Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Irrational Fear

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    27
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question Irrational Fear

    Our nine month old B&T CKC seems to have developed an irrational fear of a certain dog (Cocker Spaniel) she encounters on walks.

    She's got bags of 'attitude' with other dogs (all mouth and no trousers!) until they come up to her; then she's all submissive - but still quite playful. However, with this one dog in particular she howls at the top of her voice as if she's being savaged. Yesterday, she was off the lead when the dog came over to her, trying to play, and she ran all the way home (half a mile or so) howling all the way. Thankfully, she wasn't run-over by a car.

    We just can't fathom out this strange behaviour; she's never been bitten by another dog or intimidated in any other way by one.

    Any ideas as to why she's developed this seemingly irrational fear? Apart from avoidance (which is difficult to guarantee) how can we remedy this weird behaviour. Our other CKC has no problem with the other dog.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    North Carolina USA
    Posts
    921
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default For this reason....

    I never have Gracie off the lead. Cavs do not do well off lead and some will not race home. Since she has been off lead... maybe she has had an encounter with this dog or one like it that created the fear?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    27
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Both are what I call 'off-road' dogs. The girls are pretty much 'tom-boys'. In water, mud, dirt, undergrowth, the works (and they're clipped short, too less tail/ears). We treat them like dogs; not pampered or over-protected outside. That said, they've never been out of sight so it's all a mystery!

    Thanks for the suggestion though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Coventry UK
    Posts
    1,881
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    If the cocker lives locally, could you contact its owner and arrange some 'desensitisation' sessions? Perhaps just being in the same room with your girl securely on your lap, or standing talking outside with both dogs on lead - and perhaps give your girl some Rescue Remedy beforehand to calm her? It's really scarey when they take off for home like that - but what you don't want to do (as I'm sure you know) is get apprehensive when you see the other dog coming, as this will just convince your girl that she's right to be worried.

    Debra wrote: Cavs do not do well off lead. My two walk for miles off lead - the difference being, I think, that Britain has a wonderful network of public footpaths (rights of way, so landowners and farmers can't block them off or plough them up) across open country, woods, beaches and farmland, where you can walk your dogs well away from traffic and meet hardly any other dogs (or people). These aren't just official long-distance walking trails, they cover all areas in and around towns as well, and are a real national treasure. You just have to watch out for sheep and cows - and prevent your Cavalier chasing rabbits on clifftops!

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Dumfries, Scotland
    Posts
    1,015
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Can you remember the first time she met the Cocker? It may have been something small that's troubled her, something you've forgotten as being unimportant? Was the Cocker very in her face or pushy?

    I find my two to be quite funny with over the top excitable dogs. Both of mine handle off the lead encounters with other dogs better than on the lead encounters though. We were unfortunate enough to have a similar incident with Misty not long after we got her. She was jumped on by a black Lab that appeared out of the dark one night whilst we were in the field behind our house. Poor Misty was in such a panic she just fled. I chased the dog off, got Murphy on the lead and ran for home to get my OH. Rounding the corner I was over the moon to find Misty waiting on our door step. We never did find out who the black Lab belonged to either

    And I have to disagree with you GraciesMom, both of my Cav's do very well off the lead, we constantly work on the recall, and always walk with treats in our pockets. That being said I wouldn't walk them down a main road off the lead, but that would be the same for any breed of dog not just a Cav. We are lucky to have many forest walks and beaches near Dumfries and my two tear around like loons and love it. I just wish they would stay out of all the muddy puddles though
    Paula - mum to Murphy(6) & Misty(7), and Jerry our cat.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    27
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The Cocker's always been friendly and playful and the first couple of times they just played together, albeit ours was submissive. Just really odd; she's fine with all other dogs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dublin, Ireland
    Posts
    24,051
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    15

    Default

    There are some things that should be done right away, and others that need to be worked on over time.

    Dog trainers will tell you there's no such thing as a safe off road dog *except* when you are truly 'off road' -- if you are anywhere near a road, which you seem to saying was the case if your cavalier was at such risk running home? -- then that is not off road. Any dog, no matter how well trained off lead, can for any unexpected reason run in front of a car. Cavaliers are actually bred to have no fear (you can see this is the actual formal breed standard) and often will run directly in front of vehicles with little sense of danger -- they need to always be on lead anywhere near traffic and especially amongst breeds, simply cannot be trusted to be safe near traffic. If you have a dog that just bolted and as you say, was lucky not to have been killed, then you have seen this factor in action and will know now that it is now imperative to keep them on lead on walks anywhere near roads or there's a serious risk you will end up with a dead or seriously maimed dog. Be sure to wisely save the off lead walks for safe, truly off road areas (for perspective == I have a dog that will run for hundreds of yards if he scents a pond or stream for swimming, and can do this unexpectedly , so I consider a very VERY long distance away from a road to be safely off lead. It is terrifying to see a little cavalier bolt across a road near cars.

