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No socialization opportunities

2699 Views 14 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Rid####
Okay, we are homebodies. We don't have friends that we are close to or do anything with, except for my neighbor. Our families don't live far but other than my Mom, we only get together with them at holidays or someone's birthday.

My mom has been over a time or two since we got Bailey (who will be 10 weeks tomorrow) and for Mother's Day we went to her house and brought Bailey with us. She followed my mom around and snuggled her on the couch. :)

We were at our neighborhood park the other day and there was a mom with some small-ish children. Bailey went toward the children in a wiggly happy sort of way and a toddler seemed interested and started to come over. I thought "Great! Bailey can meet some strangers!" The mom came over and was right with the child but when he reached out to Bailey he grabbed her by the scruff and hurt her. :( I should have known better but it's been years since I had a toddler.

After that Bailey was very timid and mostly stayed away. Anytime she tried to get close again the toddler would come at her and she'd run away. An older boy, about 5, was trying to follow my instructions to just hold out his hand and let Bailey come to him - Bailey tried and wanted to, but the toddler kept going for her.

So I'm worried that that scenario has perhaps caused major lifetime damage.

Even before that happened Bailey had started barking at people walking by our home. It's not crazy barking, she just stands there staring in an alert position and then gives a bark or two. Is that normal for a puppy? Should I be trying to correct her/stop her?
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Could the mom not hold the toddler while the older child interacts appropriately with her? I would not try to correct the barking, but I would play Leslie McDevitt's
"look at that" game from Control Unleashed. You may be a homebody, but if you want your dog to be well-socialized, she needs to meet LOTS of people who treat her appropriately. One bad experience is less likely to have a lasting effect if the dog has hundred (yes, really) of good experiences to fall back on.
Ditto. Be a homebody later, get out and socialize your pup NOW. Positive things though, take classes, go to things like elementary schools when the kids are walking to school (walk behind a group of kids with her if you can, so she can see/hear them but they're not mauling her), shopping mall entrances, you name it. Get positive experiences with new things as much as you possibly can, if you are out and find someone with a kid in a stroller, walk her beside the stroller with the kid in it and drop treats so it seems those strollers dispense food - you could even put a treat on the footrest for her to find if the parent agrees.

Avoid toddlers since they do tend to grab, or don't let them get that close. She's also at the right age for a fear period so that might be part of it, but don't let that cripple her for life.
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I have a 16 week old puppy who naturally barks/growls at strange people/objects/animals.

Socialization has to become a big priority. There have been some good suggesitons for socializing to people/children. When my pup meets toddlers and other small children normally the mother will hold them or I will get down to their level with them and remind them to be gentle because she's just a baby. I let them put out their hand for Lily to sniff/lick and if they seem gentle enough they can pet her.

Take the dog with you to as many places as its been suggested. Mall enterances, schools, any popular spot etc. You can enroll in puppy classes at 12 weeks old when the dog has had its second set of puppy vaccines. This is a good way to meet other people and dogs.
I'm a homebody too -- and then I got my puppy and BOYYY do we go out a lot! We started classes with him, he goes to two social groups a week, I joined a breed specific meetup (for my mutt-boys predominent breed) and started attending their monthly get togethers, I ask people to come over, I bring him to the park, we go to the pet store just to walk around, next weekend my friend is having a housewarming and the first thing I asked? CAN I BRING THE PUPPY?! (She has a small dog too) I also posted on Cragistlist looking for people with puppies to be friends with my dog, and we met a very nice local woman who has a small breed pup who Hamilton adores, and she comes over maybe once a week or so weather permitting and they run around like maniacs together for an hour. Later this month we're going to visit my family, go to my college reunion, and he's going to meet a baby (my nephew) and some more kids who are close to my family. I try to take tons of opportunities to get him socialized now. Next winter when it gets cold again, we'll be couch monkeys together. For now? Suddenly I'm Mrs. Outgoing!

If kids want to pet Hamilton, I let them, but I also kneel down on the floor with him and make sure I have really good control over him, and can get him out of the situation if the kid starts getting too rough. He hasn't even tried to bite a kid yet, even when they grab at him, but I'm still super cautious!
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Yes--get out NOW. The most critical period of a dog's life is 7-12 weeks-you have only 2 more weeks. My rule is this:

Every week between 7 and 12 weeks the dog should:

-meet 7 new people
-go 7 new places

If you stick to that you'll be ahead of the game but you have some catching up to do.

I do NOT allow other people's children under the age of 6 to interact w/ my dogs and when I DO allow children to interact with them, they are given strict rules to follow. Most kids (6 and over) are great about this. Toddlers? No way. Unless they have been carefully and correctly raised w/ dogs they WILL do something wrong and either screw up your socialization or get bitten (and screw up your life!).

