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In another thread, owners were discussing some of the issues of friendly, unleashed dogs running up to greet their leashed dog. As a soon-to-be puppy owner who wishes to provide plenty of socialization for my pooch, I am interested in how this is done.

Do you make sure both dogs are on leash? Do you take a chance and let them meet unleashed (like in a fenced dog park)?

I would assume the first step would be asking if the owner's permission and getting their assurance that their dog is animal friendly. What else do I need to know? I'm looking for answers pertaining to the general well-being of both dogs as well as proper etiquette for such encounters.
 

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Greetings on leash are mostly frowned upon because dogs cannot greet each other in a "natural" way, and the dogs may feel restrained or vulnerable while they are unable to escape on a leash. There are many dogs who are perfectly fine greeting other dogs in a natural environment where they have plenty of room to do their thing, but are terrible and reactive on leash greeters because they are afraid.

For what was being discussed in the other threads, I think it was more rude dogs who are charging at your leashed dog. Obviously, leashed dogs are going to feel a bit threatened when an off leash dog is charging at them and they can't do much to escape. Very few dogs enjoy being charged by a strange dog, no matter if they are friendly or not so friendly.

As for how to introduce dogs...there's lots of ways, lol. Most people will parallel walk the dogs for a while until they are generally ignoring each other, getting a bit closer until they are walking together. Some do it slowly through baby gates. And some dogs are fine being turned out after a brief greeting and being allowed to play under supervision. It just really depends on the dog, I guess.
 

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Puppy classes. They typically have some play time in there too where you drop the leash and puppies can play together. More and more places are doing 'free play' too.. just supervised unleashed play with other dogs (better than dog park because they typically have trainers around to correct dogs who are not playing nicely).

Honestly though... my puppy turned reactive because of classes. I took her to those things JUST for socialization, and it completely backfired... but the puppy play sessions required me to keep her on my lap when it wasn't her turn, and it drove her completely nuts... the last session she had to be completely separated from the group until it was her turn (and then she was completely fine)... but the damage was done... because unleashed puppies were going to her when she was restrained.
 

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What I do changes as the puppy grows and it's a really gradual transition.

8 weeks old? Lots and lots and lots of play dates in known to me locations (ie: controlled) to known to be appropriate and friendly dogs. Also people and kids and trips in the car and the world *IS* a play ground. No forced, or even coerced or lured interaction with anything, but lots of interaction if they want it, with some 'we're gonna sit on a bench or a blanket and observe the world go by and anyone who stops by and wants to pet and play with you can, if you're comfortable and wanna'. Leash is there only in settings without a leash, and never for on leash play. No unknown dog interaction though - both for health and to make sure things don't go south.

12 weeks? We're doing some walking around and going out and doing stuff where they might not be interacting with other dogs they see, even if they know them. Leash walks, occasionally asking for some kind of behavior - easy behavior for the dog - while we're out there. World's still mostly a playground, though, and it's like 90/10% pure play and 10% 'occasionally do something.

16 weeks? Still play and play dates (off leash!) but now in novel and less controlled environments/may be public places. There is also more walking on leash and NOT interacting with people, kids, dogs, or the environment.

By about 6-8 months old, play dates (meeting up to let dogs play) are danged rare and group training scenarios (zero interactions between dogs) are coming into play more and more, as are trips out to TRAIN in novel locations, parks, playgrounds and so on. People who want to pet and kids who want to play and sometimes dogs who want to play are still in there pretty good but increasingly rare. People need to ask, dog needs to behave somewhat before being allowed.

Basically that kind of gradual shift happens and continues until it's about 90% 'we're doing a thing, here, and you need to focus on that' and 10% 'play time' and stays there for ever.

That said, it's damned rare that I allow any kind of on leash interaction. If the dogs are going to interact, either because I want it or I can't prevent it, that leash is GONE, or at least dropped with a friendly dog. If I can't prevent it and my dog doesn't want to interact/isn't friendly, I pick them the heck up and yell like a banshee, but that's a whole 'nother topic.
 

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Puppy classes. They typically have some play time in there too where you drop the leash and puppies can play together. More and more places are doing 'free play' too.. just supervised unleashed play with other dogs (better than dog park because they typically have trainers around to correct dogs who are not playing nicely).

