Socializing without traumatizing - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Socializing without traumatizing

Ok, so Sigrid and I went for a short walk yesterday just up the block and back, and it was great. She loved it and she met a neighbor lady and it was a very good experience. Then we went to the Environmental Learning Center at the college (think of a very dense nature park with lots of rabbits, ducks, turtles, frogs, birds, trails). We had a great time.

This morning we went for another walk up the block, but today a neighbor was walking his two goldens who were very excited to see her. She seemed interested at first, but quickly got overwhelmed and peed. She pressed up against my legs and laid down on my feet while he and I talked for a minute (the goldens were very good dogs and backed off immediately, so she just watched them afterward). She didn't seem totally freaked out, or anything, but it's hard to tell with her because she seems very submissive (when she is scared she just gets quiet, crouches down against me, and won't move). I gave her a treat after they left and she wasn't too scared to eat it. But I'm so afraid I'm going to traumatize her! That situation was in my control - I could have picked her up or asked my neighbor not to get so close. But I wasn't sure if it would make her more scared if I acted like they were something to be scared of...?

Augie - GSD/Border collie mix, born 1/14/1997
Sigrid - GSD, born 3/14/09

Everything reminds me of my dog. - Jane Siberry
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 01:45 PM
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Re: Socializing without traumatizing

" I gave her a treat after they left and she wasn't too scared to eat it. "
I think your doing fine, she has to encounter these situations and learn from them at her own pace. If she ate the treat, that is a great sign! Dogs that are over-stimulated would not care for the treat.
You were right not to pick her up and baby her, to do that would reward the fearful behavior.
Another helpful move would be to have neighbors give her treats, and take her were she can be social with more puppies/dogs, like a class or dog park (if she is up to date on shots and old enough).

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"The more I see of man, the more I like dogs." ~Mme. de Staël
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 02:25 PM
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Re: Socializing without traumatizing

I agree, it sounds like you handled it really well especially with the other dogs backing off a little on their own. Continued the conversation without making a big deal of it.

The idea of allowing someone else to give a treat is good but you want to be very aware of avoiding trying to do it while he is also handling his other dogs as that could bring up food issues if they have them. If they can sit or down at a bit of a distance without reacting fine, but if they are showing any interest in the treat as well, you would want to do it without the other dogs in the picture.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 02:25 PM
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Re: Socializing without traumatizing

She is fine.
Submissive urination was completely normal, her way of telling the goldens she is no threat, just a puppy. She didn't shutdown, ate her cookie, all is well! I'd fore go dog parks, simply because it's often too much mayhem, and often owners are more busy yacking than watching and insuring their charges aren't being bullies, and when they are often make ignorant excuses. You also do not know who is healthy and who isn't, and too often there are those who do not clean up after their dog soils the field. I much prefer dog encounters on my terms for my pup, as it's my responsibility to protect it.







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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 02:26 PM
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Re: Socializing without traumatizing

Just wondering, Sigrid is only 8 weeks old, are you concerned about taking her out so much before she has all her puppy shots.

Now, some people do and some don't. But you should think about whether you want to expose your puppy.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Socializing without traumatizing

I am very concerned about it - I was a veterinary technician for 5 years and have seen several parvo pups, a couple with lepto. Distemper seems rare in these parts and I've never seen it. On the other hand, she has had one vaccination at 6 weeks, and while I'm not putting my eggs in that basket it makes me feel a little better.

I'm more concerned, I think, about having a fearful adult dog on my hands. Augie was 18 mo. when he came to us, and is afraid of everything. Already Sigrid is unafraid of many things he's terrified of (lawnmower, large rolling things, and especially people she doesn't know). But she doesn't like other dogs, so that makes socializing with them even more important. She won't get to be around many of them until her puppy kindergarten in June, and by then she'll have another set of vx's under her belt.

I know at our clinic we were very anxious about people keeping their puppies in their laps or even not bringing them inside until it was time for their exam. But that was also a vet clinic where people specifically brought SICK animals, and we'd had known parvo and lepto cases. If I stop and think about her exposure I'm a basket case, but Augie's tough to handle and I can't bring him places with me much of the time...so that's the tradeoff, I guess.

Augie - GSD/Border collie mix, born 1/14/1997
Sigrid - GSD, born 3/14/09

Everything reminds me of my dog. - Jane Siberry
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