Species: Dog Breed: cocker spaniel Age: 6-12 months
i have a 7 month old puppy and every time she comes into cintact with another dog she seems to get terrified, we normally keep her on the lead but when she is she tries to get out of her collar and get away from the other dog.
but a few days ago she came into contact with another dog whilst she was off the lead and she ran out of the park, this problem is getting worse with he, she is like it when she meets new people and she is the at the worst when she see's little children.
i would love it if you could help me and my family
thank you for taking the time to read this email
Dr. Marie replied:
I'm sorry to hear that you are having problems with Maisy being afraid of other dogs and people.
Dogs learn most of their social skills before the age of 12 weeks. So, if Maisy was not well socialized then this can be why she is nervous. However, she should still be able to be trained.
My first rule when I have a dog who is showing fear like this is to tell you to use no negative punishment at all. Only use positive reinforcement. Punishing her will simply make her more afraid.
She needs to have some confidence building exercises. One of the best ways to do this is to enroll in an obedience class. These classes are not just about teaching her how to sit and stay, but also they will help to teach her social skills.
The other thing you can do is to find a friend with a dog who is willing to help you. Then, give Maisy fun experiences with that dog. So, for example, go to the park and let Maisy sit next to you on leash. Then, start playing with the other dog, throwing a ball and just doing fun things. If Maisy shows any interest at all in the dog or the ball or in simply joining in then give her treats and lots of praise. Never punish her or speak harshly to her in this time period.
There are a number of other things that can be done. Hooking up with a personal trainer is a great idea. Or, setting up a behavioral consult with your vet may help as well.
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Dr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.
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