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I have a 14 week old shih tzu puppy that just finished all of his vaccinations about two weekends ago. I was so anxious to get him out of the house that I signed him up for a small dog play date this past Friday and then his first grooming appt the following day. The play date went well I thought. There were about 10-12 dog owners there with their small dogs/pups. At first my puppy was really scared, he would hide in the corner or under the table with his tail tucked in. He would run away from the other dogs if they get too close or want to play with him. But eventually he broke out of his shell and started getting more curious and would just stand on the side and watch the other dogs play . . . and then slowly joining in. I thought he had a good time since towards the end of the night, he was running around with all the dogs and playing. Then the next day, we took him to his grooming appointment. He was surprisingly very calm when we picked him up about 1.5 hrs later. The groomer told us that he was very nervous at the beginning but then he got more relaxed towards the end, and recommended that we go back every month to get him used to the whole grooming process. I don't know if it's because my bf is extra paranoid, but he is claiming that our puppy has gotten a lot more calm and has since then barked less. I think he is a bit calmer, but still playful. No change in his eating or playing, maybe just less whiny. I think my bf is a bit upset with me because he thinks we should baby the pup more and that we had traumatized him by introducing too much to him in such a short amount of time. So what do you guys think? Am I really forcing too much onto the puppy and now he is traumatized?
 

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Dogs can go thru a fear cycle... then all of a sudden, they gain confidence, realizing there is nothing to fear....
 

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The more safe and fun activities you can do with your dog, the better. Go back next week for another puppy party and next month for the groomers. And take him out into the real world everyday in between and after that for the next year. :)
 

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Sounds like you're doing everything right to me. The key to desensitising a dog is to put them in a situation that makes them slightly uncomfortable, wait for them to calm down and realise that nothing bad is happening, then remove them from the situation. Which you did both times :)
 

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Sounds like you're doing everything right to me. The key to desensitising a dog is to put them in a situation that makes them slightly uncomfortable, wait for them to calm down and realise that nothing bad is happening, then remove them from the situation. Which you did both times :)
Agreed.

It sounds like you're doing a good job. With some time and patience with what you're doing, I'd bet your dog will grow more confident.
 

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It's pretty common for puppies to go through a fear stage. When our puppy hit 4 months she suddenly became very cautious of strangers and new places. If we went somewhere new, her tail would tuck between her legs and she would shake. Then we'd walk around for a bit and she would be fine. Your pup will get over the fear if you continue to exposure him to new places and people.
 

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Your pup has had two big days in a row. He's tired and therefore he's a bit calmer and not as whiny and bored as before. He NEEDED this, that's what he's telling you. Keep it up, make sure you take him out for something fun, even if it only is a visit to petsmart, every few days and he'll be a much happier dog for it.
 

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i think you did a great job!! Socialization should start off more moderate - For example, I wouldn't expose them right away to a group full of screaming children, but slowly one kid, then a few more, then eventually a crowded kindergarten room. If you do too much at once they can get a little overwhelmed and might have a negative experience (ex. with a very aggressive dog). My friend's dog got hit in the eye by an aggressive dog and has hated dogs ever since...it's also because she failed to stay strong and instead cooed over the puppy so I think it kinda made it worse....It's also how you react to your puppy's reaction. If they're terrified, don't pet it, and reinforce that fear. Just tell the puppy to have fun, and remain upbeat and cheerful and he'll get more confident since he knows he has a good leader! I definitely don't baby my puppy. She's only a pound, but I discipline her the same as I would a 100 pounds, and she knows what's right and wrong. I only baby her when she's calm and submissive and doing something really great like peeing on the right spot, or lying on her back
 

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And I'm guessing your friend never really made any real effort after to re-socialize the dog. Even traumatizing events as a puppy can be reversed with time and effort.
Yeah definitely true - I think she really tried but she has a really hard time 'correcting' her dog when he's being aggressive to the other dog, like she's not sure how to handle it, I told her to see a trainer about it so hopefully she'll get some help....I bring my dog over to play with him all the time, but he still has issues with him though he's known him for a year now
 

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Tell her to take contact with a trainer that uses positive methods. Even though I think you might be able to "correct" most dogs past being dog aggressive if you have an outstanding timing, I don't think that's the best way to do it. I was attacked by my neighbors BC who was on our property, Miss Mandy came charging and stopped right in front of the BC which then attacked Mandy instead. I made it back up by screaming and throwing my shoes at it. Mandy was cool and calm through it all. As soon as the BC backed up she stood quietly at the exact spot she had been and when I started to walk towards her she just kept me behind her and stayed closer to the BC until we had flushed it out through a fence it could get under.
Mandy was, as I said, very cool and calm, but after that she started to show aggressive behavior towards all dogs looking like BCs. My first reaction was to 'correct' her ... and I corrected and corrected ... but it was still her first reaction.
Then at a show someone came to sit almost beside us, with a BC. I got my treats out and every time she started to focus on the BC I asked her to focus on me instead and she got a treat. It took less than 10 minutes before she was completely comfortable laying with her back to the BC and she has had NO aggressive tendencies towards them since ... as a mother to three and teacher I should have known to use positive reinforcement, but guess I needed a bit of a kick in the rear to let go of old methods ...
 
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