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This is sort of a rant, although I do seek some advice. I have been taking Flora, my 3 month old puppy, to various nature preserves for some quiet walks. For the most part they are VERY empty, so I don't have to deal with running into people or other people's dogs. However, three times today I have had strange dogs lunging at Flora and scaring the crap out of her.

She is a naturally shy dog, and she is definitely the most reserved in her puppy class - all the other dogs will play, the closest she'll get is sniffing at another puppy before turning around and trying to play with the humans in the classroom. That said, I'm aware that her reaction to other dogs is probably not totally "typical", but whatever - she's just a sensitive puppy!

This morning a woman randomly thought she'd allow her huge Malamute dogs try and "meet" Flora. Before I knew it, one dog was approaching Flora rather quickly, and Flora FREAKED out! She squealed like I had slit her throat and tried her damndest to get away from that dog. I more or less laughed it off and just told the woman, "Another time, maybe!" and walked off with Flora. But then it happened again this afternoon! I saw a couple of people in the parking lot with their dogs, so I gave them a pretty wide berth as I headed for my car. All of the sudden I hear, "Sandy, no!" and see this full grown chocolate lab lumbering towards me and Flora. She shrieked like a banshee and tried to run away. Then the same group of people were like, "Oh, let her meet our ancient golden retriever, he loves puppies!" Before I said anything this huge golden pretty much lunged at Flora and she freaked out again. I was finally like, "Okay, we're going!" and left, but geez.

I know she's capable of meeting other dogs - she actually bounced back really well after the chocolate lab incident and got close enough to sniff the lab and wag her tail. She always approaches dogs sort of oddly - she'll pretty much crawl on her belly and lick their feet and whine profusely (I'm assuming she is an extremely submissive dog) - but at least she approaches them! She's met some older dogs in my neighborhood and done just fine, and doesn't seem the least bit perturbed by my next door neighbor's wildly energetic Viszla.

So aside from avoiding public places all together, how should I handle these situations? Should I completely avoid other dogs? It's not like I go out of my way to be like, "Oh, come let your dog meet my puppy!" but you know, it happens. I guess I figure from now on I will probably tell the other dog's owner that they MUST control their dog and allow Flora to approach; that way, if she is scared, she can back off.

Anyways, I just wanted to get that off my chest. It pissed me off that this guy let his huge lab come after Flora, who is about 1/8th the dog's size. But she seems to have survived the ordeal - she's currently right next to me chewing contentedly on a bone. :)
 

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From one very submissive dog owner to another, I don't have tons to contribute, but only "thoughts" of what MIGHT help.

Sometimes I think that dogs feel their owner's hidden feelings. Were you a little worried about the upcoming encounters? Also, maybe next time something like this happens it might help her come out of her shell to make happy noises for the sake of Flora's psyche. Also if she felt you being just the slightest reticent about the encounter such as her leash being held a little snugger, it might have "told her" that maybe this encounter isn't so pleasant.

I think that yes, you're right with maybe talking to the owner of other dogs as well. Maybe tell them that Flora is a little afraid of other dogs and maybe if they could introduce their dog gently to get her out of her fear. I know that I would have no problem playing by another owner's rules to try to help another dog.
 

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I am glad that you are getting her out and socializing her. That is really important!

I have to say that occasionally Danny will yank me off my feet to meet a puppy, since he has never met a puppy that he hasn't adored. I do my best to keep it from happening, but sometimes it catches me off guard. Maybe that's what happened with the chocolate lab? Danny is a big boy and could be intimidating to most people with a small puppy, I am sure.
 

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Bailey's not too great with other dogs, either. She was one of the bigger dogs in puppy class, and she was put with some of the smaller ones because she would just sit next to Mom with the bigger dogs. Bailey would definitely rather play with humans than other dogs, and Molly will have nothing to do with strangers or strange dogs. Mom signed Bailey up for intermediate class again, which has a social time after the class is over. Hopefully we'll be able to get Bailey to warm up and make some friends.

What we used to do to try to socialize our puppies was walk them around Petco and Petsmart for an hour or so. At least there it's a mostly controlled environment.

:peepwall:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I haven't tried walking her around a pet store. That's probably a good idea!

As for projecting my emotions on Flora, I try to be really upbeat about it. Usually I'll reach out and pet the other dog to show her that I'm totally comfortable touching the dog, but she's still somewhat hesitant about it. She IS curious though - I remember her staring through the fence at my neighbor's yippy dog for about 5 minutes before she finally stepped forward and bumped noses with the dog.

I will admit though, when the lab went after Flora I did instinctively try to push the lab away and protect Flora at the same time. She probably read my anxiety pretty clearly in that situation.

I don't need a dog that's going to be best friends with other dogs... I just want to make sure Flora will be comfortable around other dogs, and I certainly don't want to make the mistake of pushing her too hard and letting all these negative situations occur. :p

And yes, Danny sounds like the last golden retriever we met. He wasn't being mean, I think he was just too excited for Flora's tastes. :) I wasn't really angry at them, they didn't know any better; I never told them Flora was a bit timid.
 

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Try not to panic - step in front of her to body block the rushing dog - and most importantly, DO NOT tighten up the grip on your leash!

See if you can find some really mellow, non-dog-obsessed dogs to hang with her. Generally older dogs who like puppies work better than adolescent dogs who are "full speed ahead" in all that they do.
 

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When i first got Shelley at 14 weeks old she was the same exept she would pee out of fright of the sight of another dog. All i did was started playing with the other dog having a good old time, It took 3 times but she finally joined in and started playing with strange dogs. What also helped with me is Einstein Shelley used to look up to Einstein for everything but now she is more confident she does her own thing. The only dogs Shelley hates are entire males cause every entire male we come accross trys to hymp her all the time.

Don't tense up or show fear have the lead loose and talk in a happy excited way. It may even be a good idea to talk baby to her and the other dog. Also you could start playing with the other dog make out your having fun. Flora may just think shes missing out on something and join in. Whenand if she joins in and looks like shes having a good time you back off playing a bit till the dogs are the only ones playing. You need to gain Flora's confidence up so she isn't scared of things. Shelley is very submissive everytime we go to pat her she lifts her back leg up. She does this with other dogs at the begining but then hops up and starts playing.
 

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This is a very important time and issue for Flora. While you have to protect her from terrifiying experiences with other dogs, it's essential not to overprotect her as well. The advice to meet a whole lot of friendly dogs is key. This is a time when her social skills form, and you want her to be flexible with nice group and meeting skills. That puppy noise is heart-wrenching, but if the fact is she is fine, it's a signal to you to work very hard on getting her exposed to good situations with other dogs. You will love having a dog who diffuses other dogs, who greets other dogs properly, and observes good canine manners as an adult bc it's just so easy. To get there though, is a lot of planning. Maybe you have a friend or two with a nice gentle adult dog who can visit or walk with you?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't really think I panic or anything when this happens, in fact I usually try to start petting the other dog and playing with it so Flora can see it's okay - that's how I got her to bump noses with the neighbor dog. After I petted the little guy enough she gained enough courage to trot forward to meet him.

She is in a puppy class with 5 other puppies, but she is still the only dog that won't really play with the other dogs. Of course, they're all about twice her size (she's really small for her age) so she gets nervous.

I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, I guess. I took her to Petco today in hopes of running into another dog, but all we did was run into people. She was a little nervous of a woman's shopping cart, but once the woman started talking to her Flora was totally fine with it.

I also enrolled Flora in another puppy class starting in a month, so she'll have another opportunity to meet dogs in a more controlled environment.

Thanks for the advice!
 

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Also what you could try might sound a bit mean but when at puppy class get all humans to ignore her, no patting or talking to her simply ignore her. She may just get bored and go off and play with the other dogs. Einstein my boy looks at me for my say so if i say yes go play he does if i say ignore he ignores. Einstein also loves people more then dogs but if a person won't play with him he will turn and play with the dog.
 

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Well, in puppy class people generally don't associate with the other puppies unless told to. There are 3 kids in the class that for some reason just gravitate to Flora, so I guess they do distract her from the other puppies. However, 2 of the puppies in the class are actually very dominant dogs that the trainer is working with at home because of their aggression issues. SO... that doesn't help with Flora's submissiveness around other dogs. :p Last week I caught one pinning Flora down by her throat while everyone else was busy with another pair of dogs that were playing. He wasn't being horribly aggressive or anything, just dominating her.
 

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Well thats what has probably made Flora submissive around other dogs. Shes scared that she is going to be hurt by them. Does that bully and pin down other dogs should not be there in my view as there the sort of dogs that make the other dog dog aggerssive. What i think may be best is find someone who has a gentle well behaved puppy or adult and have play dates with them. When you do have play dates with other friendly dogs just remeber all humans are to ignore Flora. She may get bored and go play. Keep her away from dogs that are bullys as this will destroy your dog in the long run. Like i said you need to build Floras confidence being around other dogs, if she loves humans that much and just ignores the other dog cause she wants humans, Humans ignore her. But she really needs to be around friendly dogs that are well behaved and gentle.
 

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I wish you were closer, Danny would win her over, I promise! Puppies love him as much as he loves them. Danny is just 2 1/2 (I said it wrong to Merlin's Mom earlier).

These guys did just like Flora and cried and screamed when my dogs first approached them in the backyard:

This girl loved him from first sight:

One of my very favorites:

This guy acted totally feral and tried to attack Danny in the first 24 hours. Then he decided that Danny was pretty cool.

And Danny with the tiniest fosters we have had.
 

