Scared of other dogs

by Kenny

Our 4 1/2 yr old Coton wants nothing to do with other dogs, probably because we got him just before COVID hit and he wasn't exposed early enough, but we use pup sitters and they have a small friendly dog that just wants to play with him. Any tips to get him warmed up to other dogs? He basically tucks his tail and just walks away from any dog, but I have seen him snip at dogs that are just curious and get in his face.

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May 01, 2024
Go slow NEW
by: Gale

Hi Kenny - It’s understandable that your dog would be afraid of other dogs if he wasn’t socialized due to Covid isolation. I have found the best way for dogs to overcome fear is to set them up for success.

My Lucy was isolated for about a year due to her illness and it changed her. She was no longer the fearless social butterfly - she wanted to avoid other dogs at all costs.

Instead of forcing her into an uncomfortable situation, I set up meetings with friends who have gentle friendly dogs. I didn’t force Lucy to interact with the other dog, just distracted her and gave lots of hugs and treats. And we’d keep our meetups short and sweet. After a while, she was relaxed around the other dogs and no longer hid behind me.

Lucy’s also motivated by food, so whenever I saw a dog approaching on our walk, I’d give her a treat to distract her and so she’d have a positive association when seeing another dog.

Lucy’s still not the fearless life of the party that she once was, but she’s not afraid anymore so our walks are easier and less stressful. And she even has a couple of doggy pals. I’m also careful to read her cues. If she shows signs of fear when encountering another dog on our walk, I’ll turn the other way.

I think with time and patience, your dog can relax around other dogs as well. It’s a slow process, but worth it.

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