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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2019, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Fear of other dogs

Well, I should say, when he’s face to face with them. Oliver is 9 months old and LOVES to run by all the gated backyards in our neighborhood where dogs are. In fact, he’s so smart that he knows where a couple of them live and excitedly runs past. He’s fine going on walks where a dog doesn’t come close. BUT he’s terrified if a dog comes close to him. There’s another Havanese in our neighborhood who just today was walking with her owners. She was sniffing and barking at Oliver, just wanting to say hi, but he darted between my legs. I don’t know if this is my fault because as a puppy I’d scoop him up when large dogs came by. Or more likely, he had a broken paw at 18 weeks and wasn’t able to walk (and thus be around) other dogs during that socialization period. I’m not sure how to handle this.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2019, 11:37 PM
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Mine sounds similar in that he is often both excited and cautious. He does best off leash with other dogs, with the freedom to approach or not. He actually has pretty great instincts as to whether to be cautious or play so I never push either way. Sadly, I did not recognize his stress greeting other dogs on the leash until a trainer suggested it recently. I mentioned that he has such great manners with other dogs at the dog park but pulls like crazy on the leash around other dogs. I thought it was a loose leash walking issue, and the trainer addressed it completely differently.

I also leave him a lot with a pet sitter who has both her own dog and another dog she sits. He does so well with them, it’s almost made me move up my plans for a second puppy, but I am exercising restraint!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2019, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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That’s a good idea to have a pet sitter with a dog. Actually he’s more afraid of them off leash when an owner can’t reign them in. A little schnauzer scared him really bad— off leash— her owner was near but she nipped at him. Since then he has massively freaked out about an off leash TINY yorkie. I do think it’s a distance thing for him. When they’re close, not behind a fence and trying to approach him he’s scared. He likes to chase after other dogs as long as they don’t take the initiative to come up and sniff him.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2019, 04:57 AM
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I would strongly suggest you work with a trainer on this - fear can turn into fear aggression if it's not addressed properly.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2019, 03:04 PM
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I’m pro-trainer because I learned how easy it is to miss something, especially when things are going well overall. It doesn’t have to be a super intense, long term thing, it’s just helpful to get outside observation on something that could potentially become serious. It may just be he needs to feel safe because of that incident but as he has opportunities he will warm up again. Its hard to know because maybe he’s picking up on something from the yorkie, even though she’s tiny. I’m so suspicious of yorkies, lol! If the incident scared him badly enough, though, anything can reinforce his fear, so a behaviorist would be your best bet. The trainer we worked with is honest about referring people to behaviorists when there are signs of bigger issues. To me it was worth it just to hear, “he’s so easy and teachable!” I think it was $40 for half an hour (although there are trainers in my area who actually charge less but for a contracted number of appointments, or more because they charge for a full hour plus travel) and he was walking without pulling by the end. (We’d been working on it and he was loose leash most of the time but there was this other component we couldn’t figure out.) Working with a behaviorist on social issues and anxiety can be a little different, and maybe that’s what you need, but in my area the good ones have long waiting lists. A few sessions with a trainer might make a huge difference and help you determine if you need something more.

I completely relate to the yorkie thing - we have the worst luck with other small dog breeds! Sundance gets all excited to play but the small dogs don’t run around as much as he does. He’ll introduce himself and they’ll all sniff around and then he’ll invite them to chase him, but most of them ignore it. He’s pretty respectful of these signals, just disappointed! When small dogs do play with him, half the time he ends up running away and hiding under my legs. His first choice of playmate is a large breed puppy, and they seem to match his energy level best. There was an 8 month old goldendoodle at the dog park last time and it was like he hit the jackpot! I think a lot of the large breed dogs are more gentle.

Last edited by EvaE1izabeth; 10-01-2019 at 03:14 PM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2019, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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I’ll definitely call a trainer. There are some other little things we’re working on too. Although it’s more jumping on people and nipping at clothing so maybe that’s better in a puppy class. He’s learned “leave it” and trading socks etc for treats which has helped. My big fear is him eating something because he chews on everything.

Oh I forgot! This lady was walking a tiny dog and warned my husband, “he’s very aggressive” Before my husband could move, the dog slipper out of his harness and made a beeline for Oliver, teeth bared etc. My husband literally lifted him up by the leash and got him in his arms before the little terrier (my husband said he was Oliver’s size or smaller) could attack! So yes, I guess he’s had a couple of traumatic experiences.

Oliver is very energetic and loves to play, especially with my husband and kids. He’s definitely a people pleaser. And he’s more of a cuddler/ lap dog than anything with me. He’ll go up to people, flip on his back so they’ll rub his belly. On the downside, he is super sensitive and not what I’d call brave. I don’t leave him alone for more than a couple of hours a day, and he’s ok with that but when I leave even my kids/husband/ nanny say he cries for 10 minutes or so. Probably part is that he’s still a puppy. I don’t think he has separation anxiety in the true sense of it, but he really reminds me of a toddler. AND this attachment is to me. I didn’t know Havanese did that attachment to one person thing but he has. He’s a great boy if not a little high maintenance. My neighbor who also has a Havanese says her dog is similar on that.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2019, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Omg that’s so funny you mentioned large breed dogs. He LOVES our neighbor’s Boxer. He goes up, they sniff noses, etc. Though that’s with the boxer behind a rod iron gate. His owner did say she wouldn’t trust her dog to play w him outside the fence because he goes crazy jumping and could easily injure Oliver with his weight alone. But Oliver loves him. Weird!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2019, 01:47 PM
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yeah I would recommend getting help from a trainer. Don't encourage on leash or fence encounters
https://petmaven.io/whydodogs/behavi...ECdg8zTJahKaw/

https://www.ibpsa.com/deadly-game-fence-aggression/

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/be...ter-dog-fence/

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/be...ugh-the-fence/

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