|Barked: Mon Dec 31, '12 9:37am PST |
|I'm fairly sure that Ria may have hit a fear stage in her growth now. She's approx. nine months old, and was socialized like crazy as a puppy, but there were some moments where I did question if she would recall one or two incidents for the rest of her life and I'm not entirely sure if that's what this is.. Or... If it's a fear stage that she's going through. She's Lab/Border Collie and you can see many of the breed traits(if not all) of each in her.
In her house, if someone new comes in, she simply gets excited and wants to be best of friends, leaping about and trying to get as much attention as possible. In fact, it's something we're working hard at to teach her how to greet guests properly.
Outside is another story however. She LOVES people... Yet, if a strange person(age doesn't matter, can be a small child or a grown adult and gender doesn't matter either), or animal, then she's instantly into a barking frenzy of "I want to meet you... But I don't know you, who are you? Omg.. Are you a nice person?!" And for a moment it's like she REALLY wants to say hi, then suddenly the barking starts up and she's lunging at the end of her leash before dodging back as if she were playing with the rolling waves of the ocean on the shore. But... with people. It's almost like she second guesses herself.
Once they say hi to her and pet her, she's perfectly fine.
Now.. the incident that happened as a puppy, was because I live in townhomes, when I had my pooches outside, I noticed a group of young girls(10-13) had all noticed the cute little eight week old puppy and were making a beeline for us. So I immediately bundled up my dogs, and began heading toward the front door. These children quite literally, SURROUNDED US on my own step, and began reaching for my puppy. I became furious. Not only did they not ask, but they surrounded us on my front step and were terrifying and overwhelming my new puppy. Charlie was fine of course, he just wanted attention. But I was absolutely livid at this point. Ria cowered, and I instantly stepped in front of her and spoke up, telling them it was RUDE to not ask before approaching, that they had SCARED my new puppy, and how did they know my other dog wouldn't have bit them? They were startled, to say the least, but backed off slightly while I gave them an earful on manners and SAFETY with dogs, before scooping up my pups and putting them in the house.
I have now taken to standing up for my dogs diligently. If you don't ask, you don't pet. Simple. And trust me when I say A LOT of children around here feel they can approach without asking. They assume because these are townhomes that all dogs here are friendly. Not the case. I foster dogs from time to time and not all of them like children at all!
I do wonder if that incident effected her view of strangers outside of the house though, and if that's where her uncertainty lies with new people. In house, again, she is perfectly fine.
Ideas? Thoughts? Ideas on how to handle it? I'd like to start working on this behavior now and get it nipped in the bud, or at least close to, by the time I have my baby(late next summer) because I would love to be able to walk my dogs with the stroller safely without them reacting. I've got Charlie 90% worked through on his leash reactivity... Ria, however.. I'm not sure where to start. I've never had a young puppy that I've raised before, and I've never had one that had issues with strange people. Kind of new to me, lol.
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