Kitty the INDog was wary around other dogs. She was scared, and showed stress signs such as licking of lips, tail tucked under, flattened ears, shrill barking and pulling the other way. A dog’s first instinct to fear, and other stresses, is to run away. A dog will never bite the first time around. He learns to bite only after he realizes he cannot run away, and is led to believe that biting is his only option.
As pet parents to fearful dogs, it is your responsibility to:
1) recognize when your dog is scared, and
2) manage the situation to reduce the fear response
Depending on the cause and level of fear, you can allow the dog the freedom to walk away, or, encourage the dog to overcome the fear. You will need a behaviourist to determine the best way to move forward.
At the doggy brunch event (pictured below), we allowed Kitty the freedom to run away from other dogs. Kitty was allowed to be off-leash because we did not want her feel trapped. The two Goldens were on the leash and kept distracted because we did not want them to approach Kitty. Every time Kitty took a few cautious steps towards the dogs, and a flick of the retriever tail would send her running back. She would approach from the back, sniff a little, and again run back. After about 4 hours, Kitty warmed up enough to approach, sniff and stay within a foot of these dogs 😀
We did not force Kitty to play with the other dogs. Instead, we allowed her to take her time, and decide for herself. Kitty is very lucky to have met many more dogs since this brunch, and her confidence around dogs is ever growing.