First off, thanks to everyone who answered my previous questions over the last several months.
Second, I found my first GSD! Yay! 9 weeks old now; unfortunately, he won't be able to come home permanently for a couple more weeks (not by choice lol). Though I do get to visit him and tomorrow we get to bring him home for the day.
Anyway, I've read a lot about socialization, but have a question.
A couple of my friends and I are going to our Renaissance Festival in either late August or early September. I know they allow dogs and I'd really like to take the little furball if possible for socialization. But I also don't want to take him when he's too young to handle all the people, smells, sights, etc.
Anyone have thoughts on this? I'd appreciate it. I know I won't take him if he doesn't have all his shots done, but I have to check the paperwork again about how far along he is on those. Thanks!
Sorry if the pictures are too small or too big... First time I've tried uploading them.
Depends on the dog and the socialization it has had prior to when you get it.
Don't be upset if they can't handle, say a trip to Pet Smart as soon as you get it, or parks. Shepherds are very smart, and very cautious and inquisitive. They can be very "shy" as puppies at times, and many people often mistake fear as aggression (barking at a dog when they are puppies). A lab on the other hand might not have a problem with it. Puppies also have a "fear period", so one thing might bother them one day, and not another day.
Socialization is VERY important for a GSD up to 16 weeks and after as well. The important thing is to always make them as positive as you can up to 16 weeks. You want NO bad experiences. You want them as confident as possible.
Meeting dogs that you know or that aren't doing to mouth them, put them in submission is good.
Playing with other puppies is good (provided they have had shots). Puppy classes are fantastic for socialization if you don't have a ton of friends with dogs you can absolutely trust, not to scare the pup.
Taking the dog to the park and letting strangers/kids give them a treat and associating the outside world as "fun" is important (if you want a highly social dog).
If you have had other breeds you might be shocked at how strongly the GSD attaches to you and and your family and how aloof or unsure it might be with people outside it.
Sometimes you have to drive them to a park instead of walking to a park (if in a highly populated area). GSD's LOVE car rides.
What am I saying? Only give the puppy as much as it can handle.
It all pays off later on. You will have a confident, GSD that can handle anything. Also later on? People often will AVOID you, when they see a GSD walking down the street, so it is much harder to socialize them later on.
One more thing. Always try to end it on a positive note. Say a leaf blows on a walk and they are scared of it. Be calm, let the puppy go up to it (or anything they aren't sure about) and praise the **** out of them when they do it.
The mistake would be to walk the other way and encourage the fear.