My 3 yr. old dog suddenly afraid at park! - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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My 3 yr. old dog suddenly afraid at park!

We've been walking our 3 yr. old Dobie at a park where she has encountered a few other dogs. At first, she barked to tell then to stay away, but has never been aggressive. She would act skittish and not interact with strange dogs, and just leave them and come back to us. Okay, that's fine.
Now, when she walks there, she's always on the lookout for other dogs and even acts a little scared. One day 3 very small dogs came playfully running up to her, and my dog hauled off running in the opposite direction of where we were walking! She wouldn't come back, or recall, either until the other dogs were taken away by their owner.

She loves to run there and explore off leash, and it's been safe for her. Any other suggestions to calm her other than keeping her on the leash constantly?
Thanks,
Maureen
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 05:36 PM
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Hello,

Don't take her to dog parks.

Did you say 3 year old? Did you rescue?

Start with friends and family and letting her run in their enclosed yards and have fun meeting people. You will eventually find a proper dog nitch. Dog parks aren't a great place to start a trusting relationship.

Just my opinion.

Of course, I personally want to know what color she is.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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I agree about dog parks. We don't take her to those either. This is a safe, quiet park that very few people use and she usually loves running around. She was a rescue but we've had her over 2 years. That's a good idea though to expose her to fun people in enclosed yards.
Thank you!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 09:16 AM
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I'm confused as to why you would continue to subject her to something continuously that she had told you repeatedly she is uncomfortable with?


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 10:01 AM
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Hello! I'm a little confused at what's going on here. So you walk her at this park, but it's not specifically a dog park, right? Just a quiet regular park where other dogs sometimes come with their owners and run off leash, right?

Either way, she seems to be pretty uncomfortable with the other dogs, no matter the size. Are these dogs coming up to her while she is on her leash, or is she let off the lead? Maybe she wasn't socialized with other dogs properly in the past. I think most people on the forum will tell you to avoid all dog parks, and to some extent I agree. If they are clearly not having a good time, don't take them there. If there are aggressive dogs there that could jeopardize her safety, don't take her there. You have to listen to your dog and what they are comfortable with. Our Zuko is quite submissive and loves the park, loves running around. He'll interact with the other dogs and play if there's a suitable partner who isn't scared of him, but generally he stays with us as we walk around the park and throw balls and sticks for him to chase.

Jackie, Jake & Zuko


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Last edited by jeitzen; 02-17-2017 at 10:04 AM.
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austinpnp (02-23-2017)
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 10:45 PM
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I agree that if she is uncomfortable you should avoid it unless that is your only option for exercise. I would advocate keeping her on a flexi lead or long line if you do go. It keeps you in control. If you get an extra long flexi lead you won't get tangled in it and it gives you enough length for a (shorter) game of fetch and other play. I can't stand the things for walking a dog, but as a happy medium for being off leash at the park they are really handy. People walking their poorly behaved dog around on them bugs me and I used to swear I would never use one. Then my mom gave me a couple of her old ones after her dog passed away. Now I think they are great for safely playing with Piper on a quiet street when the snow is 8 ft deep/high everywhere else.

If you keep her fully leashed and ask the other owners to keep their dogs away it usually works well too. I say "can you get your dog please" if they are charging at us because Piper is uncomfortable with impolite dogs.

Alternatively, I've seen vests and leashes that say "in training" on them. People leave you alone more if they think you are training your dog. When you see a dog near by keep her close and see if it helps by giving her a safe place by stepping in front of her and/or leaning over a bit and "sheltering" her by draping your hands over the over her back. (Keep your face up and out of the way though!) Right after Piper's first heat (at 7 months) she must have been giving off hormone signals that seemed to be rankling other dogs - tons of dogs were suddenly very snipey with her. She was young and very confused. Doing these thing helped a lot until the behaviors stopped.

If you are hoping to ease her back to being comfortable - watch her cues. If she is licking her lips, yawning, panting unusually, wilting, hyper vigilant, is showing whale eyes (open wide enough or pointing muzzle one way and giving side eye the other way to see parts of the whites) etc she is stressed and at the very edge of what she can tolerate. Try walking around the edge or just in, and as soon as you see any signs of unease call it a day. Keep it super positive with toys and treats. If she isn't confident enough to play the way she does at home you need to take a step back.

I live in a place of very liberal leash laws. There is nowhere I could take my dog where there aren't off leash dogs. So I get it if this is your issue. People even walk their dogs off leash ON THE ROAD regularly by my house! Ugh. I have taken to working at the empty far edge of parking lots when I don't want to be disturbed by off leash dogs. Parking lots by by busy roads - the hip new place to walk your intact, in heat bitch! Lol

Feel free to PM me if you would like.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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She likes going there and enjoys running around. We encounter few dogs.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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We let her off the leash and she enjoys running around, but stays near us. We'd like to socialize her more so she's not skittish around the few dogs she encounters.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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She loves the park and is excited about going. Just not comfortable if she sees other dogs. She stays close.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! Best advice yet. May try the long leash, and give her a safe place if her cues look anxious.
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