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Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Katie OMeara, Jun 7, 2018.


  1. Katie OMeara

    Katie OMeara PetForums Newbie

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    Maya is my 4 year old french bulldog. She’s very friendly towards people, and LOVES our other dog, Lexie the border collie. She’s fine at the beach and at the park, but that’s because she gets nervous around larger dogs and clings to me. She’s also become reactive to dogs, especially ones bigger than her. When she was a puppy, she loved to meet new dogs and play, but in the past year, she’s become very defensive towards dogs who just simply want to play. As far as I know, she’s never been attacked, so I don’t know where this attitude is coming from. It could be due to a lack of consistent socialization while I’m off in college, since when I’m away, she doesn’t get out very much. I used to think it was just “little dog syndrome” where she tried to act tougher than she really is, but last time I took her to the park, she barked at a young child, and that’s when I knew something needed to change. I’m hoping for some advice on how to stop her aggressive barking. It definitely bums me out because I hate leaving Maya behind when I take Lexie to fun places, but oftentimes I have to because she gets annoying. She’s mostly my mom’s dog, but she’s also Lexie’s best friend so I want to work with her the same amount that I work with Lexie while I can. If anyone has any training tips to make her more comfortable around other dogs, I’d love to hear them!
     
  2. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    I suspect she feels completely overwhelmed by these dogs who 'simply want to play' and has now become fearful of such dogs (especially the larger ones) who try to bully her. Play is only play when both dogs want to engage --- if not it's called bullying. So you need to step up now and start to take Maya's side and protect her.

    You say as a pup she loved to meet other dogs which means that she is generally a friendly dog who has been frightened by the bigger dogs and now wants them to go away.

    Start walking her in quiet places where she won't be bullied by bigger dogs and keep her with you. Protect her from their advances. Once a dog has become fearful the behaviour tends to escalate and they can start to bark to send everyone and everything away in case they are scary.

    I would start to rebuild her trust in her human by keeping a distance from other dogs and rewarding her well when she walks past without barking.

    J
     
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    She does sound overwhelmed and having to try and scare off dogs in case, like @Jamesgoeswalkies said.

    She will have an invisible radius of space around her where she feels secure . Find out what that is and keep her far enough away from other dogs and children that she is relaxed. Reward this calm behaviour. Gradually, over weeks and months, not days, work on reducing the distance. But - be aware that if your dog has had a stressful episode the stress hormone can stay in the body for up to 48 hours so a distance she was comfortable with the day before might be too close that day. So the safe distance can change, watch her body language.

    Trainers describe behaviour like this with reference to the three Ds. Distance, as above but also be aware of Duration (your dog might be tolerant for 10 seconds, but not 15) and Distraction - how distracting the stimulus is; a calm dog might not trigger any reaction at a given distance but a bouncy one might.

    Alongside that you could train a 'watch me'. As your dog looks at you, mark and reward the behaviour. Ask for longer periods of watching. Then if a dog approaches, after you have worked on the distance issue, you can get your dog to focus on you and not the other dog. BUT - some dogs find this scary as they cannot see the thing they are anxious about so you need to judge your dog.
     
  4. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

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    Dogs that are happy to play with each other take it in turns to chase each other or wrestle each other with one underneath .
    They also tend to pause now and then .
    If a dog wants to play and yours doesnt then block the other dog from approaching or walk in another direction .
    Intervene if the play becomes one sided and stop it.
     
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