For all new members, please check out the thread New to the Forum? What to do and forum guidelines.
"Coddling" puppies during dog-dog interactions?
  • kittymskittyms
    Posts: 21
    I couldn't find any other discussions specifically covering "coddling" with dog playtime. Hopefully this is in the right area.

    I am wondering what members think coddling is in regards to dog-dog interactions? And how do you deal with your puppy screaming during play time? My Shiba puppy (like all puppies) will give a scream when she gets scared or hurt during playtime. Normally when Kiko is having fun playing with the other dog, it's a quick squeal, then back to play time. However, in a few cases, she will scream, take time off, and act up on the injury (i.e. acting like her leg is hurt, pawing at her face, etc.). When this happens while she is playing with her dog friends, I have her come to me so I can make certain she is really uninjured (some of her dog friends are big enough to accidentally do some damage), and then either ask her to lie down and take a break or encourage her to go resume play. In another case, she was bowled over and viciously snapped at by an older male dog and went into a screaming fit, causing all the other dogs to run over to her and push at her with their snouts, further scaring her and making her scream even more. In that situation, I ended up picking her up and carrying her away from the other dogs, and then setting her down so she could see she was fine. Then she ran back to resume play with her dog friends. In both cases, other dog owners have said, "Don't coddle her!" On the one hand, I don't want her to be afraid of the other dogs, but on the other hand, I need to make sure she's okay and I do want her to come to me in the event that she ever actually is injured during a play session. I do try to be super careful not to say things in a babying voice or give her too much attention (usually I just say "I'm sure you're fine. Come here. Are you okay?", do a quick check of the supposedly injured area, and then say "You're fine." in a light tone, as if it's no big deal). What should I do when she gets dramatic with the screams during doggie playtime? Is it okay to pick her up if she is being rushed and nosed around by the other dogs when she screams? (I can't block more than one dog at a time...)

    As a side note, this is also one of the reasons we haven't participated in "puppy playtime" in her puppy class since the first time - when she gets bowled over by a puppy that's too pushy or energetic, she screams and all the big puppies come rushing over, further scaring her so she ends up screaming even more, and trying to run away and hide. In a future situation like that (i.e., if we were at the dog park), I would much rather she run to me than feel like she has to run away and hide because I won't protect her.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8583
    @kittyms - This is a great example of "know thy dog".

    It sounds like what you are doing is working for Kiko. Just remember that you want to make these experiences positive ones, so stepping in when she gets overwhelmed is absolutely justified. And you are right to want to ensure that she knows that you will protect her. Keep doing what you are doing as long as Kiko is having fun.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride