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Hi,

Cara is 3-1/2 and for at least the last 18 months we've recognized a problem she has with other dogs. I can date it fairly precisely because we made a major family move at that time. I remember that she didn't have a problem (other than being labelled the class clown) when we took her to puppy training at about seven months. At the time we lived in an area where she rarely met other dogs.

Now things have changed. Lots of folks walk dogs here and Cara avoids most of those animals when she can; this is fear, not aloofness. There are a few animals she likes, but just a few and we had an incident today when she was frightened out of her wits and ran all the way home. I won't take up space with the details, except to say that cars were not an issue and the dogs in question appeared to be friendly animals, though unknown to her. Their owner felt terrible.

She doesn't bark at all without our prompting her, and not always then. She is very friendly to adults and children, quite active, smart. She is the second golden we've had so we are not novices here. We've had a few private sessions with a trainer who advocates distracting Cara with treats when she is fearful, to sort of break the behavior.

Any other thoughts? Thanks.
 

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Have you considered taking her to a doggy day care for the day to see how she interacts with them? That can help her socialize. Do you have a dog park or friends with dogs that you can take her to, to help her feel more comfortable with dogs?
 

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chew chew chew
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What about taking some sort of group class, so she can be around other dogs but not 'have' to interact with them? That way she can see there's nothing to fear. Or the doggie daycare. Remember YOU need to relax when other dogs approach, don't transfer your feelings about her reactions. Ideally what you can do is ignore her and go to meet the new dogs first (assuming they are friendly) so she can see that you think the other dogs are very cool.

Good luck and let us know how things go!

Lana
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for your comments. There isn't a doggy daycare in the area that I know of and I doubt whether she would be admitted, and a dog park -- no way! She would actively try to get away. There is a semi-dog park nearby (a portion of our private community park where the dogs are not supposed to be off leash but are) and I have let her run with her friends there, and she's okay but if an unknown dog came in I would be concerned about her reaction. This is big time fright and the area is not gated in.

On the plus side, she is sweet and would never run away from me -- unless being chased, which is what concerns me.
 

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I was going to say, a dog park is not a good idea. Flora is exactly how Cara is - in fact, just now I took her on a walk and she almost broke one of my fingers because she was pulling so hard to get away from a shih tzu who was approaching her too quickly. Flora HATES being chased by other dogs, and freaks out whenever another dog makes too sudden a movement around her. I used to take her to dog parks, but I think that actually made things worse. :(

That said, I wish I could offer you advice. Flora has been to a daycare many, many times, but her attitude towards other dogs has not changed. I have more or less accepted the idea that Flora will always be afraid of other dogs. Some dogs, such as elderly dogs that don't pay any attention to her, she is totally fine with, and maybe that is Cara's case as well.

It's frustrating, because I know I would LOVE to see Flora play with another dog and I'm sure you would love to see Cara feel comfortable around strange dogs, but... I don't know if it'll happen with Flora. She's been scared of other dogs since she was 9 weeks old. Cara sounds different in that you make it sound like she's not scared of every single dog she meets, so maybe this is something you can work on. I know Flora and I once had success with a very young cockapoo puppy who was really really polite and super sweet. Flora was still scared of her, despite the puppy weighing about 1/10th of what Flora weighed, and she did growl several times at the pup, but over the course of 36 hours Flora did eventually get comfortable enough with the pup to try and initiate play! Is there a dog that you know of that is calm, polite, and not too rough that you could introduce Cara to? That might help.
 

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Lucy has always been a bit timid with other dogs. She loved going to camp from time to time, but is just more people-centered. Then we got Dory, and Lucy is at least Dory-centered now too.

When we picked the girls up from their last stay at camp last week, the lady there told us how outgoing Dory is and how playful she is. She mentioned that Lucy usually prefers people to love on her. That's just our girl.

She's just used to people more than dogs and doesn't like to be humped, LOL. Socialization has helped. Getting Dory has helped the most.
 

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I would go SLOWLY!!!!! I don't like the group ideas at all (doggie day care , class, dogpark) This is a dog who is terrified by meeting a dog on a walk!

Start slowly by having a friend who has a very laid back older dog over for a visit. Allow them to just see each other at first, then allow them to smell if they want. Do not force anything. Reward her with treats and lots of praise at every little baby step she makes!!!!!

This may take a long time but any kind of forceful group meeting could really ruin her and you wouldn't be able to undo it.

I am sending positive thoughts for your baby. I have an anxious boy so can relate.
 
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