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Dogs Make Him Jump! Is It Fear Or Reactivity?


Guest GeekyLyndsay
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Guest GeekyLyndsay

Luigi is still new, so I'm not even close to learning his personality. Maybe this will all change.

 

The last 2 days on our walks around the block, we've met dogs. The first dog was a pug, the second was a white fluffy shih-tzu. Each time, he's interested (ears up, watching them approach) and as soon as the encounter ends he leaps backwards, almost like he's trying to get out of his collar. He makes no noise.

 

The first time: we met a pug, they sniffed each other. As the pug was walking away, the pug growled. Luigi leapt backward.

 

The second time: the shih tzu owner was walking by, said "Do you want them to meet?" and I said "No thanks!" (YAY AWESOME) he took a wide berth around us keeping a couple meters away and as soon as the dog was mostly past us, he jumped again.

 

Both times we were steps from the door. Once we got in the house, he was anxious. Head down, nose dripping, not very responsive to me. Is he scared of meeting these non-greyhounds?

 

I've been trying to avoid dogs while he adjusts but sometimes one sneaks up on us. I'd like to help him not be scared (if this is fear). I think the next step is conditioning from a distance. Treats when he sees a dog approach, we could spend a day sitting on the little hill, giving him treats when dogs walk by.

 

When we get inside and we haven't met a dog, he just trots happily. The dog encounters seem to make him want to stand with his head to the wall like a statue :(

Edited by GeekyLyndsay
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Could be a play thing... Sometimes Rainy will jump back in play when meeting another dog. OR she will jump back and snarl. At GIG this year she was meeting so many big boys that would poke her sensitive ticklish spot when trying to sniff her from under the belly that she started growling and jumping at any dog that tried to sniff her there. Honestly could blame her. I get snarky when tickled too. LOL

 

What do you think of his body language? Is is jumping to get away? Does he land on a tiny pounce position to try and play? Is he startled and wants to go back to see the dog at that time? The body language might be different each time since the dogs he's meeting are different each time. He also could be feeling threatened since he's on leash and can't move freely on leash...

 

If he's eating treats while others pass by he's not that stressed. Both my girls will not even consider food if they are the least bit anxious.

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Jessica

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Guest GeekyLyndsay

I haven't tried treating him yet, but I want to start. I am wondering if it's a play pounce, he lands standing straight up watching the dog to see if he has their attention. His anxiety after both encounters has me wondering if it's something else, but he could also just want to stay out! He's loving his strolls in the outside world.

 

On Saturday I'm going to my group's M&G and he'll have his muzzle just in case. Maybe the other hounds can model how to be polite to these weird non greyhound shaped dogs!

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I wouldn't take too much stock in the after stuff. Usually if the dog has been removed from the situation it's forgotten. Unless your dealing with a huge spooky pup, but you weeps know that right off!

 

The more he gets out and greets others the more relaxed he will become. You won't recognize his behavior a year from now :-)

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Jessica

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Guest GeekyLyndsay

I really won't! I am so excited to meet the real Luigi :) For now I'm enjoying my relatively bombproof new dog. I just dremeled his nails while he... snoozed. I feel so spoiled.

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Guest GeekyLyndsay

LOL still waiting on him to figure out how to roach without his crate to prop him up. when he tries it on his other beds it just looks like a dramatic rollover. He always looks so disappointed as he tips!

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Guest Giselle

It sounds more like fear than play, although we really need to see a video to understand what's going on. I would be proactive, however, and countercondition him to the other dogs just to be safe. There are two things you can do; I separate them into #1 and #2 below. Ideally, you'll want to go straight to plan #2, but most fearful or aroused dogs need to go through plan #1 before they can do #2.

 

1) If he is truly fearful, you'll have to pair the treats with the strange dog simultaneously. This is classical counter-conditioning, and it's necessary for fearful animals to help them understand "Strange dogs = good food and happy times!". If you keep repeating this, eventually, your dog will eventually change his emotional response to the strange dog and actually look forward to it. Be aware that fearful animals need to have the treat given simultaneously with the strange dog because they're often too aroused to think. They often cannot respond to their name and "go deaf".

 

2) If the dog is not necessarily fearful and can respond to his name, then you can go straight to asking the dog for a behavior instead of letting him stare and get wary of the strange dog. Every time he sees the strange dog, you can call his name, reward, and ask for another behavior + reward. So, say you see the Shih Tzu again. You can stop walking, call "Fido!", and immediately treat your dog for turning around to look at you. Then, ask for a Sit or Down or Target (a nose touch to your hand), and immediately treat for that, as well. This way, the dog learns to focus on you and not the strange dog. You can let your grey sniff the other dog IF he enjoys it and IF he gives you solid attention beforehand. If he cannot focus on you or if he seems wary/fearful, don't let him sniff the other dog. Some dogs just don't like casual sniffs; we should respect their boundaries.

 

If you could get a video, that would be best. Otherwise, good luck! And, when in doubt, please be proactive and seek a professional.

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