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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18943
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Two weeks ago my dog was attacked by another dog. The other

Customer Question

Two weeks ago my dog was attacked by another dog. The other dog grabbed my dog from behind and was shaking him. My dog was on a leash so i pulled him up to safety.. I was screaming and there was a lot of commotion. We went to the hospital (which he hates), His injuries were superficial abrasions HOWEVER, now my dog is terrified of me. I have tried everything to regain his trust but nothing works. He is extremely friendly and loving to everyone else even strangers but won't make eye contact with me and shivers if I try to pick him up. Please help!!!
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

Let me explain a little about how dogs think. To you, another dog grabbed him and was hurting him. To him, you pulled him up by the leash and thus he associates the attack with you. In addition, as his owner and boss (as he likely used to view you) it was your job to protect him from something like that happening. He likely feels he can not trust you and may even feel you caused his pain. Dogs can fail to make the connection with the other dog.

It will take you some time but you can regain his trust. You do have to be sure this type of incident does not occur again. You should always carry a hook ended umbrella that you can open if necessary to scare away another dog. It can also be used to put between another dog and your own. The hooked end can be used to grab another dog's collar and pull them off your dog. Another item is pepper spray. You can use that to get another dog to leave and often a larger will let go of a smaller dog when pepper spray hits them. It will likely get your dog as well but is better than being torn apart by the other dog. Your dog needs to know that you will not let this happen again. You need to be viligent on waks to ensure no dog sneaks up on you especially given that many dogs do sneak up behind and attack.

Over time your dog should see you being watchful and notice that you no longer let other dogs close to him and start to trust you again. You can help foster this trust quicker with obedience training. It sounds weird but as the dog learns and obeys commands, he'll gather more self confidence around you and learn to trust your behavior again. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

This will also help his behavior if he decides he needs to be aggressive to other dogs before they can attack him. This often happens after an attack. A dog will go on the offensive and start acting aggressive toward other dogs before they can attack him to scare them away. Now if he does associate the pain with you rather than another dog, he should not be aggressive around other dogs.

It will take him time to regain his trust around you, but if you are consistent in your interactions with him and start working on training and protect him in the manner I described, I'd expect him to show improvement within a couple of weeks.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks for the information. I wish I could say it was helpful however, there really were no specifics. I am already aware of what my dog is thinking ... What I don't know is how specifically to regain his trust. Of course it is not my intention to put my dog in a risky situation. It seems you are basically saying to give him time. Which is also a given.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.

I told you that you need to show the dog that you are willing to protect him and look out for him by KEEPING other dogs away from him. When you take him for a walk be sure and leave lots of room between other dogs and yourself. That is a specifi way to help show him you are protecting him and watching out for him. Do not let other dogs off leash approach him regardless of whether they are friendly or not. Unless you are schooled in dog body language it is impossible to tell if they are friendly and even then, things can change in a second. However, let me give you some dog body language sites that my help you.

https://apdt.com/pet-owners/dog-park/body-language/

http://www.pawsacrossamerica.com/interpret.html

http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/dogbodylanguage

In addition, I also told you that strict formal sessions of obedience training would help as well. They teach the dog what you expect of him which he thought he knew but now is unsure of. The training will allow him to gain more self confidence around you and not be so fearful. He's fearful because he has no idea what he did that made you jerk him up by the neck. The obedience training will help in that respect and that is also a specifi thing you can do to help speed things along.

Unfortunately dogs can't be told why you did something. You can not explain it to them. They have to judge by actions and your body language and tone. The problem is that all of those were pretty normal until the attack, so he doesn't know if it will happen again or not. I would love to have one specific thing you could do to change his distrust into trust. It would certainly help in rescue work. Unfortunately, it is a combination of training to show them what you expect and how they should act to help them gain trust in that person. I did give a site that goes over how to obedience train in a positive manner that goes over specific ways to do that for each obedience command. It even includes other things like tracking that your dog may find enjoyable and might help him enjoy being around you again. There is no magic cure and no other expert is going to tell you there is.

Now a dap collar may ease some of his anxiety, but is normally used for things like separation anxiety, noise phobias and car fears. Dap collars use pheromones similar to the ones nursing mom's use to calm their pups. This may help and they are available in local pet stores. You might try that as well but training and time will have the best effect. Time alone will work if you are consistently yourself around him and not anxious or push for his attention. However, training combined with time usually shortens the time in half and if your dog does see you taking steps to protect him by keeping other dogs at bay, it will go even quicker.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

I'm writing to see if you did use the information I supplied on body language and obedience training and if you went ahead and got him the dap collar. I'm hoping you did and are seeing improvement as a result. Of course, if you didn't use the information I supplied I wouldn't expect much improvement. Please let me know.

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