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My stubborn dogs scared of other dogs/people HELP!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Mya Smith, Nov 22, 2019.


  1. Mya Smith

    Mya Smith PetForums Newbie

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    Hi newbie here! :)

    So, here’s some background info:

    I have a french bulldog and she’s 10 months now, she loves to play and is extremely happy being at home! My family have never had a dog before, only a cat, and they were very protective over her as a pup (not taking her for walks until about 6-7 month and very inconsistently) but they love her like if she were a baby! And for the past month I have been taking her for walks consistently because I was tired of her not getting time outside.

    Why I need help:

    Some days she will walk, most days she is stubborn and wants to stay put but I don’t know why? She goes to the vets monthly and she is not injured (she also smells EVERYTHING when we’re out). my other issue is... she is frightened to death of other dogs/people! I try to get her to smell them when we are out and she still runs away! I even bring treats with me to reward her but its the only thing that gets her to walk/stay calm (she will still be afraid)! Please help me I want my dog to have a great life and not one she’s cooped up inside for :(
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    She’s not being stubborn. She sounds anxious at being out. Not surprising if she wasn’t walked and socialised as a puppy.

    Best if you can get help from a good behaviourist who uses positive, reward based methods.

    In the meantime, stop trying to force her to interact but work out the distance at which she will relax at the sight of another dog/person and take treats.

    This will help create positive associations with the sight of dogs/people and you might be able to reduce the distance over time, but very gradually to avoid making her anxious.
     
    #2 Lurcherlad, Nov 22, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
  3. Tony & co

    Tony & co PetForums Newbie

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    Hi I'm new myself to this site, read the comment from Lurched lad and thought it was good sound advice, and the key word i feel is socialising , it sounds like your Frenchie has to learn to be a dog, keep reassuring your Frenchie that everything is ok when meeting other dogs if possible if there's a dog your Frenchie is least frightened of perhaps learning to walk to together will help your Frenchies confidence etc, but hey look I'm no dog expert we all have different methods it's taken me the best part of 6 months to get my 2 Chihuahuas and my cat to finally be friends!! But it's all been worth it, I give them treats at the same time seemed to help a lot and of course patience and love, like i said everyone has their own style , I really hope you find one that works for your Frenchie best of luck Tony
     
  4. Mya Smith

    Mya Smith PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your advice, i’ll be looking for a good behaviourist in my area to help me,

    I’ll continue rewarding her and stop allowing dogs to come too close, she often pulls on the leash wanting to make contact so I associated that with her wanting to meet or play with the dog, my mistake. She’ll be getting lots of treats for sure, I only want to help her.

    I am very patient with her and never punish her for this because I know it’s not her fault, it would often cause arguments when I would take her whilst she was small, sometimes not allowing me to (still live with my parents) and after a while I couldn’t take it.

    Thanks again, it’s really appreciated
     
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  5. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

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    Unfortunately, your dog needed to be out when she was a young puppy, seeing the world and all the ‘weird’ things that are out there. It’s called habituation (the term socialisation is also used, but strictly speaking that is about meeting other dogs and people.) It is going to be hard - possibly impossible - to recover that. As Lurcherlad says she should also have been socialised. You probably have a very frightened dog. So, it’s up to you to try and reduce your dog’s fears, by avoiding other dogs.

    Sniffing at ‘everything’ is quite normal. Dogs ‘read’ their world through their noses. It’s important that they are allowed to sniff at things; it’s bad to drag her away (not that I’m saying that’s what you’re doing.)
     
    #5 Ian246, Nov 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
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  6. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    As has already been said, the fact that she didn’t go out until ‘6/7 months’ is the reason she behaves as she does now.

    Puppies have ‘windows’ of learning; how to deal with people, unfamiliar objects, other dogs. Also they learn to deal with low level stress, rather than just freak out or freeze. These windows close and the learning that should have happened in that period can’t be fully caught up on later.

    With the help of a good, positive, qualified behaviourist you may be able to improve things but she may never totally overcome her lack of early experience.

    Please also, don’t think of her as ‘stubborn’. This is an entirely human trait that dogs aren’t capable of. Most apparently misbehaving dogs are just frightened or confused and either don’t have the capability to do what is asked of them, or don’t understand the question.
     
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  7. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    Why does she go to the Vet once a month?
     
  8. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

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    Mya

    Linda Weasel has summed up the position perfectly. Its a good thing that you have taken it on yourself to walk the dog. Your family need to understand that their dog is not a ‘little person’, it’s a dog and it has particular needs. They have actually done it a major disservice so far and I am afraid they may have done permanent damage to the poor dog’s development. The good news is that you are trying to do your best for it. Patience and consistency are precisely what is required. As Linda says, the dog is not being stubborn, it is simply frightened. However, it does need exercise and mental stimulation. Good on you for trying to help it. I think a good behaviourist (who can also explain to your family what they SHOULD be doing) could be very helpful in this case. If the behaviourist starts talking about ‘dominance’ or ‘pack theory’, find a different behaviourist. Those theories are discredited; they are outdated and based on bad science, but a few people unfortunately still subscribe to them through ignorance.

    Good luck with the dog and please keep up your good work. Let us know how you get on and if you have any more questions, please do ask.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  9. Mya Smith

    Mya Smith PetForums Newbie

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    Since I posted this she’s been doing great with just our walks, she’s way more confident now and is more interested than scared, she walks with me and doesn’t stop from fear
    a baby (around 1) ran up to her and I didn’t see but she stayed relaxed and even let the baby pet her & the mum said thank you, I thought it was sweet,
    Ty, (ᵔᴥᵔ)
     
  10. Jobeth

    Jobeth PetForums VIP

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    It’s great that she is more confident but personally I wouldn’t let such a young child touch my dogs -especially if they have run up to them. My oldest dog would be fine but I’d use it as an opportunity to explain to the parents why they should ask first.
     
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  11. Beth78

    Beth78 PetForums VIP

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    It scares the hell out of me when children try to stroke Whisp.
    I've got no idea what she's like with small humans, I do know she is nervous of them though.
    A tiny child ran up and gave her a stick when we 1st got her, she looked bewildered for a while then just dropped the stick.
     
  12. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    Well done, it sounds like time has been a good healer. It was bound to take time when she had never been out. Hopefully there is no lasting damage done. As for children. Not a lot you can do about it and better to have a sound dog that will not object. I would always explain to the parents that they should ask first. My dogs are very sound with children so if I see a child looking at them longingly I will often stop and see if they want to say hello to the dogs.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
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