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Old November 20th, 2009, 07:08 PM
sboyne sboyne is offline
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Location: Woodbridge, Ontario
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Socialization

Ok I have another issue I would like some advice on....

I have a 7 month old labradoodle. We've been trying to socialize him from the beginning. We started taking him to dog parks when he was about 5 months old. The closest dog park to our house is a 30 min drive so we don't really get out there as much as I would like - usually on the weekends only, sometimes every other weekend.

My in-laws have a Jack Russell who is not that friendly. If we bring our puppy there, we keep both dogs on leashes just b/c the Jack Russell has tried to our dog a couple times and he's always growling at him.

My question is: Is it normal for my puppy to be scared of other dogs?

He loves people but is always running from other dogs. He only met my in-laws' dog a couple months ago (b/c we knew he was a meanie) so I don't think that has anything to do with it.

I watch the dogs at the dog parks and have spoken to people there. All their dogs seem to be doing the whole "sniffing" each other's butts thing. Mine runs in the opposite direction and when the other dogs chase him he runs faster and starts crying. I've never protected him or picked him up (well maybe the first few times) but I usually don't intervene.

Any suggestions? Is this normal for his age? How do I get my puppy socialized well enough that he's comfortable with other dogs?
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Old November 20th, 2009, 08:40 PM
Equla Equla is offline
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Location: Las Vegas, NV USA
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I had a Chi that never warmed up to the dog park scene (she literally climbed me one day)... too many high strung dogs, I guess.

My current Chi/Terrier mix, Miko, is a loner at the dog park. Mansa, pitty, loves it there, but Miko just keeps to himself sniffing the grass.

With your 7 month old, I think it's too late for puppy kindergarten, but you could take him to training classes. If the class is worth it's snot, it will have more play time than training time. Plus the added benefit of being around dogs you can trust to be better behaved and vaccinated (less scary for both of you) and a professional around in case something does go haywire.

Dog parks are a bit scary. We still go because we know many of the dogs that go to our particular park (we even drive across town for it now), and we keep a very close eye on everyone there. We don't really get the chance to talk to anyone very much because DH has his eye on one dog and I'm watching the other. Since you have to be vigillant at a dog park to ensure you pick up body language and hopefully prevent a tiff, it leads to a little more stress on your part. Until your dog is more sure of himself, he will be taking his cues from you on how to react. Even the most subtle hint of unease will be a screaming sign to him and he will react accordingly... causing more anxiety.

Also on the dog park thing, you mentioned that all the other dogs are good at the whole butt sniffing thing. It could also be that since you have a shy dog, these dogs might not have enough manners for him. Even though everyone else is getting along well, they may just be a little more desensitized to the whole thing and therefore more equipped to handle a slightly pushy dog.
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  #3  
Old November 20th, 2009, 09:09 PM
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Bailey_ Bailey_ is offline
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Quote:
Is it normal for my puppy to be scared of other dogs?
Completley. Even if your puppy isn't showing 'fear', he could be showing submission (which often looks like they are cowering, or afraid).


Quote:
If we bring our puppy there, we keep both dogs on leashes just b/c the Jack Russell has tried to our dog a couple times and he's always growling at him.
Quote:
He only met my in-laws' dog a couple months ago (b/c we knew he was a meanie) so I don't think that has anything to do with it.
Quote:
I've never protected him or picked him up (well maybe the first few times)
This actually all could be some reasons your pup shows insecurity with other dogs right now.

Leashes, while obviously wonderful to use in certain situations to ensure all dogs are safe - can sometimes be our worst enemy.

We send a LOT of tension/stress/anxiety down that leash to our dog if we're anticipating anything, so while I think it is a good idea to keep your inlaws dog away from your puppy if the JRT isn't socialized well, it may be a BETTER idea to keep them apart entirely. Bad socialization is just as terrible as no socialization. Dogs learn from other dogs first and foremost.
If the JRT is growling at your puppy, you'd want to be sure that it is aggressive and not just the Jack Russel telling your puppy to 'chill'. A lot of older dogs do not tolerate a young puppies exhuberance, and that is how a puppy learns manners - how to respect other dogs - how to say 'hello' politely. A dog will do this by warning growls, pinning the puppy, even snapping at it. It can all look very scary, but is quite normal. (Of course you are the best judge. If this JRT is aggressive, like I say, it may be best to keep them apart entirely.)

Sometimes when we do something for our dogs once or twice - that is all it takes to enable that insecurity. You're doing well by avoiding intervening now.

When your puppy runs away from these other dogs - are you able to call him back?
When our dogs are insecure about anything - the first thing we want them to do is look to us for direction. If your puppy isn't doing that, I personally would avoid Dog parks or any off-leash time right now and work with your puppy on-leash and learn to recapture that focus. Training is essential at this time and age. Training classes would be a huge benefit for you and your dog. That way, you'd recieve structured, safe and monitored socialization for you and your puppy - and you'd learn how to build up his confidence while he's still so young.
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Old November 26th, 2009, 01:27 PM
Veesmart Veesmart is offline
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Question

My family has a Poodle cross (most likely labradoodle) that we adopted as a puppy from the humane society. She was VERY timid around dogs and people from the beginning, despite our best efforts to expose her to as much as possible. We seemed to have the most luck with Obedience School. We registered her in everything from Puppy Preschool right up until Adult Obedience Class.

It worked miracles for her because it allowed controlled socialization with other dogs and lots of treats and training in between it all. She's now a social butterfly at the dog park and the off leash play has become one of her favourite pass times.

I'm currently going through this whole process again with my very small and a bit nervous Chi. Although we've just begun I'm already seeing quite the improvement.

It is an expense, but I think of it like driving school. Years ago when it was time to get my licence, I was completely terrified of driving, until I took driving school, after a few lessons I could have happily driven across the country.


Here's some pictures of my parents pup and my Chi playing together just recently.
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