How do you socialize a Working Line dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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How do you socialize a Working Line dog?

How do you guys socialize your WL dogs? Do you even socialize them? Or do you keep them away from strangers completely?
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 11:27 AM
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I always want them out and around everything, but as far as strangers or just people other then family, for me it depends on their temperament and what I'm currently doing with them. Even my overly social one, there's times I want a little indifference to people so I just keep him obedient around others. The other one wants to be friendly, he really does, but sometimes those thin nerves just won't let him for more then a couple minutes, so for him its better to just keep him obedient all the time.
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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 11:36 AM
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From my experience, puppies are happy little sponges ready to soak up attention......or they should be IF they are genetically sound!!!! A puppy needs to be confident yet cautious, happy yet discerning.....these are GENETICS!


The whole idea of "socialization" has gotten to be popular due to the amazing numbers of GSDs being produced in this country....probably 80% (and I am probably being generous) of which do not have a sound genetic makeup....these pups need additional help to be safe and solid members of their families and society.....

Socialization opportunities are or should be taken advantage of for some basic manners and obedience imprinting....not jumping, attention/focus, stays and releases......when your puppy NEEDS to be socialized to be approachable, to be handled, to walk with you without hiding, hackling or grumbling - then you have a puppy whose genetic makeup is NOT 100% sound.



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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 11:55 AM
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I worked with them in a similar way as any other pup I have raised. The WLs never became social butterflies after they started to mature. They became more aloof naturally, yet very stable around people. Also when they lost the cutesy factor at around 5 months of age, people left them alone (except when they had or have had GSDs) or actively avoided them, sometimes even picking up their kids. Fine with me.
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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 01:07 PM
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Halo is our first working line GSD, we also have a West German show line, and have had a prior WGSL and two American line shepherds. I didn't socialize her any differently than the others. Well, actually even more extensively perhaps.

She likes people, but is not a social butterfly like Keefer. When she was little I let her meet anyone she wanted to meet that wanted to meet her. I exposed her to as many new people/places/things as possible, while working on basic manners and obedience training, such as Lee describes above. Her first 5 classes were in 4 different locations with several different instructors because I liked the idea of having her learn to pay attention and obey in new places and situations.

I took her to every strip mall in town to work on her training, near baseball fields during practices and games, near busy basketball courts, around kids on skateboards and bikes, and to a regional park where there are lots of people walking dogs, and families with small children and babies in strollers, as well as wild turkeys, deer, squirrels, geese, and other wildlife. We worked outside the bowling alley, inside the pet supply stores, and outside the supermarket with people walking past with carts and automatic doors opening and closing. We worked on busy street corners and next to gas station driveways with cars going in and out. We sat outside Starbucks, and she met people there and got treats. Pretty much anything I could think of to throw at her, I did.
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 01:26 PM
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Sometimes all the early socialization you can do will not guarantee and socialized adult.
After I got some basic obedience down, then I had to switch from correcting with the prong collar to using treats on walks. Like using them to do "look at me" before during and after passing dogs and other people. I had to learn dog language and read not only my own, but other dogs. There were times when my dog wanted to be social with another dog, I assumed that because it was off leash it was friendly, but many causal dog owners do not read their dogs, and I'd notice the upper lip raising - a mini snarl and so then I'd have to say "leave it" to our dog.

Find a trainer that does socialization. Find some dog groups (hiking, play, meetups, etc) so your dog can at least be friendly with a certain group of dogs it will get to know. We found a GSD meetup group and that was so helpful. On our first hike, Molly followed the good behavior of the other dogs - so being around other canine role models helped. Then I take my dog everywhere I can, so she has learned, if I say it is OK, she can say hello to people in stores or on walks and get positive rewards from them and from me after we move on. Even with all this, I still have to be on alert, vigilant. Many dogs seem nice but then react to her size by screaming when they get next to her. If we are hiking in remote areas and she's off leash and we see another dog, I usually will leash her up, just to be safe. My working line female is 6 yrs old now. Its mostly dogs I have to be concerned about, but she will definitely alert us to a person who is a threat. She did that a couple weeks ago, reacted strongly to this guy about 30' away from us in a parking lot. We were in our car, he gets in the car next to us and yells into our car, "everytime I see a GSD I want to kill it". So our dog sensed his attitude right away. Socialization is possible if you are willing to be alert 100% of the time and realize they will never be like a Lab.
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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 01:40 PM
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This so depends on the puppy. When mine was a baby, we had the coldest winter on record in our area. I just took a friends puppy to a seminar at 16 weeks. zero socialization to strange places and people. She went from my friend, to me, to a 5 hour car ride to a strange building. And she OWNED the place.

Solid genetics are solid genetics. Some dogs may have more suspicion. The girl had very little to strange surroundings. My boy had more. So it's more a matter of exposing the puppy, regardless of lines, to the world and making them feel safe while they do it.

This is a great list for puppies
Puppy Socialization - what it really should be | Naughty Dogge - Monique Anstee




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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 02:48 PM
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This is a long but very excellent thread on the subject.
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...alization.html

Karin
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Rescue GSD - Freyja (Husband's Dog)
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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfstraum View Post
From my experience, puppies are happy little sponges ready to soak up attention......or they should be IF they are genetically sound!!!! A puppy needs to be confident yet cautious, happy yet discerning.....these are GENETICS!


The whole idea of "socialization" has gotten to be popular due to the amazing numbers of GSDs being produced in this country....probably 80% (and I am probably being generous) of which do not have a sound genetic makeup....these pups need additional help to be safe and solid members of their families and society.....

Socialization opportunities are or should be taken advantage of for some basic manners and obedience imprinting....not jumping, attention/focus, stays and releases......when your puppy NEEDS to be socialized to be approachable, to be handled, to walk with you without hiding, hackling or grumbling - then you have a puppy whose genetic makeup is NOT 100% sound.



Lee


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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 03:42 PM
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As you would with any dog.....out and about, social and busy places, boarding, training, etc.

Husband's current competition dog, Yuri, travels to huge state and southern level tennis tournaments that our daughter (12 yo) plays in.
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