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I have a friend....she doesn't have a computer to come here...and my puppy has play dates with her. Bella is a 2-year-old poodle and she is VERY much a mamma's girl. She's very bashful and hides behind mama when people come around (except for her family and me and my dog Missy). She just told me she took Bella to a baseball game for her nephew last night and Bella growled at a little girl that came up to pet her. She's concerned about Bella being like this and said she's mostly been this way since she was a puppy. I'm writing for her to ask anyone if there is a way to train a dog to be more "people friendly" and not be such a clinging vine to her mama. I dog sat for her the other day with my dog Missy and as soon as Pat left, Bella was going back and forth looking at the door until I got her calmed down, laid her down by me, rubbed her neck and ears.....she finally stopped looking for mom and calmed down. But she still didn't play much with Missy as they usually do. And it's not the fact that Bella isn't around people much....we live in a senior citizen community and there are LOTS of people here she sees and lots of dog owners here so Bella can see other dogs too.

Any suggestions here or could this just be HER particular personality and not much can be done??? Thanks.
 

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It sounds like she has separation anxiety and might be a little bit fearful. I don't think this is her particular personality. If your friend babies Bella a lot, one step to help Bella to open up is for your friend to stop babying her. Stop letting her practice being afraid and hiding behind mama. Bella needs to stop being coddled when she shows fear and anxiety, this only feeds the unwanted behavior. Bella clings because your friend lets her cling, and rewards her by giving Bella attention. Yes, Bella needs to interact with more people to open up, but the people who approach her must learn to RESPECT Bella first. Some dogs don't like to being rush, and find this rude or even threatening. They have their own personal space, and if someone gets too close without introducing themselves, a dog will let out a warning. I think this is what happened when the little girl tried to pet her, Bella wasn't ready to be approached and the girl invaded her personal space.

When someone wants to pet Bella, have them ignore Bella first; no touch, no talk, and no eye contact. They must be as calm as possible. Have them kneel on the ground and let Bella investigate them. When Bella is sniffing them out, tell them not to reach other to Bella until she is done checking them out. When you think she's ready, have them extend a hand out, but go from below, do not let them pet Bella on top (this can be scary for a small dog). You want them to be as nonthreatening as possible. Have a (high value) treat on hand, give the treat to the person to give to Bella. This way Bella can form a positive association with people extending their hand.

I hope this piece of advice helps a bit, lol. Is she shy around other dogs too?
 

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Some good advice.....thank you. I will call Pat and read this to her. Yes....I didn't think about it until just reading this, but when Bella acts bashful or fearful, I have noticed that Pat picks her up. I guess this is "feeding the behavior"....right? And yes, she is shy around other dogs EXCEPT for my Missy. When she sees her, she gets excited and runs toward her. But they also have regular play dates, so they are used to each other. However, my Missy is on the other end of the spectrum and is a bit TOO friendly. She knows NO stranger and goes up to everyone....and I do mean everyone. I think she would even go home with someone if they just picked her up and took her.....that part I do NOT like.....but she's never not with me or not on a leash, so I don't think anyone could take her. I've also noticed something that Missy began doing on her own for some reason. There are neighbors here who have older dogs.....8, 10 and even a 13 year old dog. When she sees them and they begin to approach her, Missy will get on the ground completely and sort of crawl slowly to them. I've wondered why she began doing this. Sometimes Pat and I have wondered of they both have a bit of a problem on opposite ends and there may be a "happy medium" on the bashful end and the too friendly end.
 

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For Bella and other dogs, you need to find calm dogs for her to interact with. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right dog to meet, but the more she gets exposed to other dogs (the calmer the better), the more she’ll open up to them. From a distance, give Bella high value treats for look at other dogs, and as they get closer, reward her for not acting fearful. This will build a positive association with strange dogs. When they are closer enough to interact, and she is not acting fearful, reward her with treats and praise. When you have a play date with other dogs, or other dogs want to greet her, the positive association might be enough to turn her around. But if it doesn’t, here are other steps to follow. It’ll be very important for Pat not to pick Bella up or give her any attention while Bella is with the other dogs. Don’t let Bella hide behind Pat, and if she does, Pat has to step/walk away from Bella. Bella might freak out for a bit, but as long as the other dogs are not jumping on her or anything, just let her go through the motions. When she figures out she has nowhere to hide, and mama isn’t going to protect her anymore the only other option is to finally interact with the other dogs. “Nothing bad is happening, and mama doesn’t see a reason to protect me, so maybe there is nothing to be afraid of” is what Bella will think. Once Bella gets over the fearfulness, you will see her become a little more curious in the other dogs. When Bella is sniffing and approaching the other dogs, that would be a good time to praise and give rewards. Every step of progress Bella makes, give attention freely. Sometimes an owner has to learn when is a good time to pick up a dog and try to protect, or when to let the dog be.

I have the same problem with my dog; she's always too friendly and will fun into the street to get to a person or dog. She thinks everyone is her friend, lol. You cannot stop a dog from being friendly, but you can put structure to it. What you have to do is teach Missy that she must be wait for your to give her permission to greet someone; also, as a requirement before she gets to greet anyone, she must be very calm and sitting. Don't let her approach anyone on her own or she'll think it's ok for her to go to any person she pleases. When she does, the very act of reaching the person is reward enough to enforce the behavior more and more. When you pass someone, don't stop walking, don't even slow down, don't give Missy a chance to try to sniff or anything. If you have to, sometimes it helps to walk faster, or even curve around the person. The idea is to keep Missy's focus on you and the walk, and she will eventually learn that walking doesn't mean try to say "hi" to everyone.

