Socializing an older dog**I am open to ALL suggestions** - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Socializing an older dog**I am open to ALL suggestions**

Scarlett KNOWS all the commands and when we go for a walk, she is a stellar performer...BUT when we are in a "social" situation, she is HORRIBLE! I know this is MY fault, but I am not sure what steps I need to do to correct the behaviours.

1-She pulls horribly at the leash...digging her feet in, gagging against the collar, dragging me along with her. She suddenly becomes deaf to all commands and will not stop.

2-She gives the warning WOOF WOOF WOOF to about 1/2 of the people who approach us. This is clearly not acceptable in a social environment. We are trying to be a therapy dog team. It was a disaster at the hospital yesterday. I should have known. She was horrible at the car dealer, the pet store, walking around a strip mall...

SO...any suggestions?? I can use the training collar to train her, but I am not permitted to use it in a therapy setting. I need her to be TRAINED.

I think that she really is poorly socialized and that is my fault. I work and act as shuttle bus for my very busy daughter, but I should be able to get my act together more now and get Scarlett to behave...but I am just not sure which steps to follow and how to address the issues.

Scarlett WGSD 2/07 CGC TDI(retired)
Paige Husky/GSD mix 2/95-12/08

If you are going through hades, keep going!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 03:51 PM
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We are currently working on this with our girl Sasha and while we are just getting started so I don't have any concrete suggestions yet, I just wanted to let you know that it's been tough. We've seen a little progress but it is far from easy. It takes tons of repetition and consistency on your part... Are you working with a trainer? Is her reaction fear based or is she just super-duper excited to be out and about?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 03:53 PM
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My 2 older dogs are lacking in the social graces department. I did a lot of threshold work with them and they are much better.
What kind of collar are you using to walk her in? Since I walk 3 dogs at the same time loose leash walking is an absolute must.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Sasha, I think it's a little of both. She obviously LOVES to go explore new places, but she clearly has some fear of certain people.

We worked with a trainer when we first got Scarlett, but once she had the basics to be a well behaved, proper leash walking, nice family pet...we stopped training further. A mistake?? Seems so....

Scarlett WGSD 2/07 CGC TDI(retired)
Paige Husky/GSD mix 2/95-12/08

If you are going through hades, keep going!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 03:54 PM
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How did she get her CGC and TDI if she acts like this? I'm sorry, I'm not blaming you just the evaluator that allowed this to happen. Is her pulling friendly or is it aggressive? What you need to do is every time she pulls you just stop, or turn around and walk the other way. Make her heel next to you while sitting and take a step towards the excitement, if she gets ahead of you, stop and stand there, make her sit next to you. It will take a lot of repetition and you will look really dumb walking like that but after a while she should understand that being calm and in heel gets her to the exciting area faster than pulling.

For now, I suggest getting a training collar, the flat collar doesn't affect her and she's not learning her lesson. Go to a training collar and once she understands on that, go to a flat collar.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Kiya, we are back to using a nylon training collar. She does respond to it when it's used correctly. I was not using it when we went to the car dealer, pet store or the hospital though. I guess I need to put it back on her. We had stopped using it because it's not allowed when doing therapy work and I thought she needed to learn to work with just commands...I see how well that DID NOT work.

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Paige Husky/GSD mix 2/95-12/08

If you are going through hades, keep going!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martemchik View Post
How did she get her CGC and TDI if she acts like this? I'm sorry, I'm not blaming you just the evaluator that allowed this to happen. Is her pulling friendly or is it aggressive? What you need to do is every time she pulls you just stop, or turn around and walk the other way. Make her heel next to you while sitting and take a step towards the excitement, if she gets ahead of you, stop and stand there, make her sit next to you. It will take a lot of repetition and you will look really dumb walking like that but after a while she should understand that being calm and in heel gets her to the exciting area faster than pulling.

For now, I suggest getting a training collar, the flat collar doesn't affect her and she's not learning her lesson. Go to a training collar and once she understands on that, go to a flat collar.

No I totally understand what you are saying. She was absolutely PERFECT when we did the CGC and the TDI. Didn't pull, totally unfazed by other dogs or people. I was certain I had the perfect GSD! Teaches me, huh?? The pulling is not aggressive, nor is the barking really....more excitement and nervous of certain people.

I do have a training collar and I put it back on for walks. What I didn't know is the technique of stopping her and turning around when she starts with the excitement, or making her sit and wait next to me. THAT's the training part we had not encountered before. Thank you!!

Scarlett WGSD 2/07 CGC TDI(retired)
Paige Husky/GSD mix 2/95-12/08

If you are going through hades, keep going!

Last edited by Scarlettsmom; 02-03-2012 at 04:00 PM. Reason: Had to answer a question...
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 05:51 PM
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Sasha has the "my ears don't work when others are around" problem as well. She will get very excited and make her excited noises and sometimes even bark because she wants to see other dogs or she will just get obnoxious when she's asked to sit still too long when we're out seeing people. The training class we're in is definitely helping. She is being forced to behave around other dogs at least 1 night a week. Also, taking her places has helped. She is slowly (and I do mean slowly) starting to learn that I expect her to behave inside the house and outside the house.

~Sasha~{GSD}~ 3ish~Gotcha day January, 29, 2011
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NewbieShepherdGirl View Post
Sasha has the "my ears don't work when others are around" problem as well. She will get very excited and make her excited noises and sometimes even bark because she wants to see other dogs or she will just get obnoxious when she's asked to sit still too long when we're out seeing people. The training class we're in is definitely helping. She is being forced to behave around other dogs at least 1 night a week. Also, taking her places has helped. She is slowly (and I do mean slowly) starting to learn that I expect her to behave inside the house and outside the house.
Sasha and Scarlett have the same Gotcha date! Thanks for the encouragement. I wish I had the time to take her back through obedience. My daughter is dancing in a professional production this spring and her rehearsals and classes have now consumed every, single evening and Saturday mornings. I think I'll look into some private sessions, although that doesn't get us the doggie socializing that we seem to need too. UGH...

(I was born in Ames...while my parents were at the University. They finally tore down the quanset hut that we lived in at the time!)

Scarlett WGSD 2/07 CGC TDI(retired)
Paige Husky/GSD mix 2/95-12/08

If you are going through hades, keep going!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlettsmom View Post
We worked with a trainer when we first got Scarlett, but once she had the basics to be a well behaved, proper leash walking, nice family pet...we stopped training further. A mistake?? Seems so....
Probably, it sounds like now that she's not being trained regularly her behavior has degenerated to an unacceptable level. Time to find a trainer to work on her "issues"!

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