Socialization vs vaccinations conondrum - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Socialization vs vaccinations conondrum

(Yes, I spelled conundrum wrong, oops.)

Hi all, I have a 12. 5 week old female GSD who really needs to be around other dogs. Currently she is reticent around them and barks like crazy whenever she sees them. We are working with a trainer who recommends doggy day care a couple days a week to get her interacting with other dogs (a specific facility that is well regarded and supervises play as well as dividing dogs into area by size/energy/etc).

I know only one person with a dog, a friendly Golden, but is not crazy about puppy shenanigans. Neighborhood dogs we encounter on walks are either leash reactive, don't react well to her barking at them, are shy, misbehaving or some other such that has ruled out positive interaction. Dog parks are a no-no. Her barking spins up otherwise calm dogs when we walk in the park and people shy away. Sometimes the barking seems fearful/reticent, sometimes seems like she just wants to play.

It seems like I will have to choose between an early vaccination for rabies at this age, and the possible consequences of that, or a dog who will not be able to interact freely with other dogs (except for the one day we go to training) until she's four months old. Now is the formative period. Seems like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. Has anyone else had to make this choice? How did it turn out for you? Thank you.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 09:21 AM
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You are being steered in the wrong direction. Chances are this is a "positive only" trainer or a non breed savvy trainer?

The only thing your pup needs right now is you. And your family that lives with you. Flooding with dog "friends" (which is a modern social construct by the Fur Baby movement) is not needed. Dogs do not need "dog friends". I have no idea who ever came up with that. They need their pack, their family, you and yours.

You should expect your dog to be neutral towards other dogs, and be more focused on you. Forcing her to socialize can only create anxiety and excited which is not a positive thing (excitement can look like fun). You want her excited over you, not other dogs. Things being "other dog happy" can lead to- running out of your grip to go greet other dogs - running up to the WRONG dog

To most here being socialized means being able to be in most environments they may encounter in life without being stressed by it..with focus being on their person, handler, owner.

Personally I would not do "doggie daycare". If I needed a dog relieved and given attention on long work day I would choose in house service where someone comes, lets them out or walks them, and plays with them for 1/2 hour midday. And I'd let my dog get to know them first. This option is usually cheaper than daycare too.

Where are you located?
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 09:24 AM
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The fact you said she is reticent around other dogs is exactly why you should not push her to play WITH them. You will create a situation! Look up engagement games and focus here on the forum. If you can get her focus on you and off things that make her reticent, you will greatly improve your chances of having a dog that is comfortable out in the world with you
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CometDog View Post
You are being steered in the wrong direction. Chances are this is a "positive only" trainer or a non breed savvy trainer?

The only thing your pup needs right now is you. And your family that lives with you. Flooding with dog "friends" (which is a modern social construct by the Fur Baby movement) is not needed. Dogs do not need "dog friends". I have no idea who ever came up with that. They need their pack, their family, you and yours.

You should expect your dog to be neutral towards other dogs, and be more focused on you. Forcing her to socialize can only create anxiety and excited which is not a positive thing (excitement can look like fun). You want her excited over you, not other dogs. Things being "other dog happy" can lead to- running out of your grip to go greet other dogs - running up to the WRONG dog

To most here being socialized means being able to be in most environments they may encounter in life without being stressed by it..with focus being on their person, handler, owner.

Personally I would not do "doggie daycare". If I needed a dog relieved and given attention on long work day I would choose in house service where someone comes, lets them out or walks them, and plays with them for 1/2 hour midday. And I'd let my dog get to know them first. This option is usually cheaper than daycare too.

Where are you located?
Thanks for the reply, and your opinion is so noted. I'm not discounting what you've said, but I'm really looking for people that have had to choose between the two, and what their experience was.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 09:58 AM
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For the rabies question, here in our town it is required at 4 months. 10 dogs over 48 years never had an apparent issue doing it at 4 months. A lot of dog "social" places require neutering at 6 months as a heads up...THAT does have obvious physical and mental drawbacks. In case it comes up in 2 months for you.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 10:02 AM
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Your dog is dog reactive and this has been made worse by doggydaycare. GSDs are supposed to ignore other people and dogs, as Cometdog said. This is how you undo it. This will take a lot of time and work.
Leerburg Q&A | I have an extremely dog reactive female German Shepherd, and I want to pursue agility with her but she goes nuts when she sees other dogs. Do you have any suggestions?

Personally I have never used treats and markers. My dog already knows the Enough and Quiet command. If I see that there is a dog park ahead or someone walking their dog and she first sees the dog, I say Inga? No. She knows barking will not be allowed and she does not bark. Then she gets praised. As the article says, you have to nip the behavior in the bud. She became dog reactive at a dog park back when I didn't know any better by the way. If I wanted a loves everybody and everything kind of a dog I would have gotten a dumb old golden retriever.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 10:03 AM
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You have a couple of issues here.


1. Socializing is NOT immersing your dog in whatever they are worried about. A reactive dog should have obedience, not forced to play with others. Socializing is letting them experience and watch the world while you guide them through. So, NO, I would not put a puppy who was reactive at such a young age in day care for that reason. I would, and have, worked on it differently. But that's for another thread.


2. No day care is going to allow an unvaccinated puppy into their facility. They will not risk the other dogs.


3. If your puppy catches parvo or distemper, because the last vaccination is at 16 weeks, and dies then socializing is a moot point.


So the answer is....there really isn't a choice here. You don't risk your puppy's life.



Find a safe place, with dogs you know have a good temperament and are vaccinated, AND in an environment you control. Maybe post a location on here and someone here could help you? Or call a local AKC club and see what options they have for you as far as group classes (again, they will want your puppy fully vaccinated)



In my experience, your puppy doesn't need to be immersed in other dogs. She needs to be told No. Been there, done that.


Right now, work on obedience. Teach her Sit and Look At That. That will be more of a benefit to her when you are able to go out so she understands that being a whirling dervish whenever another dog goes by is not allowed.




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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nurse Bishop View Post
Your dog is dog reactive and this has been made worse by doggydaycare. GSDs are supposed to ignore other people and dogs, as Cometdog said. This is how you undo it. This will take a lot of time and work.
Leerburg Q&A | I have an extremely dog reactive female German Shepherd, and I want to pursue agility with her but she goes nuts when she sees other dogs. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi, thanks. She has not been to doggy day care, it's something we're considering.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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For the rabies question, here in our town it is required at 4 months. 10 dogs over 48 years never had an apparent issue doing it at 4 months. A lot of dog "social" places require neutering at 6 months as a heads up...THAT does have obvious physical and mental drawbacks. In case it comes up in 2 months for you.
Yes, thanks for that heads up, I did see there was a rule. Dogtopia has a rule that any dog over 7 months be spayed/neutered. IF (big IF) she were going there at that time I would pull her out. I don't intend to spay her until she is much older, with the blessing of my vet fortunately.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Felafufu View Post
Yes, thanks for that heads up, I did see there was a rule. Dogtopia has a rule that any dog over 7 months be spayed/neutered. IF (big IF) she were going there at that time I would pull her out. I don't intend to spay her until she is much older, with the blessing of my vet fortunately.
Gald you have a good vet I second finding good group classes once she is fully vaccinated. Free play is way over rated.

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