When someone wants to say “hi” to your dog and pet it, the routine is similar to what I mentioned for Bella, but instead of waiting for the dog to warm up to the person, you must have Missy calm down. Explain to the person to first ignore Missy, “No touch, no talk, and no eye contact,” if they want to greet your dog. Now here’s the hard part…. waiting for Missy to calm down and sit calmly, lol. When she’s calm and sitting (you can tell her to sit), give her the command “Go say Hi” and encourage her to go sniff the person. Don’t let the person interact with Missy yet until Missy is done sniffing. If Missy starts to get too excited, take a step back and get Missy to sit and calm down again. When she is calm, tell her to go say hi once more. When she can calmly sniff the person, now you can let the person say hi and pet Missy. Any person you want Missy to interact with, you must give her permission to. The same goes for when people enter your home, she is not allowed to greet them until she is calm and given permission to do so. Also, keep her well exercised, it is easier to control the overexcitement when the dog is tired.

I think it's actually harder to train an overly friendly dog because everyone wants to say "Hi" to a cute dog pulling towards them. I find it's really hard to people to listen, sometimes they just rush you and are suddenly petting your dog without asking permission, or say "It's okay, I don't mind her jumping on me" or something like that and break your rules instantly. I have only gotten to the point where my dog won’t try to say “hi” to a person walking by, and will just keep walking with me. However, the moment someone gives her eye contact, or approaches us, she goes nuts, lol. My boyfriend doesn’t help much since he encourages the overexcited behaviors she has.

As for the crawling, it’s a submissive thing or maybe Missy is just acting silly, lol. Does Missy have her tail between her legs, ears back, licking her lips, or anything weird? Have the 3 dogs attacked Missy before? If yes, she’s probably trying to be as nonthreatening as possible or something like that. If not, I wouldn’t worry about it. It could be Missy just wanting to show respect to the older dogs, or maybe she’s just trying to be goofy and playful.
 

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OH! Also, you can train the "leave it" command to Missy as well. You can tell Missy to leave whatever she is focusing on alone. There lots of great youtube videos on how to teach "leave it". I recommend the videos from kikopup. "Leave it" can be applie to objects, other animals, and people.
 

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As Wicket said, it's a submissive thing that some friendly, younger dogs will do with older dogs. As she grows older, she may crawl less.

One thing not mentioned - I assume that Bella is seldom on the ground, usually carried like a baby (and Missy is seldom carried?). Carried dogs, armpit piranhas, have a greater tendency to bite unexpected. When socializing Bella, Pat should have her on a leash, and let Bella walk up to friendly people.... For now, let her approach them, rather than the reverse, when she may fear about being unable to escape.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I think it's actually harder to train an overly friendly dog because everyone wants to say "Hi" to a cute dog pulling towards them. I find it's really hard to people to listen, sometimes they just rush you and are suddenly petting your dog without asking permission, or say "It's okay, I don't mind her jumping on me" or something like that and break your rules instantly. I have only gotten to the point where my dog won’t try to say “hi” to a person walking by, and will just keep walking with me. However, the moment someone gives her eye contact, or approaches us, she goes nuts, lol. My boyfriend doesn’t help much since he encourages the overexcited behaviors she has.

As for the crawling, it’s a submissive thing or maybe Missy is just acting silly, lol. Does Missy have her tail between her legs, ears back, licking her lips, or anything weird? Have the 3 dogs attacked Missy before? If yes, she’s probably trying to be as nonthreatening as possible or something like that. If not, I wouldn’t worry about it. It could be Missy just wanting to show respect to the older dogs, or maybe she’s just trying to be goofy and playful.
You are right on the money with that one. It's been VERY hard to train Missy because everyone here knows how friendly she is and starts talking to her and calling her WAY before we ever get to them. I've had to actually pick her up to get past that OR turn around and walk the other way....then some people think you're being 'a snob'. She's doing very well with greeting people when they come in the door one-on-one, but with the groups of people, it's very hard.

I'm going to work on the rest of the advice.....very good tips here. Also....yes, Bella IS carried a lot. Many times when I look out my patio doors and see Pat "walking" Bella, she's carrying her instead....and over her shoulder like a baby. I have wondered about that and why she's doing it.

As for my Missy and the crawling toward the older dogs....no, none of them have ever attacked her or even growled....she just began doing that on her own one day. I thought maybe it was because of her being so rambunctious and saw that the older dogs would just turn and walk the other way...so she decided it would be better to approach them in a different way. She has been VERY easy to train. It's ME that's been hard to train. :-D It's so easy to give in to a cute little face or a little thing with SO much energy....but I have to let her know it's ME who is the boss....not her.

Thanks for all the great advice. I'm not sure if Pat will take any of it. We've talked about both our "problems" with our dogs before....and she is my friend, but I really think she likes babying Bella and her being a "mama's girl". But she was sick a couple of days and some others tried to walk her for Pat and Bella wouldn't go with them. That's when she began asking what to do about it. Maybe she'll do something now. We'll see. As I said, sometimes it's harder to train US than it is the doggies. They're eager to please and, as Cesar Millan says, they WANT you to be the alpha dog..it takes the pressure off of them and makes them calmer.
 
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