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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi I read the forum all the time, but this is my first post.

Last night my puppy hurt her leg. It got stuck between some rocks. I got her free pretty quickly. She yelped at first, and then limped for a few minutes but then stopped. I know she still hurts because she has trouble laying down. But is not limping, does not yelp jumping on or off the couch, and will let me move her leg and touch it (my pup is really - um assertive - if her leg hurt she would NOT have let me do that).

She does seem upset. She is pacing, and panting. She did not sleep at all last night. She is not an overly cuddly dog, but really wanted to be close and snuggle. So I think she is scared and wants some love. I understand that.

So now for the question. Books and trainers tell you that if your dog is acting scared or upset you should try not to coddle them, because it tells them you are scared too and that they have a reason to be upset. That you should act calm and ignore the behaviour...

But she is hurt and upset... I am not sure how I should act towards her. What will most benefit her? I feel guilty not coddling her, but if that is only going to make her more stressed then I cant do that. What are you supposed to do/act when your dog is upset?

Hope that makes sense.

Oh I want to add that if she isn't acting better by this evening I will bring her to the vet. I decided not to bring her in today because she does not appear to be hurt, just stressed out - and I would rather not stress her out more by bringing her to the vet. But if nothing changes then I am bringing her in.

Thanks (sorry this is long)
 

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I'm probably the one person on any dog forum who will say this, but... when my dogs are frightened or upset, I do comfort them. I don't coddle them in a way that indicates that I'm fearful too, or in a way that reinforces fearful behavior, but instead I try to be confident and soothing at the same time. Sometimes I'll ask for kisses, which they do gladly, with tail wags, and distracts them from whatever they're fearful of.

I can honestly say I can't think of anything they're fearful of any more, even when one of them got hurt the other day... so it seems that the "don't comfort them when they're scared" theory doesn't hold water. I suspect that that theory was developed by someone who believes dogs don't experience emotions like fear or love, that they only exhibit behaviors that we project to be those emotions. IMO, that is bunk. I used to believe that too, just because that is what I was always taught, but after having dogs for most of my adult life, I have zero doubt that my pups experience emotions, and if they need some comforting, I'm going to give it to them! I love having the confident, happy pups that results from this approach. :)
 

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Good Answer! and you're right, dogs do know emotions and they do need the comfort. Maybe this will help as well if you can do it. A tub of warm water and a massage if the dog will allow it.
 

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If she still seems to be hurting on Monday, I would take her to the vet to be checked.

As far as your attitude, it's ok to pet her or give he a hug if you want. The main thing is to act as matter of fact as you can. Just like with kids dogs get hurt sometimes and your attitude will have a lot to do with how they recover.

Just give her a special treat and a hug and tell her how brave she's being in an upbeat tone of voice. I know they don't understand the words but they do understand the tone of voice and your body language.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys!

She is just fine now. Was a little off still on Friday (tired), and back to her normal puppy self on Saturday.
 
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