    Cavaliers are spaniels and most love long walks, getting mucky, and rolling in stinky things... But being off lead in a risky area with traffic truly wouldn't be lumped in as part of being outdoor dogs on walks -- dogs have little more innate sense than toddlers and are just as risky near traffic.

    If you have a dog that is reactive on or off lead it is worth working on this -- well known trainer Patricia McConnell has a good small book on this issue that Amazon can supply (www.dogtrainingireland.ie also have it). As to why a dog would react so strongly to a particular dog -- for the same reason some kids take a strong dislike or have a particular discomfort with some people/other kids. I have five cavaliers and they all have dogs they like and dislike for no obvious reason. They are also much happier with other dogs one on one or off lead in the park than when walked together when they get pack behaviour. Dogs that are reactive on lead often are this way when walked with a companion but not on their own. The problem with having an aggressive acting dog, even if it is eventually very friendly with individual dogs, is that the initial aggressiveness will always risk sparking an attack from another reactive dog and if the cavalier is off lead the risk is even greater of a very tragic ending. Some breeds are innately more reactive to other dogs and most of these are strong and larger breeds that would instantly kill a cavalier if provoked, For that reason too it would be wise to work on this issue and keep a reactive dog on harness and lead.. A front clip harness enables more control than collar or back clip harness. Trainers recommend the Sense-ible or EasyWalk harnesses )both of which I use for my pullers! .

    Regarding the ckier --
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Coventry UK
    Posts
    1,881
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I'd like to second what Karlin says about keeping Cavaliers on lead unless well away from traffic. I always walk mine on a coupler with an extending lead (yes, I know Karlin doesn't approve!!) because our two nearest open areas are surrounded by busy roads and I simply don't trust Oliver not to run across if he sees a friend (or a cat!). Aled is quite nervous and if he got seriously chased by a bigger dog, might well panic and run down the bank at the edge of the common and straight onto the road. On one of the commons there is a fenced area well away from the roads, and there I do let them off; otherwise, they can have quite a lot of freedom on their long lead and play with each other and sniff along the hedgerows, but without any risk. Where they do go off lead is in the country, where we can walk for several miles without meeting any roads (and I can also stop them at stiles to check whether they need to go on lead because of sheep), or in the bigger parks where we can get away from roads. But with Cavaliers it is sensible to err on the side of caution - Oliver is much too adventurous and fearless for his own good - I got him because his owner/breeder could no longer cope with him jumping over the garden fence and disappearing into the Yorkshire countryside for several hours!

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    27
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Well, we're not going to curtail their freedom and enjoyment as dogs but thanks for the advice. She doesn't do this with any other dog so it's an acceptable risk.

    We're more concerned at the reason for this behaviour rather than the potential (however remote) consequences.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA - USA
    Posts
    693
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I thought Coco was very reliable off lead. This led me to start taking her outside for her potty breaks off leash, she has always been great coming to me at dog parks around distractions of other dogs and people, and just a super good girl. Then one day, as usual, just like the past several days, we took her out front (unfenced yard) to go potty. Someone accross the street was chopping wood. She zoomed out, in the road, in front of a car, and my fiance had to stop traffic. Coco would have been killed. We yelled leave it, come, wanna treat, you name it, she could not hear us (or did but chose not to obey).

    So for a life and death situation, I do think being protected around roads is a good idea. I have read a few stories on here of other owners who unfortunately lost their Cavalier this same way. Not that your dogs are disobedient or should not enjoy freedom, but simply there is no guarantee, like I had to discover, that your dog will not ever get distracted to the point where they simply just do not hear your commands and run infront of a car.

    As far as the fear of the other dog, maybe it has a certain smell or demeanor? Some dogs just don't like other dogs. I dont excpect dogs to make friends with every other dog they ever meet, just like with people. Maybe your dog is just put off by this cocker for whatever reason, senses something "off" about it and is playing it safe.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •