Scared After Scuffle


New Member
Dooley has always been one that wanted to sniff, play, and be around other dogs. In fact, at time I think he thought he was bigger than he was and would engage much bigger dogs. He would also do the "how you doing sniffing thing" and then would show some submission by turning over on his back.

Three weeks ago while my son had him at a friends house and two other dogs initiated a rough scuffle with Dooley. Although Dooley wasn't hurt physically my son said he was very scared when he got Dooley away from the other dogs. I think we saw the mental toll yesterday when we took him to the dog park to play. (FYI ~ The park we go to has an are just for smaller dogs)

Usually when we go to the park he loved being off leash there. He would greet all the other dogs that would come in and wanted to play so badly with them. Also, one side of the small dog fence is shared with the larger dog area. Dooley would love to go up to the fence and greet other dogs and run right beside them the length of the fence.

Here's what happened yesterday ~ When we entered there was a dog a little bigger than Dooley. When that dog approached Dooley he started yelping and running behind us. Also, he had interest in going near the fence shared with the larger dogs at all. He would walk around some but whenever any dog started approaching he would run behind us or between our legs for his save place.

This was not his behavior before his scuffle and it broke my heart to see him not want to play and be his spunky little self yesterday. How do we start to help him overcome this? I don't want him to be afraid of other dogs and not be able to enjoy his time off leash in the fenced dog park.

Any advice would be welcomed!


What a shame, it definitely sounds as though he has had his confidence knocked a bit and it may take a while for him to build this up again.

I would be very careful for a while with who he mixes with as the last thing he needs right now is another scare. Its good he comes to you for safety but if you can try not to make too much fuss of him as this will only reinforce that there is something to be scared of. If you are confident the other dog is OK its best just to ignore Dooley or to walk off confidently and hopefully he will get the message its OK and just follow. You could also try some extra treats while other dogs are around but be careful not to initiate any competition for the treats.

Hope Dooley gets his confidence back soon, best to take it slowly to start with.