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Socialization Issues!!!! ADVICE NEEDED!

853 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Analogdog
I have had Pippet (my black female lab) for about 2 months now. I got her at 6months old. She had been given some training. She has a great temperment and love to be around people and dogs, which is partially the problem. Her obedience training is coming a long nicely. She is very consistent of sit/stay and down/stay. her recall is very good with low to moderate distractions. Im using lure/reward training methods from ian dunbars books. My issues are the following ...

1) Recently, she has been nipping at peoples clothes/hands when she runs over to greet them. i seems like she is so excited to see them and this is her response to that. ive been trying to remedy this with having people ask her to sit before she says hello and have people not pet or play with her while she is hyper. Am i on the right track?

2) She has terrible greeting manners with other dogs. She runs up to them with such excitement. If she is on leash she pulls like crazy. Choking herself and gets up on her back legs, trying to get over to them. once she gets there, she sniffs and nuzzles around the other dogs. There is also a little mouthing on the ears but she does grab or bite. any dog that doesnt like that has told her and she seems to back off. Ive been keeping her at a distance and having her sit and telling her to be calm as i pet her. If the other owner seems into it i let her get closer and then closer but once she gets with in 5 feet she lunges and rushes in to say "HI!!!!!!!" How can i get her to do this in a calmer way and not be so aggressive with the other dogs.

3) This is the most important one: she is fearful of children. I want to get assistance from people with little children to help me socialize her with them but i am weary of it. I doubt that she would hurt a child but i rather air on the side of caution. But are there any activities that i can use to ease her into being friendly with children? I was thinking about bringing her by a play ground and just hang around the outside till she is comfortable. But that kinda all i got ...

thanks in advance for reading this and any advice.
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You probably want to start with a single, quiet child before you go for the playground. Your dog sounds a little high strung/excitable so a playground might be a final graduation kind of exercise. Seeing all those kids running around and yelling might teach her that kids are either very scary or things to be chased and played with. I would start with the child of a friend if thats possible, have them calmly toss treats from a safe distance with the dog leashed. Then when shes totally comfortable (may take a few sessions) move forward slowly until your dogs can smell the little one and maybe a gentle pet. Go slow, don't want to overwhelm her. I don't know the level of fear she has but if there is ANY doubt I would start with a muzzle, better to find it wasnt necessary than to realize after the fact that it was...

I'm not a dog trainer so these are just ideas, the best idea would probably be to consult a trainer/behaviourist.
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My first thought is to suggest that you speak to the trainer that you are currently working with for her obedience training. They will know more about her temperament than a new training could hope to know. Your current trainer could also supply you with a referral to someone else who can help you. The greeting of dogs you describe sounds like the way puppies do it, with lots of submission, which it sounds like there is. At 8 months your dog is still a puppy, but should be growing out of it. Fear of children is a common problem with dogs, I deal with it too. I suggest a good book on fears, which has a chapter on fear of people including children is Help for Your Fearful Dog by Nichole Wilde. I am working with this book and getting good results.
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