How do we get our small dog to get along with other dogs and children?
Original Question: I love your show and listen to it regularly! I have a problem with my dog that I hope you can help me with. Cody is a Havanese and is 6 years old. When he was a puppy he was very timid. We socialized him a lot the first two years and would bring him regularly to small dog play at the place we brought him for training. He used to hide behind the chairs but slowly improved over time. We brought him everywhere with us. He has two dogs he plays well with. He has never liked big dogs but now he doesn't seem to like small dogs either. He will growl or sometimes he seems to be fine but then he goes all "Cujo". He will snap at them and is always on a leash during walks. He also doesn't like little kids and has snapped before (although never actually bitten). We keep him away from little kids but I really wish he would be able to play with other dogs. We are thinking of adopting another dog (we got Cody from a very reputable breeder) but I don't think we can until he is OK with other dogs. Cody is a low energy dog and is so well behaved at home and gentle with everyone he knows. Could you please give me some advice? And if you think I should bring him to a behaviourist is there someone in the Oakville area you could recommend? Thank you - Nadia
Hello and thanks for reaching out. I can certainly understand the uncertainty and concerns with Cody’s problems as I have a dog with his own behavior issues. These can be the most complicated of concerns brought to your veterinarian and are never easy fixes. Certainly a visit to a board certified veterinary behaviorist is always recommended. In the Toronto area, the one behavioral specialist I know is Dr. Gary Landsberg at North Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic in Thornhill. All that being said, before adding any other dogs I would visit your own vet and make sure there isn’t any underlying medical issue causing Cody’s issues. Taking Cody to meet any potential dogs, in a neutral area (not your home), may prove to be of benefit to see if they get along. I would never leave the dogs alone if you do bring one home. And if you were looking at either getting one from the breeder or adopting one through a rescue, it would be of benefit to see if there can be a foster trial to see if any issues arise in the home. Ultimately, do what is best for Cody and don’t create any additional stress in his life.
I hope this helps!
Dr. Ryan Llera
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