little more mature and older and has more confidence. If he's doing so well in doggy daycare, I'd keep him doing that and not rush things too much. Sounds like he's doing great where he is and if you rush it, you might end up going backwards instead of forwards. :D

June 15th, 2005, 09:47 PM
I agree, I love dog parks but a lot can go wrong! Since you don't know how each dog is going to act and because you have limited, if no control over other dogs - it could be a recipe for disaster for your pup.
It sounds like he is coming along so well with puppy socialization classes and daycare, don't push him too much because it could cause irreversible damage (regression).
Some dogs and especially puppies can't handle dog parks in the beginning and some never will. It can be quite intimidating and since you never know what kind of dogs are going to be around, I would definately stop taking your pup. He is doing well right now and you just want to keep encouraging it by making him feel safe in a controlled environment. At a dog park, that can be tough to do/ find!

I'm so glad your pup is gaining confidence! It takes time and you have done a great job so far. Just wait until he is more confident/mature and try again - but don't push until your pup is ready for more!

Also, maybe meet up with some doggy friends outside of puppy socialization classes at different places - it might help to let your pup know that it is safe to be around dogs, outside in the "real" world! :)

June 15th, 2005, 10:02 PM
I have an aussie x that would literally cling to me! Was scared of dogs, cats, kids, adults........just about everything.

I started puppy school, let my dog be chased by the other *Friendly pups* and by the 3rd class he was chasing them.

As for the dog park, I brought mine their, he was scared as it can be overwhelming, so I stood on the outside of the fence with him so that he could still feel secure with me and yet still investigate. This took about 3 weeks with going to the park every other day .........and then bang, he shocked me as he began whining to go play, I brought him in let him play for about 10 mins made sure we ended on a good note, and then returned the next day and wow! New Dog! Loves other dogs now, still timid of strangers but time will only help build his confidence. I take him to the kid park and sit on the bench with him just so he can get used to the noises and seeing that there are people out there who don't even notice him so he has no reason to be scared.

I never ever console him if: a loud noise scares him, a person walks by and he wants to cross over I don't allow him. Time and patience will be a great factor for your pooch, one day at a time and take it slowly.

June 16th, 2005, 05:25 AM
It's probably a familiarity issue,
because he goes to doggy day-care frequently, he's used to the atmosphere and feels more comfortable there.
As well, you're probably more comfortable as well, and maybe that has an effect?

When those dogs came running up at the dog park, you were probably pretty nervous about how your pup would react, and pup probably sensed that too...
Funny how dogs can tell us how we're feeling when we're not even aware of it...

As well, it's not as familiar of an environment and there are different doggies in attendance...

I say he'll get over this fear, but it will take time and patience.
Maybe go to the Doggie park on days or times when there are fewer dogs? Maybe get him used to the location before bringing him into the actual park,
and of course
continue to be the reassuring loving owner i'm sure you are ;)

June 16th, 2005, 12:08 PM
There was a mini poodle in Diego's puppy class who was afraid of other dogs. Bo was a very timid dog in the beginning, hiding below mommy's chair during group play and whimpering when another dog approached. However by the end of the puppy school, he was much more at ease with his classmates, actually initiated contact with other dogs, which resulted in a big reward from mommy. It was great to see his progress!

Puppy schools are great for socialization, I would continue to do that with your dog. Keep up the good job Max! :thumbs up