If I were you I would put EVERYTHING else on hold and make the next few weeks COUNT. You want many positive experiences--avoid putting the dog in situations you aren't 100% sure about but find plenty that you ARE sure about. Manufacture them if you must.

My ex husband made me laugh--he was walking our then 10 week Airedale in our semi-sketchy neighborhood (no longer live there) and he ended up giving a bum $5 to give Becket treats. He figured (correctly) that for that kinda $$ he could make the guy do what he wanted and it was a great opportunity for Becket to see that sometimes abnormal-looking people are OK (if Dad says they are). Now THAT'S commitment (and that dog was ABSURDLY well-socialized, esp. for a "hard" breed with a personality on the "harder" side of normal).
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GET out NOW with your dog and keep getting out with you dog. Dont stop, or the dogs manners stop too.

I live rurally and have just moved and no nobody yet.

I used (school gates for teaching that kids are cruel, but you must be nice to them, i used local city walking up n down pavements, i used the cities busiest train station and hung around out there at rush hour, i used the local dog training club, i used taking mine to work once i had permission to do so.

I have a rottweiler who thinks everyone wants to rub her tummy, and every dog wants to chase and play with her. She goes up to anything and everyone wanting to be loved and played with. I have a GSD that is the size of some people (asian) here, and he doesnt care about other people and dogs, he only has eyes for those he loves and his frizbee.

And on saturdays, we go into town, where both dogs sit nicely, as the mediteranian lady will bring them a washing up bowl filled with milk froth, and gives them a puppy chino lol

I was sick early in the year, after 4 weeks of not socialising, the dogs were fidgetty at the cafe. See how fast it breaks down, you must keep this training going for the remainder of the dogs life..
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Please try your best to socialize your dog as much as you can! Lack of socialization is the root of about 70 % of the problems we've had. We live rurally too, about 20-30 min into town, and to make matters worse, when we got Caeda and should have been socializing her like crazy I was barely working due to a neck injury and on some horrid medications (bad time to be dealing with an excited pup, but at least I was home for potty training!). I sorely regret not taking Caeda more places more often. Even different areas outside at very least ...socialization doesn't just include people, its noises, places, environments, smells and sights. Trips in the car too are important, make it positive. Caeda used to also vomit...adding to our lack of socialization...she has since stoppped, had we done it more often I think she would have stopped sooner!
We have ended up in a major game of catch-up with a dog that is MUCH harder to control at a year old than she was when she was a few months. If you don't socialize now you'll likely regret it later!
10 weeks is young, you do have a fair amount of time, so no need to panic, yet at the same time definitely make a concerted effort, but it doesn't have to be hundreds of people every day.
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I'm not outgoing either, and all of my vacations are staycations, because both my husband and I are homebodies. But a dog makes socializing easy! Everyone wants to pet the puppy and talk about the puppy, which is great, because I suck at small talk.

Don't worry, you can catch up. Just get out there. Your pup doesn't need to bond with everyone, but he does need to see people- black and white, short and talk, fat and thin, in wheelchairs, using crutches and canes. A dog's natural reaction to the unusual is to make it go away. That can lead to biting in a severely unsocialized dog. Socialization reduces the number of unusual things for your dog to react to.

You can socialize an adult dog, I've been doing it with Kabota, but it's harder and not as successful. Fortunately, Kabota is inclined to run away, not attack, but I hate seeing him afraid of everyday things. That's no way to live.

As to the alert barking, some dogs do that. You can train her to stop on command, which I recommend. Alert barking is quite useful, you just want to have control of it.
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1. No lifetime damage - just one instance with one toddler... easy to forget if replaced by good experiences.
2. Bailey may be going through a fear cycle, so she's trying to determine friend or foe - socialization establishes that everyone is friendly, for now.
3. At 10 weeks, I'm not sure if Bailey should be out and about, walking where other dogs were, because she hasn't had all three sets of vaccinations. However, the best bet is to ask your Vet about Parvo and Distemper... In some parts of Texas, it's not as much of a concern...But be safe.
4. The magic phrase that I was taught: "Please don't do that, because Bailey is in training." Then, block access, and suffer the ostracism of a stranger that you may never see again. .... But you will have protected Bailey from harm.
5. Socializing - Attach a small box to your fence. Make a large sign: Please help me train my dog: Say "Hello Bailey" and toss her a treat.
Then make sure that you supervise, as you ask strangers that walk by (and would normally be barked at) to interact with your pup.
6. You can go to your Vet's waiting room and do something similar. As well as PetsMart, and maybe Home Depot.
7. You can also throw a puppy party, inviting Vet Techs from your vet's office ... or other Vets.
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Socialization means meeting different things not just people.

just want to 2nd or 3rd the notion that socialization is about meeting new and different things, sounds, smells, sights. as well as people and other dogs. I do take a young unvaccinated puppy out for socialization, but I don't go to PetSmart or the local Dog Park. The risks of the puppy catching something totally treatable are far lower than the pup spending the rest of it's life in fear due to poor socialization.

I do go to playgrounds, school entrances, parks, shopping centers, grocery store, outdoor pedestrian malls. I like places where I can ask the dog to walk on strange surfaces (Metal man hole covers, storm grates, wood boardwalks, plastic fencing that's down but safe and etc.) I want the pup to see different things.... a large stuffed horse outside the toy store gave my now 16wk old pup pause. The cow statue also got him as well.

I am a total homebody. So I get it. In 3 yrs of living in this town I have few friends to invite over. But in the first month in my house the pup did get to meet the electrician, the plumber, the carpenter, the guy who works on the fire extinguishers. All in a normal routine (normal if your sink breaks and other stuff needs work)

My pup was terribly car sick (before meds and counter conditioning) and I used to go sit on my street corner curb and watch the world go by with him.
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Thanks you all for your suggestions. This week we've been taking Bailey for an evening walk around our neighborhood "park" - it's really a very large field with trees, a swing set and a slide - but in the evenings it's pretty active with men playing soccer and mothers and children hanging out. I've been trying the treat idea where I give Bailey a treat when she looks like she's about to bark at someone or something that she should not be afraid of and that is working very well. She's already stopped barking at everyone she sees.

She really is a very good dog. She will be 11 weeks old tomorrow. It's so awesome to see her becoming obedient. She's starting to sit now when we say it, whether we have a treat or not, and if she's about to do something she shouldn't and I say "No Bailey" she will stop! I've been trying to keep her out from under my bed and so every time she goes under there I fish her out. This morning she grabbed her Bully Stick (a very stinky thing!) and ran through the kitchen to my room with it. I went to find her and she was just about to go under my bed. I brought her back to the living room, turned to stir my coffee, and I hear her running again toward my room. I said "No Bailey" and she stopped and laid down!

I'm not outgoing either, and all of my vacations are staycations, because both my husband and I are homebodies.
This is us exactly! Our idea of an awesome date is taking our girls to Grandma's, getting takeout Chinese, and going back home to rent a movie on Vudu. :)
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another thought, as the parent of a 5yo child and as someone who lets toddlers pet my 3yo and my 16 week old dogs I have a suggestion. When a child wants to pet my older dog I ask my dog to sit, then I kneel down next to her and hold her collar. My fear is that she will jump up on the kid. She is a confident dog who loves children. But for the puppy, who's a little bitey these days, I do the same, sit, kneel and then I hold a treat in front of the pups mouth and let him mouth it while the kids pet his shoulder from his side. That keeps his teeth off of the kids, and builds a positive association for the dog.... so he thinks that little kids mean yummy treats will appear. I never leave the house without meatballs (buy the cheap ones frozen at grocery store) , or cut up hot dogs or Mozzarella string cheese sticks when I'm out with the little guy.
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For the barking, I redirect my dog's attention & tell her to "relax." She understands that command very well...once I tell her to "relax" she stops barking. I think it is good to have a dog that alerts you but it is also good to have a dog that stops barking on your command. It might be something to work on in regards to training.

As for socialization, I have found different situations that have worked as great training opportunities. I adopted an abused adolescent dog so she was VERY, in fact EXTREMELY nervous around anyone other than me and my husband at first. The first thing I started doing was walking around the neighborhood with her. I would allow strangers to approach her but I coached them through it and explained that she was abused and very shy. At first she would close her eyes and lower to the ground, expecting to be hit :( But now she cautiously allows strangers to touch her...on her terms (and mine, with the coaching). Several months after I adopted her I started exposing her to the local hiking trails and outdoor restaurants. I also take her with me to the groomer and recently I took her with me to a hotel. She is always wary at first but the more I take her out, the more confident she becomes. You always have to be cautious of how people approach your dog...always be there to coach and to step in if/when it is necessary.

The worst thing you can do is NOT socialize a dog with fear issues...it will only get worse. I hope you seek out socialization opportunities...good luck!
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This is a forum that only wants to hear the thing's they agree with.
If you have other idea's then don't say them or they will ban you.
This is the truth.
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