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Discussion Starter #1
The growers market I'm thinking of is pretty small but does get crowded. There's always lots of dogs and kids. We've been trying to socialize Gracie by taking her various places and exposing her to new experiences (diy dogwash, lol). Also she's had a puppy basic training class. Lately she has been barking at other dogs and small children though, mainly when we're on our walks. I'm hoping the whole dynamic of a fun crowd might keep her too busy to bark. What do you think?
 

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It depends on the dog, honestly. Sam can be outwardly less reactive in busy crowds like that, but in retrospect I think he's often simply overwhelmed and not in a mental state to be actively learning from it, if that makes sense?

If you want to try it, my advice would be to find an out-of-the-way spot where you can see the activity but not a lot of it is passing close by. Sit with her and reward the heck out of calm behavior and any checking in or refocusing on you. You might have to be prepared to call it quits if she gets too worked up, though. Remember that it's the quality of the socialization that counts more than the quantitiy!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice, that makes sense. I think if we take her we'll sit in a quiet (relatively) part of the park where people sit and walk through but aren't all jammed together. Also I'll bring some high value treats that she hasn't had yet, yay string cheese. We have a friend who lives nearby so if everything gets to be too much we can take her to his house.
Thanks again. Sometimes it seems like this should all be common sense but it's been a long time since either my husband or I have raised a puppy.
 

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I actually don't think it's all common sense! And there's so much conflicting information re: socializing, too. I certainly had to find out by making mistakes... and now I've no doubt I contributed to Sam's current frustration reactivity by allowing him to meet all the dogs in the name of socialization. It can absolutely be a tricky balancing act between what "good" and "bad" socialization means for your dog.
 
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