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I posted a similar question 6 weeks ago, but the problem has gotten worse. Last time I was told that it was my problem and not the dog's; while that might be true, I would still like to improve the situation.

Chloe is a 6 month old Toller. She was the smallest of a litter of 8, and would often play by herself rather than get into the scrum of sibblings. That is actually why we chose her; she seemed much calmer than the others.

We had her in puppy classes at 8 weeks and did fine. I took her to puppy playtime at Petco and arranged playdates and she played normally. At about 4 months she refused to engage with groups of dogs, but would play with any single dog. Now she won't play with even a single dog. If they try to engage her, she growls at them. She will still play with her sister who lives near us, but no one else.
The trainer at Petco says she is the smartest dog she has encountered, but suggested that she isn't welcome back at playtime.

She loves all people and has never growled at anyone. Well, we had a problem with resource guarding a few months ago, but are over that.

As you can see from the photos, we also have a 16 year old. At first it was a serious problem because Chloe would try to play with Jessie, and Jessie just wanted to be left alone. We had to put up barriers to keep them apart. Now they get along, occasionally sniffing each other, but otherwise leaving each other alone. Oddly, they are much friendlier outside than inside.

So, that is my story. Any advice (other than just keeping her away from other dogs) would be much appreciated.
 

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I'd continue with training her in class because she is smart and wants to learn new things.

And I'd keep her away from other dogs. Sassy was reactive but staying in a class and getting comfortable with other dogs meant she could be trained through open obedience skills and did fine in high levels of agility. So being around other dogs with something to do rather than play was a good thing for my dog.
 

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You should never try to push a puppy or dog into anything they are not comfortable with. The result is often creating an issue where you'd normally have apathy or a dog who got over it. So, yeah, keep doing training and keep letting her NOT play if she doesn't want to. Don't stop exposing her to other dogs but don't even gently 'encourage' her to interact with them if she doesn't want to. Otherwise you're going to have a dog who is flat out afraid of or aggressive toward other dogs instead of, at worse, apathetic. Be around them, but do your own training with her or let her do her own play on her own.
 

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She never sounded like a very dog-social pup and it is very likely that she will not be a dog-social dog. This doesn't mean she will be fearful or aggressive. But she may simply prefer to be left alone by other dogs. Not uncommon.

I would encourage, at your dog's pace, short and sweet introductions. She meets a dog in a park? Gently praise while they sniff and then move along. The more you remain stagnant in a situation where a dog is not thrilled, the greater chance for a reaction. Remember, you CAN'T change how much your dog likes other dogs. You CAN change your dogs reaction so she learns to calmly move away rather than aggress or become defensive.
 

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I'd just like to know one thing - WHY is it so important for *you* that your dog 'play' with other, random dogs? She has a comfortable relationship with your other resident dog, she (at least at this point) is pretty non-reactive towards other dogs as long as they stay out of her 'personal space bubble', she has one buddy dog (her sister) that she likes to actively engage with, so........ where's the problem? Seriously! What are you looking for?

Take her to training classes so she can continue to be around other dogs in a controlled environment (without having to directly interact with them) This will help her continue to be NON-reactive. Take her to places (like Petco) where she can SEE other dogs, but does NOT have to interact with them. Work on focus during these interactions. Make the sight of another dog the cue to pay serious attention to YOU (not them!)

Again, I'll ask - WHY does she need to 'play' with other dogs? If it's for YOUR benefit - yeah, that's not a reason. The more you push her to play/interact with dogs that she clearly does NOT want to, the greater is the risk of making this a worse problem (bring on the barking/lunging/growling/hysteria at the mere sight of another dog!) Is that really what you want?
 

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That's what happened with my puppy... She was doing great at puppy play classes then got more and more frustrated when she was restrained and the other puppies were getting close to her, and now she's dog reactive on the leash... but completely fine off leash. I went once or twice a week and after the 6th session ended up giving up after she tried to bite a puppy that got close to her... (with whom she was playing nicely 2 minutes earlier too). Just so disheartening when you're trying to socialize your dog and it backfires on you...
 

