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Discussion Starter #1
So, Oso is coming up to that magical 12 week mark. This whole socialization process is mind whirling for me as a first time puppy parent (at least the first time as an adult).

Oso responds really well to new things right now and I want to introduce him to as many things as possible, yet still stay sane. Does it really help if he just sees something one time?

Any socialization regrets - things you wish you had socialized him to when he was younger?

 

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Anything and everything you can possibly expose your dog to in a positive manner should be attempted.

With my very first dog I didn't have a car. When he was older I finally got one and we both learnt the hard way that I really should have made a bigger effort when he was a puppy to get him use to that experience. It was hell on 4 wheels.

Nails. get him use to touching his paws, pressure on his nails and basically any grooming routine he may ever need to experience. Since he is a Vizsla I would highly recommend getting him use to having his ears cleaned.

You don't have to stress out about it because it sounds/looks like you are already doing a great job with him. If you happen to be going somewhere take him along and ask if your pup can come inside so he can get use to different sights/sounds. most people find it very difficult to turn down a puppy.
 

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Pretty visla!! Such a fun breed!

I socialized my dog every day from 13 weeks on (when I got her) and just by sheer genetic temperament, she's still got a strong startle reflex.

However, as much as you can do is what I would recommend.
 

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Bikes, socialize to bikes, I found out the hard way that Kodi is terrified of bikes. One day we were socializing, sitting by the door to the local grocery store and a kid on a bike went by and Kodi ended up in my lap shaking. A 60 pound dog afraid of bikes is not fun. Now, anything with wheels that can be ridden on, like bikes, skateboards, scooters, etc scares him. Cars are okay though, thank goodness.
 

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LOTS of socialization regrets here.....living so far out of town with a puppy that throws up in the car made it hard, but I should have just dealt with that (and made Caeda deal with it!)
Traffic....lots of traffic. She's used to seeing one or two vehicles at a time and she stares REALLY hard at them. In town is overwhelming! She gets agitated at motorcycles more than bicycles. Winter now, so no motorcycle spotting until she is about 1.5 years old.
Other dogs, but not for playtime, just taking seeing other dogs for granted could have helped.
New people/strangers, especially when she was small enough that the excited jumping up would be WAY less offensive.
More places....just more of them, so a "new" blade of grass or patch of dirt isn't really worth stopping to sniff every time she sees one lol.

I wouldn't stress too much over the exact 12 week mark, though don't slack as much as we did! Still remember the bigger your puppy gets the more "offensive" any "bad" behavior like jumping up, leash pulling, bolting etc can be harder to control and more rude the bigger they get. One thing I have learned for sure though... Never stop the socialization, its an ongoing process.
 

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Skateboards! It's the one thing that, no matter what, he just can't calm down around. He used to have trouble with bikes and scooters but he has learned to not freak about them ( we see many more of them). Something about the person moving quickly and the noise they make just flips him out. He sounds like a rabid attack dog :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks everyone! Keep them coming! I was trying to decide whether to take him to the beach/snow this weekend (nice thing about living in Southern California during winter, both are a short drive).

I think after puppy class, I'll bring him over to a bike shop and walk him around, hang out outside a little bit and then go over to a local walking spot for us, should be some bikes. In fact, now that I'm reading all this, I should probably try to find some kind of race to take him to, maybe tomorrow. My husband is a runner and that would be good exposure for him, as he will be expected to attend as an adult dog.

*Perfect, there's a marathon in Malibu tomorrow and some dog beaches close by. I'm not sure if I want to bring him to a dog beach as he hasn't had his 3rd vaccination yet. Maybe I'll just carry him around there and just let him run a tiny bit. Difficult decision w/ the vaccinations
 

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  • Public Transport
  • Crowded Public Transport
  • Crowds and masses
  • Busy environments with many things going on at the same time, like farmers markets
  • Kids, kids, kids
  • people of all colors
  • people that move in funny ways
  • people that are in wheelchairs / power chairs / use crouches
Hope that helps ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That helps a lot Sybille. I really want a well socialized dog. I think it will help him a lot throughout his life. Public Transport hadn't even occurred to me, I want to get as much possible in when he is young. Kids are the most difficult part for us. He starts doggy day care one day a week with a women who has two young kids, but I don't know if that is really enough. We've been to the park a few times and he wasn't a kids magnet as much as I hoped he'd be. I'm not letting him run around yet at the park maybe that's why. He had to sit with me on a blanket.
 

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... Kids are the most difficult part for us. ...
Do you have friends / acquaintances / colleagues with kids? Try to get invited for a kid's birthday party and do a lot of socialization first being in a distance, click / praise and treat for calm, and move slowly closer until he wants to engage / play with the kids. We have a similar challenge, we don't have kids, so we are actively searching them out, like playgrounds ect. Always keep doggie and kids save and comfortable with each other ...
 

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Generally, in the U.S., dogs aren't allowed on public transit (except service dogs, of course, and you might be able to get away with a teeny dog in your purse). But it's worth asking about!
 

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for socializing with kids go to a kids playground... or park with a play set and hang out. I brought treats and treated for good behavior.

only socilization regret is CATS. But I got my dog as an older pup. If I did it all over again I'd get a younger pup (like 12 weeks) and socialize with a nice friendly cat. Not a mean bully tom cat.... like my cat. My cat just ups my dogs prey drive and I have to keep them seperate unless heavily supervised.
 

