socializing older pup w/ LOW threshold - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2009, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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socializing older pup w/ LOW threshold

Hi everyone

I am revamping my efforts at socializing Shelby, who is almost 10 mo. old now. I have written this info so many times, I apologize to those folks who have read this introductory stuff a hundred times before.

We live out in the country w/ very little noise and people action. Shelby, who is great at home with his family, can barely stand to be taken into a populated place.

We got him in the winter (which I will never do again) and when I would take him to socialize in town he would cry most of the time, get the runs, and would be just very uncomfortable. I stopped with the town socializing for a couple of months after listening to a number of folks (obviously no one from here!) who said it was unnecessary to socialize him away from home. I am now seeing that he needs this socialization.

So, I have worked out a schedule in which I will be able to take him every other day into town. His threshold is LOW. I have taken him twice this week just for drives into town and he was ok with this.

I am looking for advise on how to slowly build his threshold up and signs to look for that let me know he is ready to take a new step. I was thinking the next step would be to go somewhere in town that is quiet and just park and let him in the car with open window and let him take in the town from a safe spot for a little while.

I have not been able to just take him with me wherever I go, as many people do, because I have a 2 year old little girl who is a handful herself, and I can't have them both out together.

I am stuck on options for ob classes. He was in one originally that was totally inappropriate for him and the only other class in this area is not open to any dogs who have shown aggression and Shelby has.

Thank you for any help.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2009, 09:30 AM
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Re: socializing older pup w/ LOW threshold

Personally, I think he should get out of the car. I would ask someone he already knows and likes, to meet me at a quiet spot where you're not likely to find other people or dogs. That way you can get out of the car and he wil find someone other than you who he already met there and you can socialize him like that for a while. Then change the place and add someone else.
A good indicator for me to see if a dog is ready for the next step is if he's happy to go. If you take the keys of the car is he happy and ready to go with you...if you get close to the spot where you always go to meet the friend is he whining and excited? I would as soon as I see those signs change it up again...

I'm not a fan of going to slow...
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2009, 10:29 AM
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Re: socializing older pup w/ LOW threshold

I feel your pain, I truly do. I live in Northern New Jersey. When we first got our Pug puppy it was winter. It was cold outside and they are prone to having issues in extreme weather. For fear of his health, I didn't take him out much to socialize. Plus in the winter months here you don't find many people out anyway it gets too cold.

Anyway, I am paying for this big time now. My Pug is always on edge when we are out and about. He barks at people and dogs who walk by and pay him no attention. It's really embarassing and annoying too. Correcting him doesn't help, taking his attention away from the immediate issue doesn't help, he is so locked onto his target that nothing can break it.

I was actually out last night with my new GSD pup for some socialization (not making the same mistake twice) and we took the pug with us. Went to an Ice Cream shop down the street from our house. The GSD was a joy to be with. He just lay down and took it all in. Never barked once or even made a peep. I have been introducing him to all sorts of things (It is my goal with this dog to have a friendly giant) the Pug however was a tyrant. People staired at him wondering what was wrong with him. He just kept barking like a madman. An annoying, screechy, ear piercing, embarassing bark. There was no stopping him.

I have tried introducing him to new things, places, people, and he just doesnt snap out of it. While riding in the car he barks at everything that moves. He doesn't ever calm down.

I'm at a loss for ideas on getting this behavior rectified. So I feel your pain.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2009, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: socializing older pup w/ LOW threshold

Thank you---- I understand when you say about not making the same mistakes twice! I think of how much I have learned in just these few months that Shelby has been with us, and how many things I would do differently if I could start from the beginning again.

The last time that I had Shelby out of the car and in town he literally tried with everything he had to drag the both of us underneath a parked car. I had picked the spot to get out because there was a nice quiet looking bench to sit at away from the sidewalk, however one minute after we got out........a loud motorcycle went by, a kid on skateboard, a jet overhead, and a little dog who was alone in a car popped up and started to bark.....I am not joking, this was all within one minute. Bad spot???

There is a park in town that has some good quiet spots. I was thinking to park there and open up the back hatch on the car and sit with him in the back and just watch some things and feed him treats.
I know one sign from him that he is past his threshold is when he wont take treats anymore.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2009, 09:34 AM
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Re: socializing older pup w/ LOW threshold

There are more websites out there with specific information. You are not alone!

Try these:


Miss Osin Blue Wildhaus NA NAJ NF

"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2009, 09:54 AM
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Re: socializing older pup w/ LOW threshold

Wow, that really is bad timing. Fortunately, my dog with the issues is tiny and not a big GSD. When he gets out of control he can't really do much because he is under 20 pounds. He can't really drag me under a car or pull me. Have you tried a prong collar for those scenarios?

I would have never thought a pug could be so fiesty though. He doesn't bark and go crazy because he wants to attack his targets. Usually it's because he wants attention from whatever it is he is looking at. I have walked him up to a group of children and as he gets close to the group he get very calm and submissive but if we are just hanging out and things are walking or flying by paying us no attention he goes crazy.

I'm going to check out the links above and see what info is out there to fix this behavior. If you find anything or have any success with a new technique please share it. I will see what I can dig up as well.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-11-2009, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Re: socializing older pup w/ LOW threshold

Thank you for the websites and words of encouragement! It is greatly appreciated. Jenna
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