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I am putting this out there because it seems relevant after Franci mentioned socialization.

Socializing a dog does not mean you teach the dog to love and want to play with dogs, people, cats, children, whatever. It is, quite literally, just taking the dog out, exposing them to those things and helping the dog to be comfortable and confident with them/in their presence.

It is REALLY easy to 'socialize' a confident friendly dog into a frustrated one who reacts out of frustration when they stop being able to play with everything/one in the world, or to 'socialize' a less friendly dog right into fear by forcing the issue.

Exposure. That's all socialization is. Not playing with all the dogs and having all the people give them food, just exposure so they are comfortable in the presence of stuff.
 

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I am putting this out there because it seems relevant after Franci mentioned socialization.

Socializing a dog does not mean you teach the dog to love and want to play with dogs, people, cats, children, whatever. It is, quite literally, just taking the dog out, exposing them to those things and helping the dog to be comfortable and confident with them/in their presence.

It is REALLY easy to 'socialize' a confident friendly dog into a frustrated one who reacts out of frustration when they stop being able to play with everything/one in the world, or to 'socialize' a less friendly dog right into fear by forcing the issue.

Exposure. That's all socialization is. Not playing with all the dogs and having all the people give them food, just exposure so they are comfortable in the presence of stuff.
THIS!!! Completely & totally!! IMO, there have been more dog issues created in the name of 'socialization' than have been solved!!

Goal = comfortable around **whatever** NOT 'I must interact in whatever way I see fit with **whatever**'
 

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I've said it before, but, IMO a dog that is uninterested in playing with other dogs-- uninterested, not scared, not aggressive or reactive, just plain uninterested-- makes for one of the easiest dogs to handle. The dog focuses on you, the dog ignores other dogs on walks, the dog doesn't start problems with other dogs.

I agree with everyone else. Continuing training, continue exposing her to the general presence of other dogs, continue walking her in public around other dogs, just don't make a big deal of trying to play with or even much interact with other dogs. If she shows interest in meeting a dog that you know (not a strange dog on a walk who is also on a leash) then a short, low-key playtime might be good. But all on her terms.
 

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I agree that dogs don't need to play with other dogs or even run with them. Just being with you as owner/ handler while going places. Out for a walk, to the dog friendly store, following you around at home and to ongoing obedience dog classes. Going to the dog park is just asking for problems. Dogs don't need this. They are not kids.

Turn the tables....what if you hate football and you are taken to football practice and expected to join in? Or you don't like going to an opera but you are forced to go " because it is classic training."? I would think you might voice displeasure or stuff it and be grumpy...maybe worse...start an argument. The same with dogs....and kids. Forcing them to do something like this is asking for problems.

There are everyday things that the dog will encounter that he should be ok with. So you can work up gently to these so they don't make the dog uncomfortable.
 

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She doesn't sound shy at all...just not a big fan of playing with other dogs. And that's fine. She doesn't have to. There are plenty of dogs who do not like playing with other dogs. They're fine. They still go places with their owners, go to classes, go to stores, they just are not interested in interacting with other dogs. And a growl is a very low-level "hey, I don't want to play" that shouldn't be ignored--most dogs seem to get the hint, luckily.

And if she gets along with your other dog, that's good. They don't need to play, either. An agility competitor in my club has a dog that does not like other dogs, and she goes to classes, competes, and the dog lives with two other dogs. They don't play, but they can live together. She can still do stuff with her dog, and its fine.

Pushing your pup to interact with other dogs will only worsen the problem. It's likely genetic, and little you do in the way of socialization will fix it. I would be focusing on rewarding her for ignoring other dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We won't be going to Puppy Playtime anymore. That is nearly her only chance to see other dogs, as there aren't any around here. But of course if there aren't any around here, she doesn't have to like dogs; right?

I just see how much she used to like playing with other dogs, and how much she still likes playing with her sister, and think she is missing out on something important. But since there isn't anything to be done about it, I will just let it go.

I appreciate everyone's help on this.
 
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