Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Submit Photo: 5
Photo Submissions 19 Times in 13 Posts
Ivy, was it an indoor show or an outdoor show? Indoor shows are the worst because most of them are in fairground buildings that aren't built to muffle sound and actually magnify & multiply them. In addition, some of the lighting can make it dim so when they suddenly see a bunch of dogs, especially big dogs, that's a bit alarming. Add all the smells of intact dogs and the hormones going around, and it can be intimidating.
All of my dogs do well around other dogs, but they start going to dog shows and classes with big dogs at a very early age. They are always around Danes, Rotties, Mastiffs, Shelties and Samoyeds in addition to many smaller breeds. One of mine got spooked with indoor dog shows, but she was attacked twice (months apart), so her fear was reasonable, but she outgrew it with a little time and patience. I kept taking her back even when I wasn't showing her so she would get used to it. No babying and no cuddling. I still carried her because I think it is unwise to walk Havanese around all the big dogs at crowded shows, but I did make her have to endure the duration on the floor ringside or in a chair or in the stroller, but not in my lap.
Yesterday, I took Cookie (Galleta) over to a relatives house to be introduced to a Golden Retriever since she hasn't been around a lot of bigger dogs yet. She is still just a puppy at six months old. She wasn't afraid, but she was curious and unsure. I wish I could have videotaped her reaction. She kept bouncing from the front to the back of the Golden with all four feet, constantly in motion making sure that she could assess the WHOLE dog and get a good look at her before the Golden began to chase her. LOL
Is there any way that you can get Gryff used to bigger groups of dogs - either through bigger classes or even the dog park? Can you start by working on some of his obedience training with just a few dogs around and then go when there are more and more?