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Puppy Socialization

Daisy's Owner
December 11th, 2004, 12:08 PM

I'm a new member to the site and new to the dog world. I've read lots and lots, so now I know a little bit.

We have a 13 week old amstaff mix, named Daisy. We have her enrolled in puppy classes, but they won't start until Jan 4. She will be 16 weeks by then, and I am concerned that may be too late. Better late than never in my books though. Am I justifed in my concern, or is 16 weeks just fine to start? I have read that amstaff's may become dog agressive, and I would like to do anything and everything I can to make sure I have a happy dog.

We have a cat, so she is not so unfamiliar with other animals.

Lucky Rescue
December 11th, 2004, 01:48 PM
Welcome to the board!:)

While waiting for classes to start (and assuming your dog has had all her puppy shots) just take her everywhere with you. Expose her to all kinds of people, kids, dogs, traffic - everything you can think of. Puppies do go through a "fear period" and you want to try and make her as confident and outgoing as possible.

Make sure every encounter she has with people and other dogs is very positive and pleasant.

Yes, pit bulls/Amstaffs are predisposed to dog aggression, and all the socializing, love and training will not change that, if she is going to be dog aggressive. Most of these dogs do have some degree of aggression, ranging from being not aggro at all (very rare) to severe. Most, like mine, fall somewhere in the middle. Aggression may not show up until the age of 2, 3 or even 4 years old.

However, letting her have interactions with calm and friendly dogs now will help later on.

She can also be trained to behave in the presence of other dogs, even if she doesn't like them.

Pit bull type dogs don't need doggy friends after they are adults, and your dog will be perfectly happy with you and her cat.:)

Do you have pics of her?

December 12th, 2004, 08:30 AM
Hi Daisy,
We got our puppy at 8.5 weeks and started immediatley with socializing him. We took him everywhere we could, and tried to get him to meet as many dogs as possible. I know there can be concerns about dogs going out before they have had all their shots but after talking to my friend who is a vet we decided we would start taking him out right away. (He had already had 2 shots).

Now Batman is 12 weeks and he isn't scared of anything and other dog owners always comment on how smart he is for is age because of the way he behaves around big dogs. It is great when they are so little because you will get people wanting to pat him all the time. I could hardly get anywhere the first 2 weeks we had him. :p

Anyways my advice would be to start now! There are even things that i never would of thought of like making loud noises (dropping pots and pans), stairs, different surfaces, walking on all types of roads. Batman is totally comfortable walk and going to the washroom on Toronto's busy streets.

Somewhere I found a list of things to let your dog experience... I will try to find it for you.

By the way just last night I took out this big stuff singing reindeer with bells on his antlers. I turned it on and Batman was actually scared of it. We just kept turning it on over and over and pretended like everything was normal and after about 10 minutes he is now totally over that fear. ;)

December 14th, 2004, 02:08 AM
I'm glad to see that you're going to socialize your dog. I can't stress enough how I wish the previous owner of my Dal (dog of the month, in fact :party: ) gave him some socialization. He gets aggressive with other dogs occasionally (usually barking dogs) and in the past I've had to pick him up and tear him away from another dog. Since then, I've been working very hard at keeping him calm and relaxed around unfamiliar dogs but it's really tough.

You don't want to go through having an aggressive dog. It can be very scary. I took him to the local pet shop the other day to get a bath and he tried to pick a fight with a 1 year old Shar-Pei. Luckily, I got to him before anything really started. Not fun. :sad:

December 14th, 2004, 08:15 AM
Hi Daisy,

Congrats. I am sure Mastifflover will have some great advice for you. As far as socializaton goes, get busy. They need to learn not to overreact when they are small. In terms of interaction with other dogs I have found that the Mastiffs that my dog has been exposed to are extremely gentle especially given thier size. I think they are usually a confident dog unless abused as pups. You need to expose him under very carefull supervision to all kinds of dogs. It is true you don't want him to expose him to full on aggression from another dog but he has things he has to learn that only exposure to other dogs at a young age can teach him. If you watch a pup play with an older suitable dog you can see the natural gentle corrections. It's facinating.

Here is a couple of pix of a play date between a full grown mastiff and 9 month old pup.

(later)sorry I read Mastiff instead of Amstaff. Same thing goes though.

also... a really good site to visit is I have found it to be a terrific resource.

Daisy's Owner
December 17th, 2004, 01:58 PM
Thank you for the advice. We try and take her where ever we can. She has only just this week gotten curious enough to venture outside the yard.