|Barked: Tue Nov 20, '12 11:31am PST |
|This sounds like Kato.
He used to pee himself if other dogs were in sight, and if they came close, he'd let out a blood curdling scream.
For our daily walks, we just kept walking if any dogs were in their yards barking. I think it comforted Kato to know that he could get out of there, and he eventually learned that barking dogs just bark.
As for closer interaction, I did the Look at That Game. Took him to public areas/parks where people would walk their dogs. I'd find a nice bench to sit at and treat Kato whenever he'd look at another dog. Eventually worked up to going to a dog park. We didn't go in the main bit, but the small dog side was empty, so we did the same thing in there. He showed some curiosity, which was great. Slowly but surely, he gained some confidence with those experiences, and he eventually graduated to going in the dog park when there were only 1 or 2 dogs in there.
And he did show some fear. They're never going to just hop in with their head high and confidence at 100%. But the minimal positive exposure and small steps really do them wonders. The biggest safety net they have is you, so if you feel that it is just getting too overwhelming, go ahead and leave. Their confidence can really soar if they truly trust you to step in when it just gets to be too much. You can't teach them everything though, so I wouldn't be too overprotective.
Patience and time are the biggest things too. Kato used to be only able to play with one dog at a time. If another joined in, he'd hide under the table I was sitting on. But eventually, he gained confidence, and now has no issues playing with a group of dogs.
Here's his first time at the dog park. You'll see some bits of curiosity. Keep in mind that this is after doing the Look at That Game for quite a while in other circumstances. Kato really took a fancy to the brown boxer, so I went in and let him have a good play. They were doing great. Then the people with the ACD came in, and that dog was a bit too much for Kato, and I left shortly after that.
Despite the shotty camera work, you can see that Kato gets a bit overwhelmed with 2 dogs, but when they leave, he shows curiosity by following them. When he got a bit overwhelmed, he went to the gait and also to me. Despite those bumps, he found fun in the play. Enough to want to give it a go. And knowing he had a safe spot helped him branch out further and further.
Edited by author Tue Nov 20, '12 11:37am PST
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