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Old 05-02-2014, 10:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Socializing with other dogs is becoming impossible..

My boy Juice is just about 7 months now. I live in a very rural part of the Netherlands, and while our country is very dog friendly there is very little open land (it is all used for farming and livestock), and dog parks are unheard of.

When he was still a little puppy he'd get to meet the neighborhood dogs while out on walks, but since he has grown into this large, barking, lunging monster no one will allow us to meet their dog.

Whenever he sees a dog he begins barking and whining, which I know is not aggressive, but not everyone understands this. He just cannot contain his excitement. We've tried various training methods, and clicker training worked incredibly well to get him to walk with a loose leash, but he just cannot handle the excitement of seeing another dog.

Because there are no dog parks most dogs socialize when they're on walks, but because he has started to bark and lunge at other dogs people will avoid us.

I know that he needs to socialize more to reduce these tendencies, but I can't get my neighbors to allow us to interact with their dogs.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Training would go a lot further to reducing those tendencies than socialization will.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I know you said you are in a very rural area but are there any training groups/clubs near you?

To build on what Bailliff said, training will help a lot and if you can get involved in a club where you can learn the techniques it will curb the problems and build a better relationship between you and your dog.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Unfortunately no. The nearest training place that accepts GSDs is over an hour away by car (and I cannot drive, and dogs are not allowed on buses).
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You need training. The people who will not let you near their dog are doing it right.

Hope you can find a trainer in your area and please do not let your dog meet other dogs on leash even if the other owner is ok with it. This is bad socialization.

In my opinion the world would be a better place if people got over their desire to let their dogs socialize with all the dogs they see on leash while going for walks. It should be about you and your dog.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have been in your situation and it is really frustrating. You might as well forget about the people who don't want to walk with your dog and see if you can find other dog owners in the area who might be willing to meet up once a week. My nearest trainer is a ferry ride and a further 4 hours away and we have few dogs in our area. We used to go away and camp and hill walk a lot at weekends so getting her over her reactive behaviour to other dogs was really important but felt impossible. I put up posters in the vets and even an advert in the paper looking for dog owners who might want to come for a walk with us. I also stopped other dog walkers and explained the situation and asked if they would mind if I joined them. I read up a lot on BAT and LAT and spent 5 days with a trainer in the closest city working on my handling technique with her. It wasn't cheap and I had to save to do it but I felt I had no option. We're still working on it and now we're out of winter it's easier because there are more people about but without a trainer or regular access to other dogs makes it so much harder.

When I couldn't get out with other dogs I used other animals instead. It sounds mad but she reacted to cows in the same way as she reacted to other dogs. I worked on having her watch me when the cows approached and have now moved that on to the same when dogs are about. It's a slow process but you can get there.


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Old 05-02-2014, 11:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Also I'm not sure if it's the same for you but I couldn't care less if my dog likes other dogs or not so I wasn't wanting to take her out to meet other dogs, I just wanted her to respond to me and be calm around other dogs.


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Old 05-02-2014, 11:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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There is no other way for him to socialize. There are no areas where dogs are off leash because there are no dog parks or fenced in areas that don't have cows and other livestock in them. It makes it very difficult to interact with dogs. We also don't have any friends who have dogs, and gardens here are about the size of a broom closet.

Hiring a personal trainer is waaaay out of our budget and is the only option (the only one in our area charges 100euro for a 30 minute training session!) because there are no group training classes that allow GSDs near us (lots of old prejudice about those dogs from WWII where we live).

It's very frustrating. We're hopefully moving to Germany (and a bigger city) in a year, but that's a ridiculous amount of time to wait to get him trained.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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No suggestions at this time, but i feel your pain!
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you can't get him to a training group, it might be worth it researching/buying a couple of good training DVDs/books and going at it on your own. The Leeburg method gets a lot of recommendations on this site.

As others have pointed out, you do not want your dog interacting with other dogs, unless you know their temperament and health history. We live in an area with lots of dog parks, but I'll never take the pup there -- simply too risky.

Once you've trained him, so he knows how to properly greet other dogs/humans, find some neighbors with calm, good-tempered dogs and make friends. Bribe them with beer, if all else fails (The owners, not the dogs.)
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