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How to help puppy cope with other dogs

TheKoolEagleTheKoolEagle Registered User regular
So I have a 5 month old cockapoo who barks a lot if he sees another dog, and sometimes certain people. Generally while he is barking like crazy if he sees something he backs up and tries to run away, for example I just had a small incident with my neighbor's bulldog. We had both let our dogs out at the same time so my puppy started barking, my neighbor did not have his bulldog on a leash so he came over which scared the shit out of my puppy, and the barking became yelping and running to the door trying to get in. I let him in to separate him from the other dog where the barking then resumed.

My main concern is I think he is going to escalate issues with other dogs with this type of behavior, he has gotten into a few fights that didn't look like play fighting with 2 other dogs, I separate him when something like that happens, no injuries occur, so maybe they are just playing? Should I be worried about this behavior? I think the obvious answer is he needs more socializing, but every time I have tried something like that occurs. Around most people he doesn't act crazy and actually loves to cuddle with my wife and I, I also might just be paranoid, so H&A, recommend on for my puppy!

obligatory photo of the little devil:
Meet Ralph.
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Posts

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    you need to get him into some obedience classes so he can learn some manners and get socialization with other dogs.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Yeah, definitely get into a puppy socialization course. Probably the most valuable thing you could gain, aside from socialization, is access to a professional who can tell you what sorts of behaviors are normal dog, which should be interrupted, and how to spot all of them.

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  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular

    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Yeah, definitely get into a puppy socialization course. Probably the most valuable thing you could gain, aside from socialization, is access to a professional who can tell you what sorts of behaviors are normal dog, which should be interrupted, and how to spot all of them.

    Yes, immediately. Get that puppy socialized as quickly as you can.

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  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    A lot of dog behavior that might seem to be violent is actually playing so its entirely possible your dog wasn't actually all that upset. My dog is a lean 80 pounds and his favorite thing to do with another dog is to run up to them and then run away to get them to chase. If they don't he'll come back and nose them and jump around until they chase him. With other big dogs a lot of the time there's teeth shown, barking/growling, "boxing", and biting the scruff of the neck and such because that's how dogs play. People not used to dogs can get nervous so sometimes I have to say a sharp word (at which point my dog will usually literally kiss the other dog on the face to show he's just having fun) so I know it can be hard to tell the difference.

    Socialization is key, especially with a smaller dog who might be dwarfed by a bigger dog. A bull dog isn't huge but to a cockapoo it might seem it. A lot/most obedience courses are mixed size (mine was my lab mix, a Pug, a Cairn and 2 Chihuahuas) so they can learn how to interact with different sized dogs. And it will help you feel more confidence in body language tells.

    Location is also important. One of my in-laws dogs hates my dog but if they are on a walk together they can get along fine. Its just at their house that she shows* it. My dog jumps gently on everyone who visits (he thinks he's hugging them in greeting) at home but doesn't do that away from home. Even small dogs can be very territorial in subtle ways.

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  • YoSoyTheWalrusYoSoyTheWalrus Registered User regular
    I put my pup in day care, twice a week for the first six months, then once a week for a year after that, and now occasionally when he gets stir crazy

    It's an overwhelming environment, full of other dogs and people, and you're not there to be a safety net. It's an effective way to get him socialized and independent and also get some exercise. Bonus is that most places have webcams and you can watch him when you're bored.

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  • TheKoolEagleTheKoolEagle Registered User regular
    Thanks for the advice so far, definitely looking at getting him into some training courses to help socialization, although in about a month he has his appointment for neutering so i might try for classes after that,in the mean time more puppy play dates with other dogs I think

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  • ThunderSaidThunderSaid Registered User regular
    Obedience training - Yes
    Socialization - Yes

    Also, take stock of your own reactions next time he's around another dog. Are you really tense for some reason? I've never met a dog who didn't pick up on that kind of thing immediately. Unfortunately, it becomes a feedback loop. Something about your dog's interaction with another dog makes you a little tense, things go badly, next time you're even more tense, things go badly, rinse and repeat. Doing some obedience training will probably help break the cycle, since you'll be more confident in your dog's behavior and therefore less tense. Also, make a conscious effort not to freak out when your dog is around other dogs (easier said than done, I know).

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Don't underestimate little dog syndrome either, it's a real thing, because dogs have a very height based social order. It's why dogs will climb up things to get "above" you. Little dogs tend to display certain tendencies around this, such as wanting to posture to larger dogs.

    Socializing should help.

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Underscoring what ThunderSaid said, the dog can key off your emotional state so if a pattern has developed where you get anxious when you put the dog out cause the neighbors dog is out then your dog will likely respond to that and it will exacerbate his fear response.

