My socialization plan - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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My socialization plan

I will be picking up my new pup in just under 2 weeks.

I have been reading a ton of socialization stuff recently and definitely want to get it right.

I definitely like the concept and idea of my wife and I being the puppies whole world, where for the most part other people are just objects or basically "furniture" as some people put it and are nothing to get excited about. We plan on her being by our side as close to 24x7 as possible (we work from home so we won't even be leaving her during work hours).

My brother has a Lab who looks at everyone she sees as her next best friend and runs up greeting everyone with a toy in her mouth and her tail wagging, that is great for some dogs but not what I am looking for in our new puppy.

So my current plan is this:
1. Only my wife and I give our dogs treats and we only give them to her for doing something (i.e. a sit, stay, giving us attention or focus, etc.)

2. We plan on taking our puppy many many (safe) places within the first few months of her life. I have a very long list of things I want to familiarize her with (different sounds, surfaces, locations, etc.) and we want her to see as many other animals, dogs and people as possible but don't want her to greet those strangers and strange animals. Just get her used to being around those different things, people, animals and work on having her focus on us when she is and getting treated for giving us her focus.

3. We do want her to learn how to great people that we are okay with her greeting. Initially for this will only use family members who we want to our pup to really be comfortable around and accepting of (i.e. my brother, my mother, my wife's parents, etc.) and whom she will see throughout her life. When we introduce her to family members we will control the situation, i.e. do it in a place the puppy is comfortable. Tell the family member not to go to her, not to really pay much attention to her, etc. That if / when the puppy comes to them they can calmy talk to her and pet her nicely. However these family members will not be allowed to give her treats, play tug with her etc.

In the presence of family we will play tug with her and give her treats, so even though she learns that the family members are decent to be around...better then the complete strangers we ignore, and has learned how to greet them...she still realizes that my wife and I are the coolest people ever.

4.) The few dogs that our family members have are very calm, friendly and healthy, stable adult dogs. So we will use those as the dogs that she will get introduced to so that she can learn how to greet other dogs.

To re-iterate our goal is to make it to where she realizes that she should ignore most everything, that she should really focus on my wife and I, but that the people and animals we tell her are okay to meet are just that, okay to meet....and to where at the same time she starts to become familiar with our extended family so if there is ever an emergency and the dog has to stay with them, or if we visit someone, etc. the dog is comfortable around them.

So GSD experts, please share your feedback with me on what I should do differently, what I should add, remove, change, etc. from this plan.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 10:54 PM
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I think your plan is great - well though out and you have ways to implement it. Though this may be off topic and you have probably already planned for it, is to teach your puppy to be alone. I started this with my Sting the day after he arrived - after his walk and potty time, I left him in his crate with his favorite toy , told him to be good, and took a 10 minute walk. When I came back, I said a calm hello. I did this daily and gradually lenghened the time. He learned quickly that it was fine to be alone and I have had no issues with separation anxiety.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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I think your plan is great - well though out and you have ways to implement it. Though this may be off topic and you have probably already planned for it, is to teach your puppy to be alone. I started this with my Sting the day after he arrived - after his walk and potty time, I left him in his crate with his favorite toy , told him to be good, and took a 10 minute walk. When I came back, I said a calm hello. I did this daily and gradually lenghened the time. He learned quickly that it was fine to be alone and I have had no issues with separation anxiety.
Thanks for your feedback.

I like that alone time idea a lot. That is something that I had totally skipped over including in my thought process. Since we are home and will be around the dog almost 24x7 that will be really important, I would hate for it to be so used to us that it completely freaks out when it is left home alone.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by cootersotg View Post
Thanks for your feedback.

I like that alone time idea a lot. That is something that I had totally skipped over including in my thought process. Since we are home and will be around the dog almost 24x7 that will be really important, I would hate for it to be so used to us that it completely freaks out when it is left home alone.
A well bred GSD should be naturally aloof as an adult. A lot of GSDs are not naturally aloof today, even in working lines. I would make sure you stress this to your breeder and make sure the breeder and you share the same goals.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 02:45 AM
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hey OP, you're over thinking things. yes socialize the crap out of it but don't have such a structured plan. all dogs are different. some pups will run towards strangers and some will show they like distance and some like kids some don't. some will turn out angels with strangers in the house, some will need to be crated for being territorial and some will have to be crated for going crazy happy bonkers and knocking guests over. feel the dog out and work your plan according to it's personality, not such a pre-structured plan.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:57 AM
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Basically, I think you will do well, but also consider what Scarfish says....there is merit there also. Each pup is different, but they all should learn boundaries and manners. They all should be exposed to outside world.....if you do these things you should have good dog ....unless there are genetic temperament deficiencies.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 08:14 AM
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I think the planning is great. It gives you something to do while you wait. (grin)
While you work the plan, watch your pup's body language. That will help you gauge if you are going in the right directions with your pup or if you need to back up and relax a bit. And most of all, have fun. You're tiny furry land shark phase will be over before you know it.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 08:14 AM
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Just remember,,,,, this little guy is going to be swept up by "STRANGER'S"!
And taken into a situation he has never dealt with, in his few weeks of life.....new voices, new area, new sounds, new house, new yard, new dogs, and even more strangers! It would be like you being dropped off in the middle of a foreign speaking country all by yourself when you were a child!



The "2 Week Shut Down" theory is controversial with some, but, I think you will get some good pointer's from the articles below.

Quote:
"Things NOT to do:
Here is an example
"I introduced her to 15 people"
" he was a bit leery but seems to like my other 3 dogs"
"she went everywhere with me "
All in the first few days of the new home..... (!!!)

Two weeks later we read
“I think we will have to re-home the new dog" Unquote


Decompression ? The Two Week Shutdown | Looking Glass Animal Rescue


The Two-Week Shut Down | Pibbles & More Animal Rescue


Although this was an older dog in this thread, folks had great ideas for this OP: https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ml#post8290698

Also good reading: "Rethinking Popular Early Socialization": https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...zation-23.html


Best of luck to you and your wife!
Moms
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 11:38 AM
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I sort of like the 4 on the floor rule for pups.

That includes no sweeping up and being baby-held by strangers .
This is the rule at my house when the gang comes over to socialize pups (when there are any).

That includes the pup not being encouraged to stand up on hind to get attention. You know the little pup is going to
be excited and want attention so get to it before it climbs up you.

Give all that attention with 4 on the floor . That is so much easier than to have to correct the dog when he/she is 8 months , or years old - and muddy or wet , or the guest who doesn't want to be dog-mauled.
Pup shouldn't be people mauled -- people shouldn't be dog mauled .

That 4 on the floor sets the tone . That is a habit . Just like kids learn to have some table manners. No corrections needed .

For dogs going on to active sports or work where there needs to be full and totally uninhibited body contact there is no conflict . If they need to "trash" they will .

commenting on this "We plan on her being by our side as close to 24x7 as possible (we work from home so we won't even be leaving her during work hours).

Don't change your lives . The dog is joining YOU and YOUR household. You shouldn't be held captive because you have a canine companion. Even when you are home it is a real good idea to give a bit of separation time. A crate .
An outdoor kennel to enjoy fresh air and a bit of a natural setting . Let the dog be a dog.
Time away and time alone are part of the equation for the dog's and emotional and mental health . (anxiety - stress )
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 11:40 AM
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Be flexible. The best plans often have to be adjusted for real life situations.
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