|Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 12:38pm PST |
|Well... Now I've seen it. The problems that can arise, that is... And I'm worried about them escalating after she matures, so I want to nip this in the bud QUICK.
She's GREAT with dogs she knows or after getting familiar with another dog. She's excellent in parks with other dogs because she's so focused on me or my fiance that she doesn't pay any attention to the other dogs.
However... Here's the things that I think lead up to this...
- Being an unwanted farm dog litter, the owners were just giving the pups away and wanted them gone. I convinced them to keep her for longer, but ALL the other pups were gone within four-five-six weeks minimum. She was the ONLY puppy there when we went to pick her up. I was sorely disappointed with this, but we took her all the same as was planned. I was aware this could cause later issues.
- We didn't get her out to socialize as much as I would have preferred for her as a puppy. We only knew so many dogs that were good with puppies, and most of them, she has continued socializing with her entire life. She hasn't had an influx of strange dogs to meet on a regular basis and that hasn't helped the situation. We went to pet stores, etc, but typically avoided dog parks cause we don't like the unpredictability of other dogs.
So... While her basic obedience and off leash skills are GREAT.... She's turning out to not handle meeting strange dogs all that well.
I'll list the incidents with her:
1. She re-met that neighbors Irish Setter pup after they moved back(they had moved away when Ria was four months old, and moved back when she was nine months old). This other puppy is an incredibly appeasing, deferring dog, who socializes extremely well with other dogs and is typically on her back submissive in her interactions. Upon meeting her the first time, the other dog did her usual belly-display. Charlie sniffed and moved on, he recognized her and he socializes pretty well. Ria, sniffed, fur started to stand up, then suddenly stood over her and began snarling. She was removed from the situation immediately. We tried again on several occasions, on leash afterwards, she only got snarky with her one more time and now plays wonderfully with her.
2. She was off leash at a park(not a dog park, but a designated off leash area all the same), and she snapped at a puppy who came over to say hello. Said puppy was about 12 weeks old and had just wanted to meet her. Ria backed off instantly though and the puppy left her alone after that.
3. A neighboring townhouse renter moves in with a Golden Retriever - senior dog who still romps around like a puppy. Very sweet old boy. She runs up to him, gets down on her belly, wiggles all over, sniffs and licks at his face, then does zoomies, all excited to have made a new friend and plays really well with him.
4. She gets snappy with a friends dog, but I don't blame her on this one and actually don't let her socialize with this friends dog anymore because I don't want the behavior to continue or be associated with other dogs. Said friends dog is intact, is only eight months old Border Collie mix and he likes to jump on the backs of other dogs and hump them. Charlie has told him off before too. Ria tells this dog off, but never takes it further like she did with the Setter, so I never really thought anything of it.
5. The other day, she met another puppy - eight weeks old. Charlie isn't a huge puppy-fan, but he even wanted to play with this little puppy who was just happy to sniff, meet and move on. Ria was fine sniffing the puppy and checking him out for about ten minutes while he wandered around. I thought she was going to be fine, because she was doing really well. The puppy wanted to play and tried to initiate play with Ria. Suddenly, she jumps on him, fur stands up and she begins snarling and snapping at him, pinning him to the ground. He was yelping out of fear but was otherwise fine - she did not make contact other than keeping him beneath her. I hauled her off and removed her from the situation. She acted very, very fearful and nervous with me and my fiance after the situation for the rest of the night - trying to appease us, as she could tell we were upset even though we did not take anything out on her.
I've decided I want to enroll her in a local positive reinforcement Reactive Dog class to help socialize her and teach her how to be calm around new dogs/people.
I'll be honest, at just under a year old, this behavior is worrying me quite a bit. BOTH of her parents were very social, friendly farm dogs who loved everyone - people and other dogs included. I am aware that the entire problem was started by the situation as a puppy and only got worse as she got older by us not getting her out to meet a new dog each day and make more positive associations.
She has NEVER been attacked by another dog. She has NEVER had a bad association or interaction with another dog where she was the victim. She plays incredibly well with other dogs after she gets to know them.
I'm kind of lost, to be honest. All I can think to do is enroll her in classes and start all over now. Classes will be a LITTLE difficult cause I'm pregnant and my fiance's work hours are all over the place, but I think I'm going to call around and see what I can find anyway.
Any ideas or suggestions would be great!
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