    So you need to be chill, but also ready to jump in and pull them off each other. IME for dogs that your dog has regular interactions with (neighbor dogs) they probably just need to be introduced to one another properly and once they've worked out their order they will be fine (this is assuming that the dog does not have bad habits trained into him w/r/to other dogs).

    Though there is a "fence syndrome" I've observed, where perfectly nice dogs turn into barky dickheads when they see dogs or people (even friends) o the other side of the fence/glass. Our neighbor to the back had 3 dogs. 2 were chill, but 1 ("PeeWee") would always start barking up a storm when my dog was out. This would inevitably cause the other 2 dogs to join the barking, and my guy can only take so much without barking back. Even though this scenario played out several times a week, PeeWee would regularly jump the fence into my yard and play with my dog.

  • ThunderSaidThunderSaid Registered User regular
    Djeet's "fence syndrome" reminded me of one other thing. One mistake that a lot of people make when they encounter other dogs on a walk is to hold back on their leash so that the two dogs can get right up next to each other, but not actually get to each other. A lot of people think that this is a safe way for the dogs to "meet." The problem is that this forces the dogs to basically stand face-to-face, which is apparently a very aggressive posture for dogs. (It's kind of the "come at me bro" of the canine world). It can make both dogs nervous. Although it's good to be cautious if you don't know the other dog, it's normally best to let the dogs move around each other as freely as possible once you're reasonably confident that the other dog isn't going to go berserk.

  • cookiekrushcookiekrush Registered User regular
    I agree with many of the replies here. If you have any state of mind that changes quickly when you see another dog, your pup can pick up on it and try to defend you. If this isn't corrected soon, it'll be hard to train him out of it. You'll need to get him into social classes and training classes. I personally think the best training is done with you and just your dog.

    When there are new dogs, they should be both leased and slowly introduced to each other. If your pup sees and feels that you're ok with another dog there, and open to the other dog, your pup will be more relaxed and pick up on your emotional state of ease.

    My dog barks anytime she see someone or something walking on our street. It's her protective nature. I distract her and calm her down because she thinks she's protecting the home. I tell her quiet and give her attention when she stops barking. Postive enforcement is good on the training when you're trying to control their barking.

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    keep in mind some dogs are just jerks and you just need to do your best to keep them from barking.

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  • YoSoyTheWalrusYoSoyTheWalrus Registered User regular
    mts wrote: »
    keep in mind some dogs are just jerks and you just need to do your best to keep them from barking.

    Don't keep this in mind, it is wrong

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  • PixelMonkeyPixelMonkey Registered User regular
    mts wrote: »
    keep in mind some dogs are just jerks and you just need to do your best to keep them from barking.

    Don't keep this in mind, it is wrong
    This is true there is no such thing as a bad dog.

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  • KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
    I've never met a little dog like that that wasn't insanely anxiety ridden/yappy/crazy and I've been going to dog parks for years in many different cities and states. IMO the most dangerous part of any dog park is the small dogs pen, they're just insane and attack everything.

    That said, obedience training will maybe help, but you can't change the fact that he's tiny and knows it and it probably makes him scared all the time.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Well there are tricks to combat the symptoms, but I agree with socialization training. You could pay to have it done but you can do it yourself too.

    Find a dog park that has a segregated section for little dogs. I find that its easier to socialize dogs with other dogs that look like them then expand.

    When introducing your dog to new dogs, take an active roll. Talk to the owner and get permission to pet the dog, then pet their dog, have your dog lay down, or sit if they aren't good at the lay down command, after your dog sees you socialize with the other dog then let them socialize.

    I find that a lot of people just put strange dogs with theirs and say go play. That is like telling your kid to play with a stranger their own age.

  • YoSoyTheWalrusYoSoyTheWalrus Registered User regular
    Karrmer wrote: »
    I've never met a little dog like that that wasn't insanely anxiety ridden/yappy/crazy and I've been going to dog parks for years in many different cities and states. IMO the most dangerous part of any dog park is the small dogs pen, they're just insane and attack everything.

    That said, obedience training will maybe help, but you can't change the fact that he's tiny and knows it and it probably makes him scared all the time.

    That's because tiny dogs tend to attract a certain kind of owner, often someone who puts little to no effort into training and tries to keep them in line physically instead. It's the same reason pits and rotties have bad reputations: they attracted a certain kind of piece of shit owner for a long time. Small dogs that are well trained and socialized can hold their own very easily around well-trained big dogs.

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  • ShazwinShazwin Registered User regular
This discussion has been closed.