First before you pick a strategy, know your dog! Early socialization works well for most dogs. And they can roll with it. Some dogs can't and such dogs need time to adjust. If you run around cramming people and other dogs in the face of a dog that can't handle it, your going to have problems in the future.
Having said that...I used the Leerberg approach on my GSD, he was 7 months old when I got him, And the first time we had company over he did a low growl, he give me the distinct impression he was not messing around?? Clearly out the box, this iwas not a people friendly dog!!! I walked him and taught him to ignore people.
If someone approached I stood in front and he stood behind me as I spoke. I did say"No you can't touch my dog, he is training".
Nobody touched him, people weren't giving him treats and so became furniture to him. He just doesn't care. Took maybe a year or six months can't remember. Anyway after awhile when I could read him, I was on a walk and I crossed the street when someone approached like I usually do. This guy then crossed the street to approach us (GSD) guy! He asked if he could pet my dog?
I looked back at Rocky, he stood behind me like he always had, no change of expression no reaction at all. I told the guy yes and stood to the side he petted Roc and said nice dog! My job was done!
Today he is safe in public, people are of no concern to him. He has been petted by children (always under my supervision) and on walks in the city and is just fine. And even impressed me more, when we walked by an active trench digger without a flinch from him!
This was in effect late socialization (there is a thread on here somewhere). Rocky told me early on that he had people issues and my job was to solve them. I didn't think cramming people into his face and strangers/company giving him treats was going to get me the dog I wanted!
I was right, I'm very proud and impressed with him, he gives GSD's around here a good name!
Oh and if your at the Leerburg site be sure and look at "Why dog parks are a bad idea". Rocky's not a dog park dog, Dominate Male. I don't need the headache, no dog to dog intros were every done. He learned to ignore other dogs.
I didn't need the headache of dog park dynamics, screwing up my work and at a dog park Dominant Male dogs tend to find each other and weak submissive dogs get there butts kicked balanced dogs tend to stay out of the way. Suppositions on my part based on a small sample. Dom dogs found each other balanced dogs stood back.
Oh and the cat thing my guy lives with 9 cats, no issues...added benefit if a cat pops out of nowhere, it's of no concern to him.
Last edited by Chip18; 02-23-2014 at 02:55 AM.