Socialization Ideas Please :) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Socialization Ideas Please :)

Cusack is pretty fearful around new people. We are working on training but I need some ideas on socialization with him. Where do you bring your dogs??

Whats the best way to get him through this? When we are in Petco he is so freaked out he won't even take a treat!

Should I talk to the manager at petco and just sit at the store for a while and have people treat him? Or is that super weird? But then again he won't take treats at the store.... !


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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 11:37 AM
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I like to go to a park and sit on a bench where people walk by. Most people will not stop, and that sounds fine in your case, right now.

If people want to pet him, especially children, you might want to say no, or have them stand a distance away and give a treat.

It's not so much interacting you want, but for the dog to watch, observe and understand that people will not hurt him. And also to learn normal human behaviour.

Same goes with other dog socialization. Interaction is not necessary. Just observation.

Some people stand near the entrance at Walmart. Not too close where the pup will be scared. Keep a comfortable distance for the dog. Eventually, you will be able to move closer. Don't rush him, though.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 11:38 AM
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How old is he? That could make a diffeence in how to handle him.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 11:42 AM
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I see Cusack is the same age as Boaz. Boaz was born 1/6/2010. You should have started much younger, but it's good that you are starting. It just might take longer. Be patient, and don't coddle. If he looks interested say, "Good Dog!", if he's afraid, don't say anything and act like nothing out of the ordinary is happening. You do not want to reinforce unwanted behaviour by saying, "That's okay." when he's scared.

Another good thing to do is to have a conversation with a stranger, but instruct the stranger NOT to look at the dog.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Dogs aren't allowed in the parks here I'm having such a hard time thinking of places to bring him. Petco is all that I can think of. We are on the outskirts of Baton Rouge but I don't know where to take him there either lol


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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 11:48 AM
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You could even take him to Petco and just sit or walk around and just have him watch people. You could request someone give a treat that you approve of, or ask that they not pet him.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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He turned a year in Jan

I tried to do the best that I could as soon as we got him. I took him into Petco with me every time I went. I have parrots so I go too much lol He wasn't doing bad until I couldn't bring him for about a month b/c my back was acting up. When I brought him back it was like severe over stimulation. Now I'm not sure what to do.

He also does this at home. When new people come in he will hide behind one of us and run when they come near him. He does eventually warm up but it takes a couple of hours and you can tell he still doesn't trust them. he also jumps at loud noises.

We got him at 4-5 mos old. The guy lived in an apartment and Cusack would scream while he was at work. The guy also said that he had just got him and it seemed that the breeder kept him in the kennel most of the time, he assumed it was because he was older and didn't sell with his litter mates.

I don't know if this has anything to do with it but he also has a couple of health problems that we are dealing with. Calcinosis Circumscripta (lumps in the skin caused by calcium deposits due to improper absorption of calcium) he is due for very expensive surgery soon to get the lump removed from his neck and he has bone spurs in his hips and tail.

He is great with everything else! Great off leash, basic commands, happy other wise.

Most importantly... Thanks so much for your help!!!


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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 12:11 PM
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Keep working with him. And I think the more you take him around stuff and other people and he learns that it won't harm him and with you being all cool and confident it should help him calm down as well.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 12:53 PM
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I LOVE your dog's name. Very cool. It could be that Petco is just too stimulating for him at this point. If your goal is for him to walk into the store with you and not scream and fuss at other dogs or people, then you might want to break it down a little more and start with the first step.

Practice pulling into the parking lot and having him get out of the car calmly. When you get to that point, start working on having him get to the sidewalk without losing his mind. You get the idea. It sounds like he might not have gotten too much socializing from the breeder or the first owner? It could be that as he ages and matures, those early gaps are becoming more apparent?

I am not so sure that Petco is a great place to initially work with a reactive dog. So much of your success there will depend on how well other people have control of their dogs. It would be impossible to teach Cusack that other dogs are no threat if another dog is allowed to run up on him. Sure, the other dog might just want to make friends, but maybe Cusack doesn't see it that way?

I would find a good group class where the work is geared towards reactive dogs. I had great success with a "Control Unleashed" class with my reactive dog. I highly recommend them!
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 01:14 PM
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Frank went through this same thing at about 8 months, he would bark and try to get away, he's 10 months now and doing really well with strangers, I belong to a training group and was able to "set up" Frank to met people that I knew but Frank didnt' the "stranger" would just ignore him while we talked then if frank came close let him sniff then offer a treat, after he improved with those strangers we went on to the real thing in stores, last friday we actually went to Bass Pro with them having a wall to wall crowd and Frank did Great.
One more thing I started the "stranger" meetings on neutal ground not at home.

I would call around to some stores and ask them if dogs are allowed it might surprise you where you can take him, around here all the farm stores allow them, (like tractor supply) Bass Pro, and all the different pet stores.

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