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how do i socialize an adult dog?

zoe's mom
April 9th, 2006, 08:14 AM
i know its too early to try socializing zoe, since she hasn't even been with me for a whole week, but i've noticed on our walks that she growls and bristles at other dogs, no matter how big or small they are. she doesn't act out that i know of, because i've never let her. however, i have lots of friends with dogs and looked forward to going to the dog park with them. i want her to be comfortable around other dogs. i have a feeling that it has something to do with me, that she's being protective. i'm not ready to go all out on the socialization, we're just getting comfortable at home. but i don't want to make mistakes in casual meetings with other dogs that could mess up her socialization in the future.

also, since she is already grown (the shelter estimated 2-3, we're going to the vet this week to see what he thinks), might it be impossible to get her socialized now, since something might have happened in the past? is it possible to undo her past?[/FONT][/FONT]

Lucky Rescue
April 9th, 2006, 08:54 AM
It's usually possible to undo the past for dogs, but some dogs just are not dog park material and that's all right.

To desensitize her, just take her walking where other on-leash dogs may be, but don't get so close that she starts growling. If she does, you're too close so back up.

Just practice obedience with her. Get her to focus on you. Praise her for not reacting. Do not allow other dogs to approach her. She needs to learn that you will not put her in harm's way.

One way to get her to focus on you is to teach her "Watch me". Have her sit in front of you and let her see a really good treat in your hand. While saying "Watch me" slowly raise the treat up between your eyes. The second she makes eye contact with you, say "Good girl!" and give the treat.

Since you are a first time dog owner, I HIGHLY recommend you enroll Zoe in obedience school, as soon as she is comfortable and happy in your home.

This is a great way to bond, you to learn how to train her, and also for her to get used to being in the presence of other dogs in a controlled situation!:)

April 9th, 2006, 05:06 PM
I aslo think obedience class might be a nice controlled situation for your dog to meet other dogs. You could also have one of yours friends dogs meet your dog in a neutral setting and keep then at a distance they both feel comfortable and work with them. My dog Sonic is also a rescue dog and is very afraid of big dogs. He is fine with small dogs but I am planning on doing obedience with him and trying to socialize him with some of my friends reliable bigger dogs. :) There is no way I would take him to a dog park right now because I am not sure how he would react.

April 9th, 2006, 08:14 PM
my dog kuro was a bit like that on walks too. not so much with dogs but with people around the neighbourhood. i got some great advice here, esp from tenderfoot. it sorted itself out. what seemed to be happening for us was that kuro had not yet learned to trust that i could take care of both of us. he was a stray for awhile and 3 yrs old when i got him from rescue. eventually, through everything i did to reinforce that i was "in charge", he got more relaxed on our walks and even more playful with other dogs. i guess he was sensing that i would always be there to put limits to things if things got out of hand. good luck!

April 9th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Just to give you some hope, I adopted a dog a six years of age, he was dog, kid, human aggressive! I did daily obedience with him, worked with him so that he looked at me for direction and now he is dog park, kid friendly, human friendly material! He's actually wonderful. Get into an obedience class, and every time you go for a walk, breath deep and visualize what you want your dog to do.