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  • Public Transport
  • Crowded Public Transport
  • Crowds and masses
  • Busy environments with many things going on at the same time, like farmers markets
  • Kids, kids, kids
    [*]people of all colors
  • people that move in funny ways
  • people that are in wheelchairs / power chairs / use crouches
Hope that helps ;-)
Good list, and yes to the bolded...nothing's more embarrassing than discovering your dog is "racist" when your long-time-no-see friend visits.

Things on wheels and kids are also really important. Trim nails weekly and give regular baths, even if it's not needed -just use water and go through the motions. Also (not sure if I saw it listed) walking and pottying on different surfaces. If you travel somewhere by car, you might not be able to find a spot of grass...so make sure they can pee on rocks or pavement. As for walking on different surfaces, some dogs have trouble walking on slippery surfaces.
 

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Yes, slippery and shiny surfaces are a big one for me. Look for marble floors, like in the entrance of hotels.
Overturned umbrellas, especially when they roll around in the wind.
Power chairs.
 

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All noises - mower, vacuum, diesel truck, trucks moving backwards, garbage trucks, doorbell, TV, Stereo, ... Also, just say boo! as a game, and have people walk up behind him and pet him... He may still startle, but won't feel threatened.

You might try to expose him to rabbits and squirrels to try to reduce his prey instinct....
 

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I only skimmed through some of the responses so I don't know if this was addressed:

Children! Take your puppy to a kid's playground. My cattle dog came to me because the family was getting ready to have a baby and she had strong tendencies to nip kids. She had never really been around small children. This is not necessarily a fear of kids, but a common breed characteristic if not "nipped" in the butt asap. It would have saved Sammy's previous family from having to give her away if they had just taught her the correct behavior around small children.

Then like others suggested;

Nail trimming - get your puppy used to being handled in general, from head to paws! This will also make vet visits a little easier. Sammy prefers NOT to go to the vet, but she will tolerate it. While Motley just doesn't care, she's happy regardless. It all depends on how they are introduced to new things - always make it a positive experience!

Water - get your puppy used to baths at a young age. Make it pleasant so they aren't trying to hide every time you cut the faucet on in the tub! This can also be good in case you take your puppy to the beach sometime. We live on the beach, so all of our dogs need to get used to it. Two of them started off very shy and uncertain about the waves (Sammy and Baeo), whereas Motley was perfectly fine with them!

Vacuum - get your puppy used to the vacuum cleaner! Sammy wants to attack the vacuum, while Motley wants to run and hide from it! I think if they had been introduced to a vacuum in a more pleasant fashion, they would probably not mind it so much. I'm not totally sure how they were introduced to the vacuum since I didn't get them as puppies... We are looking forward to socializing Helo once he arrives on December 27.

Some other ideas include...

Trains

Construction - this can be startling to dogs. Sammy and Motley were a little frightened by the construction going on in Bass Pro the other day...

Machinery - Sammy was a little afraid of the fork lift (who wouldn't be!?) at work. I took her into the warehouse and just kind of hung out in a safe place while they put pallets up on the shelves. She doesn't mind the fork lift now.

Aquariums - Whether at a pet store, or someplace like Bass Pro (ours has a large fish tank with bass and such in it). Sammy was okay with the fish tank at Bass Pro, but she used to HATE the fish department at the pet store I work at... She would lower her body and cower whenever I'd try to make her go into the fish department! Maybe it was the noise, or maybe the smell... Could have been all the weird things floating around in those glass squares! She was HORRIFIED. Nowadays she is used to it and knows that the fish department is not as scary as she thought. She will willingly go into the department now. We just let her get comfortable with it at her own pace. Took a few tries!

Trash Bags - my mom had a shelter who hated trash bags...

Other Pets - especially if you have, or think you will have a small pet someday (including cats).

Loud Sounds in General - this way your puppy doesn't get terrified by thunderstorms or fire works, which you can't control in your environment! Maybe play some thunderstorm or fire work sounds from your computer or phone to get him used to it!

People of Different Appearances - tall, short, black, white, etc.

Hats - some dogs don't like hats...

Sunglasses/Reading Glasses - some dogs don't like glasses... Baeo was eyeballing a tall black man the other day who was towering over her wearing sunglasses inside a building. She was staring at him so intently... Normally she is happy to approach people and receive some love and affection, but in this case, she didn't want to approach him (much less let him approach her).
 

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Oso responds really well to new things right now and I want to introduce him to as many things as possible, yet still stay sane. Does it really help if he just sees something one time?
Once is better than none, so that's good, especially if you can connect that event to something good, like some play, favorite treat, etc, whatever turns him on. Ideally, you'd want some repetetion (since dogs can sometimes "throw out" one-off events, which is usually a blessing but can be a curse of sorts in this situation), but an emotionally impacting event can make a lasting impression (both for good and bad).
 

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I didn't think I would need this one, but horses if you can, I live in a city and never thought about it. Then we went down to Tennessee to visit my boyfriend's aunt whose next door neighbor had two horses. Boy was that fun...not!

Other things I can think of:
+ Walking past other dogs without having to "say hi"
+ Strollers
+ Leaf blowers
+ Walking canes
+ Those little spiny things people put in flowerpot that I can't think of the name of, I want to call them windmills but that's not it, Puck really like to bark at them
 

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This isn't really a regret but make sure he meets babies and infants! My boy met tons of kids when he was younger and is now great around them but he never met any babies. I never thought about this until I walked into the room for my CGC test and my dog started barking uncharacteristically. I turned around to see an infant crawling towards him. Poor guy was so confused (though not aggressive at all)!
 
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