How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?
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Thread: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

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    Senior Member SaffronTea's Avatar
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    How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    Lakoda is generally becoming well behaved while on walks! I have a no-pull harness on him and we're working on him stopping at curbs, and sitting every time we stop.

    However, if he sees another dog... he's gotta get to them. The rescue I got him from says he is fine with other dogs, and we have passed other dogs in stores very close by and he is friendly... but then he'll see the same dog minutes later, and he suddenly starts growling.

    What can I do to help with this? I want to be able to pass by a dog, or a cat, and have Lakoda ignore them, and I want to be able to go to a dog park without worrying.

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    Senior Member Gally's Avatar
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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    From your description and without seeing him in person it would be hard to say if your dog is truly dog aggressive or reactive on leash. For walking on leash you can teach him "look at that" which is a training game which encourages the dog to look at the item that makes them react (in your case another dog) and then to look back at you without reacting , it helps the dog stay calm around their triggers and in the long term may help to change their feelings and behavior towards the trigger. You can google it to find the details on how to best train it.

    If your dog is truly DA then a dog park will never be a good place for him. If he is leash reactive, a combination of "look at that" and some dog socialization/training classes might help.

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    Senior Member SaffronTea's Avatar
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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    Thank you, Gally! I think he's reactive on leash, because he was in a boarding facility for 3 months, surrounded by other dogs and forced to interact with them, with no problem. He;s also been able to focus elsewhere and on people when the trainer was with him (I have 8 weeks paid for, 30 minute sessions, but I want to see what I can do on my own, as well).

    I'm googling Look At That Training Game right now. I've got a clicker and getting treats to use. Thanks!

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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    It would be good to have someone with dog experiences (preferably an experienced, knowledgeable trainer or a behaviorist / behavior consultant) evaluate your dog's reaction. That person would be able to tell you if your dog's reaction is aggression, fear, excitement, or something else. They would also be able to tell you if your dog is dog park appropriate.

    Not all dogs are comfortable in a dog park: some dogs (looking at my Katie) lack social skills or are rude and can only play with certain dogs, some dogs are dog aggressive, some are fearful or overwhelmed by the action. That's not a bad thing, just more information about your dog. There are plenty of ways you and he can interact and enjoy the outdoors.

    Here are some resources for reactive / leash aggressive dogs (Links, books, blogs etc for reactive / leash aggressive dogs and similar) compiled by Shell and others.

    This is a nice "look at that" video.
    Last edited by cookieface; 12-02-2013 at 05:56 PM.

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    Senior Member SaffronTea's Avatar
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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    Cookieface, thank you! I'm going to call a trainer tomorrow who has worked with him in the past, my mother gifted me with 8, 30-minute sessions.

    And thank you! If Lakoda is never dog park friendly, I'll be a little sad as it would be great exercise for him, but not the end of the world.

    Thank you for that link! and the video!

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    A dog park is nice, but not a necessity. If you can find a fenced field or even backyard, then you can set up play dates with other dogs that have the same energy level as Lakoda. He may not 'like' all dogs, but you should be able to find individuals that he'll play with. In my opinion, that is a better initial method for socialization that going to a dog park. After he's well socialized then he'll be better in the dog park.

    If the trainer has an appropriate dog, or knows of one, then 15 - 30 min of play would be a terrific reward after training. Plus, the trainer might let them play at other times, not counting it as part of the 30 min sessions...

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    Senior Member SaffronTea's Avatar
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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    hanksimon, by my mother's house there are a lot of people with GSD's, like Lakoda. I can set up play dates with them, I bet! Thanks for the tip!

    The trainer has a Chihuahua... little afraid Lakoda will eat it-- but we do plan on getting a group class after the private lessons. I bet I can find someone there with a similar dog who will let them play after class.

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    Good luck... let us know... Be sure to watch when two dogs are playing... sometimes 'problems' are simply due to an energy mismatch...

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    Member Brit's Avatar
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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    Have you looked for Doggie Daycares in your area? Typically you can leave them there for a few hours and they socialized and play with other dogs. We take our fury kids twice a week and it really helps them become and stay socialized. It helps a lot too to sometime not have you around, as some dogs become protective... but actually play very well with others when your not there.

  11. #10
    Senior Member SaffronTea's Avatar
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    Re: How can I socialize my dog? Stop DA?

    Brit, I have a doggy day care / training facility I am highly considering, but they want Lakoda to be better behaved, first. He needs to sit on command, and he only does so 60% of the time right now... but I am working at it! It's a great idea! That way Lakoda gets to play and socialize, and with knowledgeable people there looking out for any trouble. Thanks for the advice!

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