Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

So I have been wondering since I got Ike last week: how important is physical dog-dog interaction to the development of a puppy?

Ike will be 9 weeks old tomorrow. In the week that he has been with me he has been to Lowes, gas station, coffee shop patio, traffic corners (so he can hear the cars going by), the vet, our schutzhund field, and have met and been handled by tons of people. He has been exposed to all kinds of surface (shiny, uneven, slippery, etc.) and sounds (including gunshot @ training). The only thing he has not had a lot of exposure to are dogs other than my two at home (and even there it is limited to 45 minutes a day, supervised. Part of it is to prevent too much bonding, part of it is because Obie is too big and Dottie and Ike play too rough together and they are both incredibly possessive of objects). Obviously because he only one set of shots I am not going to take him to anyplace with a lot of dogs.

Now I have to say I don't particularly want Ike to be a doggy dog or a social butterfly. Obie is one and for me personally one is enough. Ike doesn't need to love dogs and other dogs don't need to love him. Now obviously I don't want him to hate dogs either. I just want him to be NEUTRAL to them, like the way I want him to be neutral to sound, people, surfaces, car rides, etc.

So my question is if I just bring him to places where they are dogs around and do not let him physically interact with them, for example, taking him to the schH field to watch the dogs work and to do some puppy obedience around other dogs, does that still count as dog-dog socialization?
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 09:26 AM
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

I want my dog to be non reactive to other dogs. My two females are reactive(not aggressive for the most part, though), and it is a pain to manage.
With Karlo(who I am training in SchH) I did do a puppy playtime when he was about 12 weeks old, just a few times we went so he would not be all excited when other dogs beside my own were in his realm. It worked(that and genetics) He could care less about other dogs. Now as he matures, it may change, but for now he is fine.
The play class I went to was supervised, we stayed w/ the pups and if one got too exhuberant it was put on time out for a few to chill. I went to one class first and the girl running it wanted us to leave the pups(um, no way!), then let in a 6 week old one. I wrote a letter to the shop owner and those classes ended about a week later.

If you don't let your pup interact w/ others, I think it will build drive to want to do so, and that can lead to reactivity. If it is done in a structured manner, I think one or two sessions would be enough. All depends on the dog though.

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 10:21 AM
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

When I start puppies out we go lots of places but we don't do many meet & greet or puppy play time. I want my pups/dogs to learn that there are other dogs in the world and they don't need to play with all of them or any of them. Any meetings that my pups have I want to be a positive experience. My pups get huge rewards for just seeing another puppy and keeping it's attention on me. That shows the pup that the reward is you and life with you is good.

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

Jane,
Are you saying one or two playing sessions for his entire puppyhood should be enough?

Val,
That's what I want with Ike. I gave Obie way too much leeway with dogs and pups when he is young and now I'm paying the price in training. On the scale of fun from 1 to 10 (10 being OMG THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME!), dogs are 8-9 and I'm about a 3-4 on a good day. Dottie - who came to me as a 2 yr old - likes dogs (though not all dogs like her because she is a bossy herder) but she would much rather play/work with me. Even in the company of other dogs, she would rather tug or play fetch than socialize. Obviously I can't take credit for that because the first two years of her life is a mystery (someone dumped her in the SPCA parking lot one night). That's what I want with Ike. But what I am wondering is if the lack of actual physical hands-on puppy to puppy interaction is going to make him be weary or reactive later in life. Idealy when he is older I would like to him to look at other dogs and just shrug and go about his business.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 11:09 AM
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

Good question. It made me think about what I do. So this is what I came up with...

As a general policy it's a look, don't play approach. We go lots of places where we see dogs (particularly after vaccinations are complete)- SchH field, Pet stores, feed stores, outdoor markets, walks in neighborhood, etc. We do not go out of our way to meet other dogs...but with calm dogs, we do a "sniff and move on". Sort of like the nod you give to someone you pass in the hallway...lots of rewards for focus on the handler.

