First time to show fear - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2016, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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First time to show fear

This morning as we were finishing our walk a neighbor's Boxer came running toward us very quickly. For the first time Raffi showed fear of another dog and retreated behind me. I picked him up and talked to both dogs gently. The owner quickly came over and we were able to introduce them. Raffi seemed okay after that and was a little reluctant to go on to our house. I think they will be friends now. My question is was I right to pick him up? Since I didn't know the dog I was a bit worried myself by the way he approached. I don't want to exhibit behavior myself that will cause Raffi rear.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2016, 12:43 PM
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if you are unsure on an approaching dog in a case like this, yes, it's safest to pick them up, just be ready to have the dog jump up on you trying to reach your dog. Quiet talking can help to calm the dog down. Only set your dog down after both dogs have had a chance to calm down. If the other dog is not sitting from the owner 's command I wouldn't try to introduce. If any owner can't get their dog to sit calmly don't interact. You have to make sure your dog is not showing any fear also.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2016, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave, from what you said it sounds like I did everything okay. It took Raffi a bit to calm down but he did enough to be back on the ground. The owner was good with his Boxer. He is usually in the house or backyard but was in the garage today and ran out to see Raffi. Now that we have met and I know his name I am sure it will go better next time.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2016, 06:41 PM
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This probably goes without saying, but make sure you are only picking him up when you feel the situation could become dangerous. If he's frightened of something you know to be okay (a family member's dog he's never met, a kid walking with his bike, etc), try to stay out of it and let him learn it's safe on his own

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2016, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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That makes sense. I think it is just when he is approached so quickly that bothers him. One day a child he knows came running out of the house yelling "I want to see your puppy" and he reacted badly but I didn't pick him up. The next time we saw her I told her to come in gently and he was fine. I don't want to do anything that will cause him to be fearful. I worried this morning that I could be causing the fear because last night I panicked a bit because there was a skunk in the next yard. I was the one afraid. He was growling and wanting to go investigate. Thank goodness my motion light came on and I could see what it was he was so intent on confronting. So glad we made it inside unsprayed!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2016, 04:55 AM
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You bet you did!! I would have done the same thing and have done it. You just never know when some dog is running at you and your dog how that dog is going to behave. I'm a better safe than sorry guy.

If we know the dog it's a different story.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2016, 10:09 AM
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Your number one priority is to keep your small breeed puppy safe. That means picking them up if an unknown dog (especially a large breed dog, but even a small one can cause damage to a puppy) charges at you. At very best, it's terribly impolite behavior, and the owner should have better control. At worst, if a large dog grabs your puppy and shakes it, your puppy can be dead in an instant. So, yes, we want to encourage our pups to be brave and approach the world with a sunny, outgoing attitude, but it's NOT unreasonable for even a "fearless" puppy to be afraid in some situations. That's just a sensible sense of self-preservation, not a sign of being "shy" or over-all fearful.

One thing tah can be very helpful in a situation like this is to ALWAYS have a pocketful of kibble or small, loose treats in your pocket when you are out and about with your puppy. If you see a loose dog charging toward you (often with its owner running far behind saying, "don't worry, he's friendly!" ) pick your pup up and quickly throw the treats right toward the approaching dog's face. More often than not, the sudden appearance of food will distract the dog long enough for the owner to catch up, and/or for you to get yourself and your pup in a safer position.

Another place where I carry puppies pro-actively is if I have to walk by a yard where I know there is a large dog behind an invisible fence. First, invisible fences MAKE the enclosed dog reactive, so they are more likely ro run along their boudary line acting territorial and aggressive. Second, a really ramoed up dog may charge right through an electric fence, and then you've got a real problem. Third, even if YOU know the invisible fence is there, and you TRUST that the dog won't charge through it, there is no way for your puppy ro understand that. All they see is a very threatening dog charging toward them.

I try to avoid dogs behind invisible fences as much as possible, but in suburban settings, it's hard to go for a walk ANYWHERE without encountering some of them. So If I am walking past toward one of these houses, And I see the dog is out there, I pick up the puppy before the dog living there has a chance to alert on them and make a ruckus. The dog behind the fence MAY bark at a human going by carrying a puppy, but they are much less likely to get puffed up and territorial than if the puppy is on the ground and a perceived rival. And you are in a better position to handle your puppy calmly than to wait until they have GOTTEN afraid, and then try to deal with it.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2016, 01:50 PM
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Thanks, Karen. I think there are definitely situations, as you have listed, when picking up a small dog or puppy is the safest thing to do! I think the thing to do is to stay calm yourself. I find that I am better able to handle the whole situation when I don't have to worry that the big dog will grab her or that she will try to run and escalate the situation. It has only happened a couple times, but I didn't hesitate to scoop her up. Everyone has to figure out what works best for them, but I think your advice and examples are sensible.
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