Puppy Not Playing When I'm Around - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Puppy Not Playing When I'm Around

So Penny is 4 months old. I am wondering if her behavior is "normal" for a puppy her age.
I have taken her out to places to socialize her, and have her experience different environmental things. I try not to overwhelm her and cause anxiety. But, I'm new to puppy hood as its been 15 years since I've had one. So I am sure I have made a few mistakes.
I have taken her to the dog park, and all she really does is follow me around as I'm walking. (I'm fine with that). She does show SOME interest in the other dogs, but she does not really seek out their attention. Usually its the other dog approaching her, and they will both sniff butts, then part ways.
I have enrolled her in puppy class (obedience class) and during social time she still follows me around, not playing with the other puppies. When they try to, she turns away or backs away, sort of acting like she doesnt know what to do, and has this confused look. But, when I have had to drop her off for doggy day care twice, (same place where the obedience classes are) they say she is a playing fiend. That she really lets loose.

HUH????

Doesn't sound like my puppy lol I do see her play, at home, as she likes to play with her lab sister and chihuahua sister, but I've never seen her play with other puppies or dogs!
Also she got a little mouthy with the trainer tonight, and when class first started, and he got up in front, she kept barking at him when he tried to speak 🙄
Thanks all for any advice!!

Is this condusive to the GSD behavior?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 03:24 AM
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Why would you want her to play with strange dogs?
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 05:53 AM
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Actually, whether a dog loves to positively socialize with a strange dog depends on its personality, like to humans. Your pup can get on well with other canines who live together, because they have stayed in the same place (your home and the daycare) for a while and slowly became familiar. Luckily, she has no impolite behaviors such as barking or jumping up to the strange dogs, which probably is an effect of puppy training. Why does she suddenly bark to her trainer? Is she barking angrily or excitedly?
You could refer to my advice:
1. Reinforce the socialized training on your own. After the puppy class, you can also teach your pup how to socialize with other canines. For example, bring her to the dog-friendly beaches and parks with your other two dogs, so they can play with "new friends" in the spacious area for a whole sunny afternoon. The daily walking just makes them come across in a short time. Give them much time to get along.
2. Build a bone between both of you. To build the confidence and trust in your pup, you could enrich her activities and complete with her. Leash training with treats and flying disc game are the good options.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by middleofnowhere View Post
Why would you want her to play with strange dogs?
I never said I did, I was just being curious as most other puppies her age that I've come across (even same breed) are playing with other puppies and dogs. So was asking opinions whether this was an OK behavior. And if so, whether its OK to encourage it 😊
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pipper View Post
Actually, whether a dog loves to positively socialize with a strange dog depends on its personality, like to humans. Your pup can get on well with other canines who live together, because they have stayed in the same place (your home and the daycare) for a while and slowly became familiar. Luckily, she has no impolite behaviors such as barking or jumping up to the strange dogs, which probably is an effect of puppy training. Why does she suddenly bark to her trainer? Is she barking angrily or excitedly?
You could refer to my advice:
1. Reinforce the socialized training on your own. After the puppy class, you can also teach your pup how to socialize with other canines. For example, bring her to the dog-friendly beaches and parks with your other two dogs, so they can play with "new friends" in the spacious area for a whole sunny afternoon. The daily walking just makes them come across in a short time. Give them much time to get along.
2. Build a bone between both of you. To build the confidence and trust in your pup, you could enrich her activities and complete with her. Leash training with treats and flying disc game are the good options.
Thank you! I have heard it does depend on the puppy/dog as far as socializing goes. In my experience with ones I've come across personally, puppies are usually more prone to play, so having a puppy that really doesn't (strange dog or no) is different for me. For instance, there was one puppy in puppy class tonight that usually goes to their Tuesday night class. This lab puppy and Penny, according to our instructor who is also there for daycare, have played together a lot at daycare. But during class, she acted unsure of him and i would never have guessed they met before based on her reactions to him.
And it seems I come across more and more owners who look at me as if something is wrong with my puppy when she doesn't want to socialize and play around. 😕 As far as barking at the class instructor, she was standing in front of me, tail I believe was still (cannot remember if it was in the neutral position), and she was staring right at him, barking. It did not sound like her usual play barking, but it also didn't sound or look aggressive either.
I will definitely try your suggestions. Unfortunately our soon to be 6 year old lab is a rescue, which means she came with some baggage.... She is very reactive, and is very hard to walk on a leash. We are working with her on this, and its showing to be a slow process. She was 5 when we adopted her and she still hasnt shown much improvement.
Penny has not seen her behave this way as we walk them separately. I don't want Penny learning that behavior. Our little chihuahua is fine, so we can walk them together.
I have no issues with Penny being cautious with dogs and people she doesn't know, but I don't want a future 70 to 80 pound dog pulling me around and lunging for people or other dogs (she does not do this when out walking around or when I take her places). She is actually just very calm. Wouldnt know she was a puppy except her size.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 10:53 AM
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I think it's totally normal for a dog to not want to play with other strange dogs.