Honestly though... my puppy turned reactive because of classes. I took her to those things JUST for socialization, and it completely backfired... but the puppy play sessions required me to keep her on my lap when it wasn't her turn, and it drove her completely nuts... the last session she had to be completely separated from the group until it was her turn (and then she was completely fine)... but the damage was done... because unleashed puppies were going to her when she was restrained.
Yeah. Your goal is basically... build confidence and reduce or prevent frustration. The more you can arrange, and block out, and control the better. The world's not perfect, and it's a fine balance, but if you can keep those things in mind you'll probably do okay.
 

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I was convinced I was doing good socialization with my dog, when he was a puppy and young adult, by allowing him to greet pretty much every on-leash dog we saw that didn't actively act like they wanted to take his face off. Now he's six years old, and we're crawling our way through a frustration reactivity rehabilitation protocol. Sam's not aggressive, but he sure as heck goes out of his fluffy little mind if he sees a dog and he's not able to go over and say hello immediately. To the point where it's not actually safe for him to greet other dogs, because he's so amped up that he cannot and will not read the other dog's body language, and is infinitely more likely to act like a rude butthead himself. Things are improving now that I've got a handle on the problem and know what techniques best work for us, but it's a slow process now that we've got years' worth of bad habit to correct, rather than teaching him as a puppy that leash time isn't doggy social hour.

Now, this isn't the fate for all dogs who are allowed to greet on-leash. Our issues were definitely exacerbated by the fact that Sam has an excitable temperament and is prone to frustration anyway. But with future dogs I'm absolutely going to start from day one with no (or as limited as possible) greeting and play on-leash. Ideally we'll have opportunities with friends and family to arrange playdates with other (vaccinated, good with puppies) dogs in a private, enclosed space such as a yard. With enough room for the dogs to get away from each other if they need a break. Additionally, group walks in the woods, either off-leash or on long-lines, where the focus is not the dogs meeting and playing but exploring the environment together. Parallel walking and parallel play are on the list, too (dogs are doing the same activities, but too far from each other to physically interact).
 

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Socialization is NOT MEETING OTHER DOGS. It is about being around other dogs, People, different places, new things and new surfaces and focus on you. It is NOT LETTING EVERYONE PET THE PUPPY.

It is about playing with YOU in various situations. It is not about forcing your puppy to go on surfaces or things that worry him. It is about using food and toys to allow the puppy to choose to do those things.

Puppy classes that have "puppy play time" are not puppy classes I go to (and are not classes I recommend).
 

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For one definition of socialization, look up Dr. Ian Dunbar. Based on the Scott and Fuller protocols, he set up Sirius training to provide an opportunity for puppy socialization and training. Most current socialization protocols are based on his research and implementation from 40 years ago. You can find Sirius training in California, and Dunbar is based near Berkeley.
 

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For one definition of socialization, look up Dr. Ian Dunbar. Based on the Scott and Fuller protocols, he set up Sirius training to provide an opportunity for puppy socialization and training. Most current socialization protocols are based on his research and implementation from 40 years ago. You can find Sirius training in California, and Dunbar is based near Berkeley.
Dunbar has actually since rolled quite a bit of his previous advice backed and modern definitions involve less interaction and more observation and stress the heck out of not pushing or overfacing the dog. FYI.
 

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Do you have a date and a reference, or a class where he has made those changes?

This is my reference as of 2015:

https://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/...-we-adequately-socialize-young-puppies-people

"Socialization is Too Stressful for Young Puppies

Puppies are highly unlikely to be dangerously stressed by “too much” socialization and handling. On the contrary, it is a lack of early socialization that condemns many puppies to a miserable quality of life. Anxiety towards people is excruciatingly painful for dogs, especially when forced to confront people every day. Also, living with an anxious or fearful dog is not much fun for their owners, who cannot enjoy walking their dogs and even have to put the dog in a different room when people visit.

When over-stimulated or overwhelmed, young puppies simply fall asleep (to solidify the experiences) and then wake up raring to go again. "
 

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Dunbar has actually since rolled quite a bit of his previous advice backed and modern definitions involve less interaction and more observation and stress the heck out of not pushing or overfacing the dog. FYI.
That is great! Dogs are thanking him everywhere. Truly.
The more you think you know, the more you have to learn and sometimes you look back at how incorrect you were.

One of the reasons I have not taught general dog obedience classes for $$ is that very thing. I am concerned that I would really do the incorrect thing for that person and that dog and misread the situation.

Maybe by the time I retire.... from the day job...
 
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