We do a lot of dog walking. In principle I am opposed to always just turning the dog out in the yard. Early leash walking helps with socialization. Sometimes I probably creep my neighbors out because when we are walking if someone else is walking their dog and it seems nice and normal...we'll turn around and follow. My puppy learns to cope with another dog in sight on leash and it becomes mundane and boring. We might also take another turn so that I end up passing them a couple times. We also mgiht team up with a friend and walk the dogs together...but without allowing play.

I really don't ever have a point where I allow my dogs to all out off lead play with dogs that do not belong to me. I haven't found it necessary or detrimental at this point. Although I could see where it mgiht be an issue if I did off lead dog activities...like dog parks.

ETA- I do adjust though based on personality. If a dog is showing reactivity issues early on I would probably bump up the number of dog encounters so I could work on it...a dog that seems to care less by nature I probably wouldn't do as much...

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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 11:13 AM
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

Jason,

Stark has been exposed to dogs since he was fully vaccinated. He has had a nightly doggy-playdate with a few dogs that live in my building and who we train with.

This does not make him a "doggy social butterfly". Yes, he LOVES to play with other dogs, but is not one of those dogs who NEEDS to be with them or near them when he sees them walking or nearby. When he is off-leash and able to play with them, he does and loves it, but other than that he is what I would consider neutral to them.

I think because he has so much socialization (and conitunes too) with environments, people, surfaces, and dogs this has made him more neutral to those things. He will definitely notice the dogs (ears perked and a look in their direction especially if those dogs are barking) but for the most part he will ignore them and continue doing what he is doing, even if he is off-leash at the time.

It was important to me to have him socialized with other dogs and to allow him to play with them so that he wouldn't be reactive, fearful, or aggressive in any way or in any situation.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 11:17 AM
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

Just wanted to add -

We do the "sniff and move on" as well when out and about. If the other dog is calm and what I would consider a good candiate then I will allow a sniff to say "hello", but then we are on our way.

I want a dog that is friendly, happy and confident around other dogs but not one that will pull me across the street to play with them.

I don't know if this is based on all the training and socialization we have and continue to do or just Stark's personaility.

Good thread Jason, it really got me thinking.

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 11:18 AM
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

I like the above reply! It gives me a better idea of how to handle my own dogs. I never thought of it as a nod like that and that is a good way to look at it, so thank you!! I am still in the process of learning how to read dog body language and redirecting my own fear issues to make life pleasant for myself and both of my dogs and I think this will help

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 11:22 AM
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Jason LinJane,
Are you saying one or two playing sessions for his entire puppyhood should be enough?
I only needed that amount of sessons as it was in the important imprinting time. He acted like a little bully with an older beagle we were around and I wanted that to stop, too. He was only 10 weeks(but bigger than her) and bit her in the back, so I knew I needed to get him around other pups for a short time.
I don't want Karlo to play w/ other dogs(other than my own) and just wanted to be sure he was not a nut when other dogs are around.
When we are at the SchH club, it isn't a big deal how he acts, as most dogs are reactive while crated, but when we are out and about, I want a social happy boy, and not a reactive nut like my other two are.
Our bond is really strong, he is into me way more than most distractions. His recall has been 100% when other dogs are in his veiw while we train off leash in my front yard. Not to say he would ever NOT listen, but he just doesn't care about other dogs one way or another. As I said before, with maturity that may change.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 12:49 PM
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Re: Dog Neutralization or Dog interaction

At this point with Masi, even tho she is 18mths I am with Val's philosophy.

When she was a puppy, I got her into the wrong type of puppy classes and it was not a positive experience for her at all,(long story) put her on the defensive big time, which then evolved into everyday "life"..I yanked her out of the class, and worked her on my own for awhile trying to deprogram. Got her into a different training facility with a totally different approach and it's worked. She doesn't think every dog is out to get her, and for the most part she is very uninterested in other dogs. She is totally non reactive to other dogs we come across, unless they make a move on her first.

I, myself, don't care if my dog likes other dogs, she has a group of doggie friends (including two at home). She does however, have to tolerate "life",,and thankfully I can say she does.

My female aussie has never met a stranger, man nor beast) and yes ALot of times THAT is much more fun than me) and can be frustrating at times!!

I have always found with my gsd's, and masi is no exception, they are more into 'me' than the world around them, which is exactly what I want in a dog))

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