Too socialize reactive puppy or not?? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Too socialize reactive puppy or not??

Ok yes i know there are hundreds of threads on socialization but I am kind of in a bind. We have a WL from a reputable breeder with great parents with solid nerves and stable temperaments. My question is with our 15 week old puppy. From day one he went to work with me 5 days a week around 50 employees, tow trucks, plenty of loud noises. We have taken him to the park, department stores, pet stores pre schools etc. Always excited to great people and was great with my parents dogs. He was perfect and nothing seemed to bother him until 14 1/2 weeks of age. He now barks at unknown dogs, unknown people, certain noises and etc (hackles never up). Once approached he is fine but its getting to that point that is off putting. Example: Today went to petsmart and we had him in the cart, every dog that came by he would watch them and bark at them. Doesn't seem to be aggression but more being unsure. Then took him out front of petsmart and sat him 20 feet from the door to work on redirecting, he would bark at some people and most dogs.

Sorry here comes the question: We have puppy classes that start this weekend, I have a feeling he will be uncomfortable. What to do? Do i rethink socialization and not force it? Just looking to have a stable non reactive dog.

I have read https://www.google.com/url?q=http://...h4M1042gofW-Zg and find it very informative but would like some info in my case.
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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 02:04 AM
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If you went to a reputable breeder, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to help you. They might know a lot more about your dogs temperament and genetics.
How much of this "reactivity" is on leash? How does he react off leash?
Puppy classes are not necessarily the best scenario for puppies. It works for some, but not all.
I went with 1:1 training so that I could learn how to train my dog. I didn't see a need for puppy group classes as I'm my dogs friend. Not every other dog.
But with that said, what are your goals for your dog? What do you want?
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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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If you went to a reputable breeder, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to help you. They might know a lot more about your dogs temperament and genetics.
How much of this "reactivity" is on leash? How does he react off leash?
Puppy classes are not necessarily the best scenario for puppies. It works for some, but not all.
I went with 1:1 training so that I could learn how to train my dog. I didn't see a need for puppy group classes as I'm my dogs friend. Not every other dog.
But with that said, what are your goals for your dog? What do you want?

Gave the breeder a call today so I'm sure I will hear back tomorrow.
Reactivity is the same on and off leash so not leash reactivity.
Yeah I cancelled his group class and looking for more of a 1 on 1 approach as well. Have an email into Lisa Maze and also looking at menlo park Sch.
My goals are a stable family dog with advanced obediance, possible schutz or protection.
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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 03:32 AM
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I think puppy classes at his age are the best thing for him. Some classes have playtime with the pups as part of the class, that part I wouldn't push. If he is comfortable fine, if not then let it go. He will learn how to work with distractions and the end result should be a pup that can ignore and be neutral around other dogs. At this age, it's more frustration then anything. Redirection is good, but you gotta remember that at this age they aren't great with focus and they are very curious about everything. Take the class, explain to the trainer what you need help working on and if it's a good trainer they will teach you what to do. I have never been disappointed in any of the classes I took with my dogs. I don't need to take the classes, I know them by heart(I have several dogs) but I still take each dog through 3-4 classes each for the distractions, minimal socialization and exposure. One on one won't give that to you or the dog. I've never done one on one, but I would not have an issue with it if the dog was older and I was looking for training on one or two specific things. Group classes are good for general obedience and teaching multiple commands.

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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 09:52 AM
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I think sometimes those big classes even the ones with non interaction and controlled can be a bit much for a unsure pup. It is great to learn and practice focus exercise but I don't think it benefits a young pup who is unsure.
We recently got a new pup at 12 weeks old I started puppy class at 13 weeks old. I took her to puppy class as I saw she had no problem adjusting to her new home slept the night in her crate first night got along with all our dogs Enjoyed meeting friends and family members. Had fun walk through the park even shopped at home goods and everyone loved her at the vets office. She is so easy and well behaved it is actually a lot quieter around here now then before we had her. So even only having her a week thought puppy class would be not to much. She barked at all the pups in class was uncomfortable around the trainer- I was a bit surprised. I know she barked at max a bit while on walks as she was excited and wanted to play with him but she was more unsure in puppy class even if many of the pups were behaved. I decided to take her out of puppy class and to more of a smaller one on one interactions even if it just on focusing on me and greeting and interacting with a pup or dog I know and that she's comfortable with. I just do not know many people with dogs and pups that is the dilema. Our regular walks or stroll through a Petco does enable me to practice focusing exercises and now having two dogs constantly interacting at home it enable me to even practice more of the focusing. we were able to play with friensds dog and pup -barking at first but with some time she was able have fun with. Those quick few second meetings I don't think will benefit her as just cause frustration and more unsureness. These are just my thoughts as I am currently in it. It is important to speak to your breeder as I'm sure he or she will be able to guide you what is best for you and your pup.


