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kimy27
24th February 2009, 11:41 AM
Hi. I have two Cavaliers. Bailey is two years old and she loves everybody. Dylan on the other hand is one year old and is really wary of other dogs and people. The only dog Dylan is comfortable with is Bailey. And other than with about five members of my family he isn't so keen on people either.

Anyway last night I took Bailey and Dylan down to see my cousins new puppy. Bailey was absolutely fine with her but Dylan sat on my knee the whole time shaking and growling. So my question is what is the best way to go about this? I really want him to start to feel more comfortable with other dogs and I think this new puppy will be a good way to do that. On the other hand I don't want to be stressing him out too much because he was really scared last night.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Karlin
24th February 2009, 02:12 PM
Well, you have a problem with a shy dog to start and there are many things you can do to help this -- I recommend the book on working with shy dogs that you can buy from www.deesdogs.com for example.

If he is growling as well as shaking then you do have a problem that goes beyond just shyness. How long have you had DYlan? Was he introduced to lots of people and puppies and dogs when he was a puppy? It sounds like he probably wasn't or perhaps was poorly socialised when at the breeder's or has a temperament that makes him painfully shy -- if dogs aren't well socialised when puppies, and this means well beyond their immediate household, they do tend to become fearful and sometimes as seems to be hanppening here, fear aggressive.

You really need to get professional help given that he is growling, which is just short of snapping. I'd get him to a good general obedience class for a start, too, and not in the company mof Bailey. He also needs separate and equal time every day with people, to be walked, trained, and get attention -- not just be left to have Bailey as his company or to do things every time with Bailey (in multi dog households each dog needs separate time daily or they tend to become too interdependent). He needs daily walks on his own, the opportunity to meet people and dogs, etc -- but mainly you will really benefit from having a professional trainer help you with this as if he continues to get more fearful, he will possibly go from growling to snapping. If he is growling up on your lap then I would immediately and gently simply put him on the ground without scolding or punishing in any way -- that is not acceptable behaviour and what he is doing is probably resource guarding you out of fear and anxiety. If you then try to 'comfort' him on your lap when he does this you are actually rewarding the unwanted behaviour and *encouraging* him to keep doing it! Just depriving him of the location where he wants to be for 5 minutes the moment he does this reinforces that he isn't to behve this way otherwise he has to go on the ground. But a trainer will work with you on things like this.

In short -- see if you can find a CCPDT certified, rewards-based trainer (do NOT go for someone who starts to tell you about dominance, his role in the 'pack', the need to reduce his rank, etc etc -- this is the wrong type of trainer and this approach tends to make such problems far worse!).

You can get lists of CCPDT certified trainers here:

http://ccpdt.com/rstr/index.html

kimy27
24th February 2009, 02:55 PM
Thanks Karlin.

I'm quite shocked at how serious you think this is. I was hoping that the more he interacted with the new puppy the easier it would get. Do you think it is more likely that he will get more aggresive?

We've had Dylan for a year. We got him when he was nine weeks old. He wasn't shy at all when we brought him home. He got attached to Bailey instantly and made himself at home as soon as we got him. It was probably at about six months old that he started barking at other dogs. He sits on the couch and looks out the window and if another dog passes he barks his head off. Bailey is very much the opposite. She loves to meet new dogs and new people.

They do get walked daily but they do always get walked together. Infact they pretty much do everything together. Bailey is very trusting of everyone but Dylan is unsure of anyone he doesn't see on a regular basis. Although he is getting better with people and he will go over and have a sniff but doesn't jump all over them like Bailey (shes a show off) lol. It's funny because in the house Dylan is the more dominant in general (although if Bailey decides different she usually gets her way). Dylan is always the first to greet me when I get home and will push Bailey out of the way if she gets there first. Also if we play fetch he is always the one to go get the ball and bring it back. If Bailey gets there first he will take it off her.

I take on board what you are saying and I will definately start giving him more one on one time. I had a look at the lists of CCPDT certified trainers but there doesn't seem to be any in Scotland.

JoanS
24th February 2009, 03:28 PM
My 8 yr. old Casey is a shy dog. When I brought home 4 mo. old very outgoing Alfie he more or less ignored him for about a week. Now after 4 mo. Casey is becoming much more "tolerant" (he doesn't enjoy) of strangers and other dogs. He even allowed the neighbor to pet him, which he hadn't done in 8 years!! When I took him to puppy class at 4 mo. the instructer told me to notify the breeder because he wouldn't (in 8 weeks) come from hiding in back of me, so he was an extreme case. I can't believe the difference in him in the past 4 mo.! I think he just realizes if Alfie sees nothing to be afraid of it must be okay -- or else he's a little jealous of the attention. I take them together to our local Petsmart just for them to meet other dogs face to face. Alfie's all over the other dogs with tail wags and kisses. Casey just watches--doesn't pull to get away, which he used to do. Sometimes dogs are just natured differently. We're really enjoying the two entirely different personalities.