New small dog owner (with a mini rant)

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Just rub my- belly and I'll- be happy
Barked: Tue Aug 23, '11 1:22am PST 
Indigo is my first official small dog. I think she's some sort of Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso mix but I'm not sure (I hope to be able to post some better pictures of her soon because I really want to see what you all think of her breed). She was a rescue my coworker brought in to work. She was absolutely covered in ticks (there's still some scabs left even a month later) and had to get shaved down because of the state her fur was in. She was neglected for the most part and still has a hard time letting others touch her. I seem to be the only human she trusts now, but we're slowly making some progress in that area.

The rant part is this behavior I've never really had a problem with before. Random people will just come up and try to start petting her without even asking me. I had a pet store employee actually shove his face in her face (without saying anything to me) and rub her head even though she was visibly scared and attempting to get away from him. I know I'm not the only small dog owner who's had this problem before, little dogs look so cute and approachable because of their size. It's just frustrating and makes me want to naughty

mischief is my- middle name
Barked: Tue Aug 23, '11 6:51am PST 
You may want to get her a bandana or something on it that says "STOP! Do not pet" or something along those lines. It may not work all the time with determined/rude people, so you also have to be proactive and body block them. Explain in a firm, calm voice that she is was abused by people and hasn't learned to trust them yet. If you have time/in the mood, and the person honestly wants to help, you can show them how to approach your dog properly and to look at her body language as to whether or not she even wants to be approached. It would be a good educational moment showing the horrible psycological effects abuse has on a dog.

Good luck!

Barked: Tue Aug 23, '11 8:07am PST 
It's not a small dog problem.

Any owner of a dog of any size that's gone through something similarly traumatic or was never properly socialized deals with the exact same thing. Although let me tell you, it's a lot bigger of a problem the bigger the dog...

You are the only one who can stop the interactions. You need to pay attention when you have her out in public. Put up an imaginary bubble and don't let anyone breech that personal space. From there you need to be proactive and firm. I wouldn't do the bandanna deal, I'd just use my voice and simply tell approaching people NO if they ask or start to go down for a pet. If you need to body block them and tell them strangers frighten her while moving her away. Don't stand there and discuss it. Just walk away. The advantage you have is people actually have to stoop to get to your dog as opposed to just extending a hand for a larger dog. That's a whole lot of additional movement that should cue you something is about to happen so you can stop it.

Also, if she's that terrified I wouldn't be bringing her to somewhere like a petstore yet. You need to gradually work her up to places that stressful with that many people. People assume that if someone is bringing their dog to such a place it's going to be friendly. Can't blame them for that really, I'd assume the same thing shrug


Just rub my- belly and I'll- be happy
Barked: Tue Aug 23, '11 10:34am PST 

I said it was a small dog problem in a joking manner. I know it happens to everyone, she is the first out of my dogs to be approached so much though.

I know I am the only one to stop the people's behavior. And (not that it would make a difference, you seem quick to dismiss me as a terrible owner after one post), I have.

Bringing her to a petstore that day was unfortunately unavoidable.
Sage CGC

Mommy's lil- princess
Barked: Tue Aug 23, '11 12:46pm PST 
I think you're doing the best that you can. All you have to do is to tell people not to pet her, which I know if difficult to do. Keep up the good work smile

Barked: Tue Aug 23, '11 1:31pm PST 
Terrible owner? I wasn't near even implying such a thing.

I was merely stating the obvious solution. If as you say a petstore employee was able to get down and in her face upsetting her so greatly the simple fix would me to just monitor the surroundings more closely and intervene more quickly in the future.

That's all.
Penny Mouse- Fart Ayala

I eat, therefore- I am.....
Barked: Tue Aug 23, '11 1:38pm PST 
Young kids will chase you through petstores, regardless. I try to go during times/hours that school is in session. It does help! The smaller and cuter your dog is, the more you're going to run into this. When someone approaches me I don't want near Penny, I either: go the other direction and ditch them, tell them "She BITES!" or hold her while I let someone pet her so I can control the interaction. It all depends on how they approach us. If they have manners and ask politely, then I'm polite. If they give us the 'bums rush' we go in the other direction FAST! I know what you're dealing with, with a fearful dog. Pennys that way NOT because she wasn't socialised (she was, she just had alot of health issues) but because she's super duper tiny and everythings just so much bigger than her. I'd limit social interactions when at all possible and try to ease her out of her fearfulness slowly, with short postive neighborhood walks with lots of rewards when she's curious and explores and does her best. Good Luck!!rainbow

Edited by author Tue Aug 23, '11 1:38pm PST


Got food? I- can be bought ya- know....
Barked: Tue Aug 23, '11 9:59pm PST 
Asher would be mortified!

Since he's human aggressive, and getting in his face is a pet peeve, he surely would have bitten the clerk that got in your dog's face.

It would have served the clerk right for being so thoughtless.

Being the big mouth, with slow 'edit' function, I would have said,
"Didn't your parents tell you to never touch a dog without asking the owner first? You're lucky you didn't get bitten."

A variation of that for different situations and violators.

Of my 3 dogs, the boys are social, but Pepper is shy and doesn't want to be handled by strangers. It's easy to let the boys put up a furry blockade for her - BOL!

They are all in the 50 pound range and only once did I have to admonish someone for petting without asking first. As for a small dog thing....I'm more reluctant to pet little ones as they are defensive more often. And I never force myself on a dog, it's just rude. But I am aware not everyone is too smart about this.


Barked: Wed Aug 24, '11 8:43am PST 
Pepper, it may have served the clerk right if he would have been bitten but guaranteed the dog would gave paid a higher price, possibly with its life.

Authorities would not have excused the dogs reaction because the clerk acted irresponsibly, the only thing they'd have cared about is the bite itself. Clerk would have quite the case in court to sue too if his claim was that he was merely trying to offer it a friendly gesture in the form of pets.

Barked: Thu Aug 25, '11 5:36am PST 
Honestly, I'm with Trigger on this. It sucks, but you have to be proactive. Eventually it just becomes a habit to body block your dog. You're protecting them, AND her. The more she bites/reacts, the more she's going to think there's a reason she has to.

Seriously, you have hug on this one. I've never had a dog that I can just let strangers pet, but both of mine are very unique-looking and everybody and his brother wants to touch them. It might be worth it to look into some classes/training to teach her coping skills around strangers. Jack learned that instead of biting to make people go away, HE can just be the one to turn around and walk away. I still have to make sure he isn't ever blocked into a corner, but now I can take him places like petsmart and if someone pets him as we go by he just keeps walking.

Anyway, good luck with whatever you decide to do. Management is a must for you, but training might be an option that reduces how much you'll have to manage her in the future.
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