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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 09:55 AM
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These growing pups go through "phases". People always talk about Fear Phases. I see that they come and go seemingly random sometimes. If in doubt, step back and take a breather. Let your pup be a pup.
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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 10:05 AM
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pup is frazzled with over stimulation .

he hasn't been allowed to just be pup --- eat in peace , sleep undisturbed, go wild for 20 minutes then crash , be social with the FAMILY he belongs to , his bonded group , that he trusts and responds to .

you want him as a stable family member -- but you haven't given him the normal reality and rhythm of a stable family.

your place of business sounds like a successful bustling enterprise , which demands your attention . So there has been no quiet focused one on one with the pup . No distractions .

the employees come and go , they greet , they socialize with the pup. Heck , who wouldn't ?

they come , they go, the pup hasn't established where he belongs . Who is his family? Who and where is his home?

It is always a good idea to have a shut down period for a few weeks .

and this is not meant as a criticism on your efforts - doesn't come across right in print.

everyday for him has been a circus , a trial to get through the day.

pups have gradual emergence of awareness.
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
I think puppy classes at his age are the best thing for him. Some classes have playtime with the pups as part of the class, that part I wouldn't push. If he is comfortable fine, if not then let it go. He will learn how to work with distractions and the end result should be a pup that can ignore and be neutral around other dogs. At this age, it's more frustration then anything. Redirection is good, but you gotta remember that at this age they aren't great with focus and they are very curious about everything. Take the class, explain to the trainer what you need help working on and if it's a good trainer they will teach you what to do. I have never been disappointed in any of the classes I took with my dogs. I don't need to take the classes, I know them by heart(I have several dogs) but I still take each dog through 3-4 classes each for the distractions, minimal socialization and exposure. One on one won't give that to you or the dog. I've never done one on one, but I would not have an issue with it if the dog was older and I was looking for training on one or two specific things. Group classes are good for general obedience and teaching multiple commands.
This is kind of where I was at. I've wanted to do puppy classes for the sake of socialization but mostly for him to become aloof to all the distractions. I think group classes would be off-putting for a short bit to him but would help him in the long run. And one on one sounds great but i feel it wouldn't necessarily be to the same benefit as a group class in my situation. So here I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, rock ( take a chance and expose him to the group class, hoping he won't be over stimulated and create a neg association/ hard place (step back and put socialization off to the side)
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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jenny720 View Post
I think sometimes those big classes even the ones with non interaction and controlled can be a bit much for a unsure pup. It is great to learn and practice focus exercise but I don't think it benefits a young pup who is unsure.
We recently got a new pup at 12 weeks old I started puppy class at 13 weeks old. I took her to puppy class as I saw she had no problem adjusting to her new home slept the night in her crate first night got along with all our dogs Enjoyed meeting friends and family members. Had fun walk through the park even shopped at home goods and everyone loved her at the vets office. She is so easy and well behaved it is actually a lot quieter around here now then before we had her. So even only having her a week thought puppy class would be not to much. She barked at all the pups in class was uncomfortable around the trainer- I was a bit surprised. I know she barked at max a bit while on walks as she was excited and wanted to play with him but she was more unsure in puppy class even if many of the pups were behaved. I decided to take her out of puppy class and to more of a smaller one on one interactions even if it just on focusing on me and greeting and interacting with a pup or dog I know and that she's comfortable with. I just do not know many people with dogs and pups that is the dilema. Our regular walks or stroll through a Petco does enable me to practice focusing exercises and now having two dogs constantly interacting at home it enable me to even practice more of the focusing. we were able to play with friensds dog and pup -barking at first but with some time she was able have fun with. Those quick few second meetings I don't think will benefit her as just cause frustration and more unsureness. These are just my thoughts as I am currently in it. It is important to speak to your breeder as I'm sure he or she will be able to guide you what is best for you and your pup.
Well sounds like we are in sort of the same boat. Yeah we don't know anyone with a stable dog either so it makes it hard. How was your girl when meeting dogs on walks? If barking was it more out of excitement? I think I'm just at a loss because I feel like whatever i decide could have an impact on him. Not giving him socialization I'd be afraid it could turn into fear or fear aggression, and over tim could cause that as well. What to do what to do. How old is your girl now and any changes??

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Originally Posted by car2ner View Post
These growing pups go through "phases". People always talk about Fear Phases. I see that they come and go seemingly random sometimes. If in doubt, step back and take a breather. Let your pup be a pup.
So this is what I'm hoping is that it is just phase and hoping this is what i hear from the breeder.. But if more than a phase I might have a problem.. This is another thing I kind of have trouble understanding is what let your pup be a pup means? We've done a lot of obedience but always positive never negative, have always redirected any negative habits and have never been to controlling. so does it mean to back off obedience, does it mean not to bring him out for socialization ( I don't mean forced either where we try and run into people and things but just taking him out for walks and to see new places)
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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 10:41 AM
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I don't know that a trainer or class would be any help or that you'd need it for this. I think its just a matter of calming things down a little knowing that as he grows he's going to be more aware of different things then he was last week, so you don't put him into situations like the front door of petsmart, but you don't seclude him from life either. Don't change what he's ok with, but don't overwhelm him with too many new things. You can figure out the balance.
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