Posted by Yvonne-Spence
Feb 21, 2008
I adopted a Black Lab x from a rescue organization about 6 months ago. He is about 1 year old. He is a bright dog expept when he is around other dogs, then he suffers from anxiety, he seems to forget everything he has learned in the past 4 months. Its like he doesn't know how to behave amongst other dogs. Yet he has a couple of playmates that he is "normal" with. When I first got him, he whinned, barked, jumped up and I thought he was going to have heart failure he was so hyper. On his own he is well behaved and is very willing to please and of course is food driven, which as helped. He is very curious, fascinated and appears to like small dogs but then again being bigger and with his exhuberance he over whelms them.

I have tried taking him to Obedience classes but he is so hyper, and barks and lunges at the other dogs. Working on his own he is almost "perfect" and is great in the house. Its just this dog issue out in the big wide world.

Any suggestions?
Posted by Todd
Feb 21, 2008
Hi there and thank you for your question.

Your puppy is still quite young so i think you can accept some over exuberance at times.
He needs to learn to calm down when other animals are around. The best way to do this is to bring other dogs onto your section one dog at a time.

Don't reward your dogs over-excited reaction by offering comfort. Never praise or reward your dog while it is submitting and/or urinating, only do so when your dog is relaxed.

Remember not to shout at or threaten your dog if it starts submitting and/or urinating. Basically ignore any negative behavioral response as telling your dog off may make matters worse.

A couple of techniques to try:

Gradual Introduction

This technique is probably the best one to use.

Sit your dog next to you in a large open area that is free from distractions, such as a park.

Get a friend (preferably someone that your dog has submitted to before) to approach slowly from a distance, give your dog a tidbit when it becomes aware of the person but does not submit. Your friend should not attempt to approach too close or speak to your dog or yourself. Also it is important that you do not make any contact with your friend yourself.

I believe this type of slow introduction done many times a week over a few weeks will give you the best chance of success.

Mealtime Scenario

In some ways this is similar to the previous technique and can probably be used in conjunction with it.

Set the situation up so that you are feeding your dog when a guest arrives.

The guest should be someone that your dog knows and that person should not attempt to approach or speak to your dog or yourself. You should ignore the person completely to help your dog realize that having another person around is no big deal.

The idea behind this is that this scenario gives your dog the choice between eating and submission. Hopefully your dog will find eating more attractive.

If your dog ignores its food and submits then don't feed it until later in the day and try again.

Introduce Another Dog

It may be worthwhile introducing your dog to another dog. This other dog has to have a very calm and confident temperament. Take them on walks together in areas where there are not a lot of other distractions. If possible you should keep them together during the day for a while. Hopefully the confidence, especially amongst people, of the other dog will rub off on your dog.

Be patient with him and with some ageing he will caml down so don't despair. Good luck.