how to socialize my 4.5 month old - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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how to socialize my 4.5 month old

Luna is 4.5 months old and very very friendly with humans. She loves to meet people. Last weekend she stayed with my parents in florida while we took our kids to disneyworld for 3 days. She did good, but my nephew brought over his male hound dog ( which is much smaller) and she was really bothering it. She played super rough and would not leave the poor thing alone. I believe since she was bigger, she was trying to dominate it. Is this normal?
We took her to the dog park this week early morning on monday ( before a crowd) so we can start socializing her. She barked very loudly at all the adult dogs including a 3 year old much larger female GSD. I want her to not be afraid of other dogs, but also to not terrorize them. Any ideas?

"Not all who wander are lost"
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 11:31 AM
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More time around other dogs would be good. She is not around them enough and when she is, she is over excited. Get into a group training class. That is great for socializing around other people and dogs. Also teaches them to listen to you through distractions, which is great.

Dawn Brogan

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 12:03 PM
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Puppy Classes

I just enrolled Abbey in Puppy Classes at Petsmart...our first Beginner class is tonight, im very excited about it. She will be 4 months on Friday...she is already about 35lbs...

BUt after talking to the Vet and a trainer at our local shelter where i volunteered....socialization is key, i had a GSD before Abbey, she passed last November at 11.5, so i have experience, but this little whipper snapper is throwing me for a loop....i dont want problems when she is 85lbs...Some good advice i received was every day make a different event where she can be around people and animals, coming and going...this past Saturday we had a block party and i couldnt keep her outside the whole time because of the heat, i would take her out, then bring her in to cool off etc...but there were kids, loud music, and riding bikes and scooters, and she handled it like an old pro...she was good not to jump on the kids...and loved all the attention she was getting from everyone....but sometimes, NOT all the time she will meet a dog or person, and her hair will go up and she barks when we are on a walk...not a meanbark, an im "unsure" i do not want a fearful dog on my hands, so Petsmart it is...
Cant wait to see all the other puppies there tonight...
Maybe you can find someone you know with a balanced dog and they can play together. Although Abbey lives with an Eskie, she outweighs him by 15 lbs its tricky for me...and i have to constantly supervise as she doesnt know her own strength, and my poor 11 year old Eskie is looking at me like, "Why did we get another dog"...look...

Good Luck and let us know how you make out..but classes are the way to start.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 03:21 PM
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I am going to echo everyone else's advice with regard to get her out and in to a group training class. Sabra, my GSD puppy, is 15 weeks old and I have a multiple dog household. However, my older dogs really do not appreciate the antics and teeth of a puppy. So, off to puppy socialization class we went three weeks ago. In addition, she is slated to start a class on September 9th and a third on September 13th (different locations, trainers, etc). My philosophy is, at this age, get them everywhere that you can safely for all of the exposures that you can.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2012, 10:10 AM
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My pup is the same, despite my taking her to flyball several times a week, puppy class and also hanging out with her at schutzhund training. Part of the problem is in flyball and schutzhund, they spend the majority of their time in crates, and not actually meeting other dogs. Then in puppy class, they do have a few minutes to play at liberty, but most of the time is spent working on training.

She's in her first day of doggy daycare today. I'm anxious to see if I have a tired/happy puppy tonight, but I think if you need socialization, that is a good way to go, if they can be introduced in smaller groups.

I'd look into finding a good daycare place and maybe let her go one day a week, or even for part of a day. That is nothing but playtime with other dogs, all day, so she'll for sure get lots of exposure to other pups and be tired and happy when she gets home.

Good luck, my pup is 4 months old this coming Saturday, so i know how much work it is! Also, if you don't have kids, make sure you spend lots of time at parks & splash pads. My pup was fine until a toddler scared her, now she's a bit timid around kids, so we're working really hard at that now.

ETA: be very careful at leash free parks, because a lot of people with aggressive dogs think they will do the same as you, and socialize them that way. You don't want her to have a bad experience with a problem dog. Leash free parks are not the place for socializing aggressive dogs, but a lot of people think this is the best way to do it. I think a daycare is a better bet, where it's supervised and the dogs are all temperament screened and UTD on vaccines.

Last edited by blackshep; 08-16-2012 at 10:13 AM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2012, 10:16 AM
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You probably need to determine whether you want a dog who plays with other dogs or a dog who ignores them. My best success is with just having your dog learn to be completely neutral.

Beau (one year) has never had a puppy play time once he left his litter. He was exposed to adult dogs who had good dog manners though. I have no problems at all with him around other dogs - he is mildly interested and does great on meet and greets (a neighbors Welsh Terrier pup can climb all over him) but all play is with me.

But that is ONE school of thought. I have just personally been happier NOT trying to have GSDs who play with other dogs outside of their home pack. To us socializing around other dogs meant a lot of exposure to them just like everything else but *yawn* they are not overly interesting.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2012, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the replies. I think I will look into puppy classes and see what we can sign her up for. I have 2 children ages 9 and 11 that she loves. we took her camping last week at public campsite. Lots of people and other dogs around. She did okay. It just worries me since she never barked before at people or dogs and suddenly she is doing it alot. She has started barking at strangers now as well. Not necessarily in an agressive way, but I get alot of dirty looks.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2012, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I should elaborate on the now barking at strangers. On the camping trip, she barked at pretty much everyone who came in our "area". She also barked at the lady who reigstered us for the campsite. This is all very new to we have had her since she was 8 weeks old and usually LOVES meeting new people. So much so , she usally pees haha. I just cant tell if this is her becoming more aware of people/strangers/other dogs or if it is a problem starting.

We do socialize her often as possible. Walks in the neighborhood, beach, trips to pet smart etc. The dog park is a new things for us...I have always been leery. We go when there are not a hige amt of other dogs there and keep her on leash for a bit to see how she does.

I do think the training/puppy classes would be beneifical. I guess I am just tyring to figure out what has changed to make her suddenly start acting different...or if this is a normal part of growing up.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 07:23 PM
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We have just been taking our pup to different places so she can get familiar with dogs, people, not playing, working, sitting quietly, etc.

We have taken her every where from a family camp trip for the day to our farmers market to many different pet stores to just walking outside stores. We are taking her to the county fair Thursday as she is our daughter's 4-H dog. We took her last night and worked her in the dog arena, walked her around the dog barn and put her on the dog bench.

I hope she enjoys fair

~ Dori ~

Koda: 14 yr old Samoyed
Nita: 7 yr old GSD
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 11:05 PM
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The key is socialization and training. My pup is 11.5 months. She started puppy classes at 13 weeks. Besides finishing four classes, two workshops, and qualifying for schutzhund, I also took her (still do) anywhere that I can. She is starting agility in 3 weeks...can't wait I take her through drive thru's, to the park, to the gas station, and anywhere else I can think of that has movement, people(big and small), and dogs She doesn't bark or lunge, she is more of a silent watcher. She is perfect to go somewhere and people watch Just today we went to the park. She got to experience a small(but quiet, yes a quiet small dog) running along her owners bike, a woman walking a reactive older GSD mix, ducks, kids, joggers, etc. She did two things I was proud was a jogger that had to run within inches of her to bypass other people, he was right on top of her and she just looked at him. The other was a family walking with a little girl(2 years old), that immediately tried to run up to my dog, dad caught her in time and she walked about a foot away from my dog, talking to her the whole dog never broke her sit, barked, or lunged...I'm sure she would have been happier if the little girl was able to pet her...Its things like this that make all training and socialization very worth it Just keep going forward..Good Luck!!

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