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I took Bogart to many places when he was a puppy. We also went to puppy class. Bogart was a very submissive pup also so in the beginning they put him into a play group with small breed pups like Maltese and such. Bogart loved to play belly up so he had little dogs jump all over him. Later on when he was more confident he moved up to the bigger pups but still Bogart loves to play belly up. Also our trainer brought in her adult dog and she would reprment bully pups for playing rough with other pups and also the pups learned how to interact nicly with adult dogs.
As a pup I also took Bogart on leash to a park Down Town with Bike riders, Joggers and dogs on leash. So it was a controlled meeting of other dogs. Also Bogart again spent ALOT of time on his Back showing his Belly. He is very unconfrontational when 2 dogs play rough or starting to growl at each other Bogart comes to me for protection. He would never particapate in a fight. He is a total lover.
Just keep on taking her places and socialise her with many things. Later on Life will be easier the more life experiences she has early on.
All the best,
 

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Gosh, Danny seems like such a sweetheart! Flora does need to be around much gentler, less aggressive dogs at this point, so he would have been perfect. :)

Flora sounds JUST like Bogart. Yesterday night at puppy class Flora, for the first time, interacted with one of the pups. Rather than just run away, she flopped right over onto her back and exposed her belly to this guy. Well, since he was a very energetic, somewhat dominant dog, he immediately got right over her and started dominating her. It wasn't mean or anything, he was just being a dog. Flora gave that up pretty quickly and walked away, but it was something different!

Flora is actually totally in love with my trainer's giant husky. This dog is at least 85 lbs but Flora is constantly trying to get at the dog, and when she does she is sniffing the dog like mad, pouncing on her, etc. Unfortunately, the dog is old (8 or 9) and doesn't really like puppies all that much. She'll put up with Flora's affections for about a minute before giving her a warning growl - which Flora ignores completely. :p

Thanks for letting me read about Bogart. In terms of his behavior around other dogs he sounds just like my Flora. And as I said before - I don't need a dog that's going to be best friends with every dog on the planet. I just want to make sure she's comfortable around other dogs and won't feel threatened when we approach them on walks. We'll get there! :)
 

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Can I just add that it's extraordinarily bad manners for people not to have control of their dogs or to send their dogs to meet a strange puppy without asking the owner? Those dogs should never have been allowed to "greet" Flora in that fashion, and boo to the owners for setting them loose like that.

Comet is enthusiastic and friendly with all dogs, but I still find it rude when people don't call out and say "mine's friendly, is yours? do you mind if I let him go to play with yours?" Comet and I wait patiently on the side of the trail (he's off-leash but under full verbal control) and he knows that he needs to hear "ok, go play," or we're going to sit until the other dog passes.

Comet's well-socialized and has never shown an iota of aggression, so I'm not worried about him starting something, but he'd be absolutely useless in a real fight, so I worry that some dumb person is going to let their unsocialized, untrained dog hurt him.

I think everyone who suggested having Flora meet older, calm, friendly dogs is spot on. More puppy socials will help too. It just sounds like she's a little anxious, so exposing her to safe situations and ignoring her anxiety is the best approach. Don't comfort her or run to her when she freaks out, by the way. Just act like everything's fine and she doesn't need any emotional support.
 

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People DO need to be more respectful for sure!!! I will NOT argue that. However, your pup's behavior is worrisome and I would be concerned if I had a dog that was afraid of other dogs like that. I'd definitely take her to pet shops, classes, downtown areas, and anywhere else I could to socialize her. The idea of finding a nice, calm, disinterested older dog for her to meet is good, too!
 

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People DO need to be more respectful for sure!!! I will NOT argue that. However, your pup's behavior is worrisome and I would be concerned if I had a dog that was afraid of other dogs like that. I'd definitely take her to pet shops, classes, downtown areas, and anywhere else I could to socialize her. The idea of finding a nice, calm, disinterested older dog for her to meet is good, too!
It doesn't particularly worry me - Carmella was even more terrified of other puppies when she was a baby. She shivered and hid behind all the chairs at puppy class and totally refused to even look at the other pups. She grew up fine and would play a lot with our neighbor's dogs. She always preferred people to dogs, but I wouldn't say her shyness as a puppy was really something we worried about or needed to worry about.

Flora is just a very submissive, timid pup. I think with time and the proper socialization she'll be fine.

Sorry, I just had to defend her. I hate it when people say, "Oh, that's not normal," or, "Oh, that behavior would worry me!" because I think it's really hard to judge a puppy without really knowing it. In Flora's case she is very sensitive, and very submissive, and I just need to work with it. It doesn't mean she's "strange" and will never be able to be around other dogs... it just means I have to be extra careful with socializing her and making sure she gets comfortable with other pups and dogs. Flora used to be very scared of the car - now she falls asleep almost immediately in it. She used to be terrified of her crate - now she falls asleep in it. She's still a little nervous on walks, but she is LIGHTYEARS better than she was at first. And all I did was just continuously expose her to those situations in pleasant ways so she would get used to them. That's all it took. I would much rather have Flora's problem then have a dog that is constantly trying to dominate the other dog or pulling at the leash every time it spots another canine.

And Tippy, that is basically what I was saying and ranting about - the chocolate lab's owner wasn't even holding the dog's leash when it came after Flora! I know that sometimes I'd take Carmella off her leash and let her wander around, but WHENEVER I saw another human being or another dog, I would immediately put it back on her, even though I was 99% sure she wouldn't even care about the other dog. :p
 
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