Katsu never played during the social aspect of puppy class. She sat with me quietly waiting for me to start engaging her. Steel is picky, he'll play with some dogs, but not others. Last time I took him to a puppy play (only because Katsu's nosework class was at the same building) he just followed me around and played with me. He goes to daycare at the moment because I couldn't line anything else up for my 8 hour work day. Sometimes it can be because you are in the room. I see pictures posted online of Steel playing in daycare, but he doesn't do it when I'm in the room with him.

If your puppy doesn't want to play with the dogs around, try and make it a fun experience by playing with her while the puppies are running around with each other. That way she's being rewarded for watching you and engaging you while ignoring the environment.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 11:18 AM
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I think this is pretty normal. I took my last shepherd to the park everyday and he usually only wanted to hang out with me or 1 or 2 other specific dogs that for some reason he just clicked with. My new 5 month old pup is pretty much like yours, could really care less about a big group of dogs and is very mouthy with the teething. I also drop him off at daycare occasionally to let him get some supervised socialization when im at work and they tell me the same thing, he plays fine with all the dogs but I honestly dont really believe it. Remember our pups are still so young and trying to figure it all out, you seem to be doing all the right things so just stick with it and im sure you both will be fine.

As far as the barking at the trainer, thats what youre there for, and its a great real world situation to see if the trainer is worth the money.
GOOD LUCK!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Libby View Post
I have no issues with Penny being cautious with dogs and people she doesn't know, but I don't want a future 70 to 80 pound dog pulling me around and lunging for people or other dogs (she does not do this when out walking around or when I take her places).
Pulling you around and lunging shouldn't be an issue later if you do obedience training and work on "heel", "leave it", "off", etc. a lot. Also, consider a prong collar when she's a little older to keep pressure off her trachea and provide better corrections while training. As soon as I put a prong collar on Boon, the daily walks became MUCH easier and we both struggle less with training.

As others have said, dogs have their own personalities. Some are more outgoing, some a bit more reserved. Similarly, GSD owners differ in what "socialization" means to them. Some owners want their dogs to ignore most other humans and dogs, others want their dogs to be "friendlier" and allow pettings and play times at dog beaches, etc.
post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 01:48 PM
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I'd personally shy away from day cares and allowing others to train my dog. The one on one bonding connection between you two should occur at puppy hood. She should fully understand that you're her owner and no one else. No one else should be involved unless the training session requires 2 people for distraction purposes.

--IeeTeY
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 02:07 PM
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I avoid dog parks and I do not encourage my GSDs to play with dogs they don't know. There are lots of unruly dogs and clueless owners in dog parks (at least in the ones around me), and a bad encounter can do more harm than good, especially in an impressionable puppy. When your pup is grown, if she gets in an altercation, because she is a GSD, she will probably be the one blamed whether she is the one out in public or not. When out in public, I prefer for my GSDs to act like other dogs don't exist. It sounds like your puppy would rather spend time with you than with other dogs when she has the choice--nothing wrong with that. It sounds like you're developing a good bond. GSDs are very loyal to their people. I wouldn't force her to play with the other dogs if she doesn't want to. If you believe she's shy, confused, or uncertain around the them, I'd give her some commands or have her do a trick, and give her a treat, or practice your "watch me" command. That way she has something to "do" and she can see you're in control and she doesn't have to worry about the other dogs.
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