Dyna is starting to have some behavior issues with Shade gone.
Normally she is a friendly loving dog, but a little shy meeting new people. She would let Shade greet everyone first and then sneak up behind to sniff and get a quick lick in if she could. Once that little ritual was over she would body up to a person tail wagging for a pat.
Now she has become even more nervous and defensive. Tonight walking her she growled at some kids. They were 3 older boys and they were great at spending a minute to ``meet`` her. Once I introduced her the situation was defused.
IMHO it is not a discipline issue. But I do not want this to get worse. I don`t need her trying to guard me on our walks or at home. She is already the type that will go through anything and anyone to get to me.
I can bring treats along and have her stop/sit/wait and keep her focus on me, but I`m not sure that will help.
Perhaps taking her to an obedience class would help improve her confidence level and increase her ability to remain calm. Sounds like Shade was as important to her as she was to the rest of your family.
why does she have to "meet" people? Just say NO and keep moving when people ask if they can pet her- especially if she really doesn't seem to like it. I prefer dogs that have been taught to calmly walk past strange people and other dogs, totally ignoring them, vs. dogs who think they need to go meet n greet everyone.
If she realizes you're going to protect her from the strange people, she'll probably relax.
Going to a group obedience class is a great idea- no one tries to pet other people's dogs, and the dogs all practice walking with their owner while ignoring the other people and dogs. Once she's become more confident, you can work on the "stand for exam" novice exercise- this is a great exercise for teaching dogs to tolerate being touched by strangers because it teaches the dog that part of his job is to let a stranger touch him.
I will be in your shoes when my older lab goes and my younger poodle is alone. He is not very brave without his "big brother" around. Even now, if I have them split up for some reason, the younger dog is much more nervous.
I agree with the others...first, give her some time with just you to build her confidence. Then a class or something.
If her behavior is really making you nervous or she seems very anxious, there are meds she could take for awhile during this adjustment time.
Another option? Adopt or foster another dog! (enabler, I know)
Good luck. I'm so sorry for your loss.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
Thanks for the suggestions. A class is out of the question and obedience isn`t the issue. She is not making me nervous, I just want to help her relax.
I don`t ever avoid people or other dogs (unless aggressive) when walking. Same as I would not avoid obstacles when out trail riding. I will get her through the rough patch and have my happy little girl back.
Today was Golden Retriever heaven. We went for a long walk and found a small forest with a river. I wish I had brought my camera. It was so cute watching her take flying leaps off the side into the water. Zooming around as fast as she could.
She was much calmer coming home.
Hee hee, I have looked at some puppies online. I`m thinking either this summer or maybe my 40th BD in Oct would be a good time. Don`t flame me but it won`t be a shelter dog - the adoption process is not something I am interested in at all. Plus I do want to start again with a pup. Dyna is great with babies.
My suggestion would be to bring some treats, and when she gets nervous, have her step behind you (using you as the shield now, where before it was Shade) and treat from the side/behind you.
If that is not going to work, try to change what bikes/kids/people/dogs mean, by having her look at you, do a couple of nose bumps on your hand and treat.
The treats will help to lower her adrenalin and the nose bumps give her something to do that earns a treat. In addition lots of people love to see dogs do tricks and a nose bump will keep them a couple of steps back to watch.
She was much better today. Walked along and was happy to greet or pass. I think the forest runs are helping more than anything. I did bring treats, but I ended up using them to get her to stop running for a bit.