Meeting other dogs

brenda taulbee

New Member
Hello all,
My roommate and I recently found a puppy. After a week of checking newspapers, calling shelters and looking for posters with no results, we have decided to keep her. We believe she is about 10 weeks old, and a border collie/lab mix. Because she was a stray we have no idea what her socialization history is. Kenzii is very friendly with people, and will warm up to them almost immediately.

However, with other dogs she is very tentative. She will crouch low, tail between her legs (she acts frightened, rather than submissive. She won't expose her belly to the dog), or try to hide behind one of the people present. We have tried introducing her to puppies her own age, and older more mellow dogs, but she reacts about the same no matter who she is meeting. Any advice on how to socialize her without scarring her for life?


Jean Cote

Staff member
Do you have a friend who has also recently gotten a puppy? This would be the ideal situation, where you could let them play together and form a bond.

Another solution is to take puppy training classes - most of them let the dogs interact with each other at the end of the training class so that they can develop their interacting skills. And of course, you would be getting some valuable training and information at the same time.


New Member
Hi Brenda
I know you will love your new baby.
My dog has a story almost like yours too. She was 5 wks old when I found her in the middle of winter. burrrr... You are so good to take her in, exspecailly with your busy schedule of school too. Mine, too is boarder collie/lab mix... Now she looks like a "Black" Golden Retriver.

Mine too was a little skiddish around other puppies when I got her... My best success was to have her with even younger puppies than her, (smaller than her) She didn't seem so frighten, to work with the same other puppy,often. Then slowly would have my other friend bring her dog over, or go to her house.... (When she was here she seemed to do better... I too, believe, her "puppy Classes" where the best decission I could have ever of made for her.

She does great with other dogs and she does do pretty good with my 2 cats. She still kinda scares the cats, in her excitement and happy time... She doesn't want to eat them... lol Just wants them to play with her. Yes, they do tease each other.

Back to topic, I didn't know Gypsys history either. I found Gypsy was still fearful around new people and other animals for about 3 weeks. In puppy class, she got alot better. By the way this a perfect age for your baby, now.

I went to a few of the local shops, found one I really liked... ( Yes, I did go check out several before choosing one.) I went without Gypsy first to them, liked set up in Pet Smart. Now they even have a larger area dedicated to training. I talked to trainners, walked through the shops, checking cleaniness & looked for safety issues and asked alot of questions.

Gypsy soon felt comfortable in enviroment and even think she was having so much fun I think she forgot she was around other dogs. In the class I choose, our trainner was our coach. It was fun. I wished I could have afforded to continue her training classes. She did graduate kindergarten, I have done alot of reading and working with her since. She does great. ( That is wonderful of your ideal, to offer good affordable trainning) You will be BLESSED. *..*

Before and after class sometimes would even get lil puppy play breaks, those were great... that is when she really learned how to be social and play fair and nice... She still has alot of fun in her play dates.

I personally don't take her to doggie parks... I fear of un-social mean dogs. (in BIG CITY) So I make it a point to share puppy sitting time for a friend as, in turn when I do need to go out of town.... the favor is returned. I to have other friends we take our dogs with us to dog friendly friends too.

I would like to add, Leash walking, in Pet Smart also helped alot.

I hope this helps you....
Our best...
Paula & Gypsy.


Honored Member
Staff member
Zeke was exactly the same way when I got him. He was absolutely terrified of dogs larger than him and would cower and shake near them, and would do the same without the shaking around small dogs as well. I was extremely careful in introducing him to Rusty, and eventually they got to be good friends.

Depending on how bad she is, training classes could be overwhelming. Find a trainer that you like and discuss Kenzii with him/her. Let him/her meet Kenzii and they can advise you as to whether or not classes would benefit her. If you know of someone with a friendly dog, ask them to accompany you at your home. She should feel a bit more confident and relaxed in her own home or yard. Try to make being with another dog an unbelievably fun, happy event. Keep the other dog at a distance until Kenzii is comfortable, and reward her for acting more confident. Do not coddle her, stroke, or coo to her. This is rewarding the timid behavior. Slowly let the other dog come closer(this could mean waiting for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour...who knows), but never let them come closer unless she is comfortable. Eventually you will be able to bring the dog right in next to her. If she just isn't relaxing, move the other dog further away. You don't want to terrify her. Work at her pace. Be patient.

I agree that walks at Petsmart could be great for her. With Zeke I found a not too busy park after our first trip to Petsmart, and took him there a lot before returning. The park was big and open, so their was a lot of distance between him and the other dogs. This helped him get used to them further away, and I could easily control how close I was to them. At Petsmart however, it was very easy to be strolling comfortably down an aisle and have a playful, untrained, 150 pound Mastiff round the corner with his owner in tow. I thought Z was going to have a heart attack. It is easy for the dog to become "trapped" in the busy aisles, and you can't always avoid the other customers. Frequent visits to the park first were great for Z. Also, you can call Petsmart and simply explain that you have a very timid dog you are trying to socialize and ask when their least busy times are, or if they are not busy at the moment. The Petsmart employees in my area have been very understanding and more than willing to help. =) There are plenty of other stores that allow dogs in as well that could be good for her but have very little dog traffic. Some home improvement stores allow dogs, but it varies. Livestock equipment stores often allow dogs in their stores(places like Tractor Supply Company, Gebo's, feed stores, and the like) and tend to not have very many dogs there.

Good luck to you and Kenzii. You have a long road ahead of you. :dogsmile: If you aren't already a patient person, she will definitely teach you to be. ^^

brenda taulbee

New Member
Thanks guys,
Kenzii and I took our first trip to Petsmart today. One of the employees had her border collie at work with her, and they seemed to warm up each other as we shopped. She also spent some time with my roommate's parent's dog. Maggie is a very exuberant Bernese Mountain Dog cross, but Kenzii handled it very well.

Also, a friend of mine recently adopted a Yorkie/Chihuahua puppy, and we are arranging a playdate for the near future. We're hoping the smaller dog won't intimidate her so much. Once she's comfortable with a few dogs, I think we'll look into some puppy classes. Anybody have an opinion on Petsmart's classes?


Honored Member
Staff member
I have yet to meet a displeased Petsmart customer who took their classes. I've watched the trainers in my area and spoke to them(although I have never personally taken my dogs to their classes) and they have all been wonderful. We have two Petsmart locations here, and I've been to other Petsmarts in the state as well. They only use positive reinforcement and I've never seen a trainer so much as raise their voice with an unruly dog. It's also good because your dog is learning in a fairly distracting environment, so it's easy for them to learn to stay focused on you. As far as I can tell, they do a great job. :dogsmile:
Glad her first trip went well! Keep up the good work with Kenzii. :dogsmile:


New Member
my dog rosie gets scared of other dogs too she got better after a couple of lessons at puppy school and a lot of the dogs there were scared too so as jean said it was an ideal situation rosie is still a little scared at first but she settles down and before you know it she is playing games with the other dog

im glad all went well when you went to your friends house and when you meet up with maggie!sorry i can't give you a few puppy school names i don't live close enough to you i am sure she will settle down soon and you will be doing puppy classes before you know it