How can I cure my dogs' fear of other dogs?

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I’ve had two shih tzus for the last three years and they are still deathly afraid of 99% of the other dogs they meet. I’ve tried several methods, but none have worked. I’ve tried giving them treats as soon as they notice another dog, but they have no interest in the food. I ignore them when they try to hide behind me and move away. I’ve tried the Cesar Millan "tsst," to no avail. I’ve also tried distracting them with play with another dog at a distance and slowly inch closer to the other dog. As soon as they notice the other dog, they run away or cower.

I thought I was on to something when I started introducing them to a friends dog gradually. We started by having them on opposite sides of a fence and about 10 feet from each other. Slowly, over the week, we would move them closer until my dogs were fine being right next to my friend’s dog. When it came time to have them on the same side of the fence my dogs reverted to their old behavior.

I’m at a loss as to what else I can do. If anyone has any serious advice, I would greatly appreciate it.
Size doesn’t matter to my dogs. They once treated an 8 week old dachshund as if it were a fire breathing dragon.

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2 Responses to “How can I cure my dogs' fear of other dogs?”

  1. Hannah Delderfield says:

    you should gather a friend who has a equally as small dog in a quiet a comfortable place such as a family home or a local park with no other dogs, when the dogs are equally sised it is easier for them to get used to them as they do not feel over dominated by the bigger dog, have the dogs on leash and slowly walk towards eachother… pet the other dog so your dog can learn from you and know that the other dog means no harm, after petting it let your dog sniff your hand and get used to the other dogs scent, maybe then they will get more confident and attempt to greet the dog by a usual but sniffing.
    good luck!

  2. Scarlet says:

    Shitzus are pretty small dogs so this isn’t too uncommon. I’d definately try introducing them to dogs smaller than they are ( maybe even bunnies or hamsters too……just watch over them). The calmer the other dog is the better ( you definatley don’t want them to be barking or jumping-up just yet) Good Luck~!

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