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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Saber is almost 13 weeks old and I take her everywhere with me. SHe is AWESOME with children and adults of all kinds, very friendly and likes to be petted.

She is also great with our small (8 pound) dog and our cat, but she is very hesitant about other dogs. When we go for a walk, if there is a dog on the other side of a fence barking she stops, plants her feet, and won't move for several minutes. If she sees someone walking a dog on a leash she stops and either tries to get behind me or pull the other way (not frantic or panicked at all, and I just have her sit by me and watch as they pass).

Yesterday there was a dog barking aggressively at a fence and there was no way she would walk past, so after encouraging for several minutes (and wishing I'd brought treats to lure her) and trying to be all happy happy "let's go!" she would not budge and I had to pick her up and carry her about 10 feet to get her past.

Anyway, I don't know many people with dogs who'd be friendly with her. She has sort of made friends with the big neighbor dog. She is going to start puppy classes this week and there will be 5 other puppies of varying size there, none that I know personally.

Questions:
1) Advice on how to handle the hesitation better on walks? I am thinking I'll bring a lot of high value treats and use those to make it a happy thing to go past other dogs.
2) How would I handle coming up on a large, off leash, friendly dog with her on a walk? I imagine if a large, seemingly friendly dog came running over to sniff her she would be terrified. Pick her up? Let her deal with it? What? I know it's going to happen eventually.
3) How to handle it if she seems hesitant in puppy class to visit with the other pups? I imagine there will be some exuberant ones. What actions should I take/not take to help her get over her worries?

I appreciate any advice!
 

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Use treats to create positive associations with strange dogs. Never coddle her or reward insecure behavior. Use the treat lure to get her focused on something else and moving forward, then reward. At puppy classes there are always some pups who are a little overwhelmed at first. Left alone to pretty much work it out on their own, only stepping in to prevent something bad from happening (which is unlikely in a puppy class), and they tend to work through it just fine in a week or two.

Safeguard against any bad experience. I would never let my puppy encounter an off lead dog running up to it, no matter how friendly that dog may appear because friendliness can change quickly. Meeting dogs that are known to be safe is one thing. Meeting dogs on lead where you can control the situation and keep her within her threshold of comfort and not let her be overwhelmed or charged is fine too. But any offlead dog I don't know running at my pup would have me picking up my pup and getting ready to kick if necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Chris! The clarification on when to pick up is what I needed most, I think. I want to protect her and prevent bad experiences, but not coddle.
 

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Yup. Pick up if needed for safety, otherwise help her work through it by turning it around and making it a good thing. With treats and toys it doesn't take long for something bad to become something good, because good things happen when it's around. :)
 

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Well, I offered Anton who's very gentle and playful with puppies... I know it's probably hard to believe because he's black and pretty vocal so I always respect people's hesitation :)

Chris gave wonderful advice above, and I would start working on it right away. Learning how to handle loose dogs including how to protect yours is, unfortunately, a pretty important skill to master around here.

Hope you and cute Saber like the puppy class!
 

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I would take Oksana up on her offer! It really makes a big difference for the pups to have an older, confident dog around as a role model. Even just going on leash walks together to get passed those barky dogs behind fences will be a big help.
 

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I took Karlo to work with me while he was 8 to 14 weeks. There was an older female beagle mix living at the home I was at(I went there every two weeks). Karlo was smaller than Molly and they played well. Then at about 13 weeks or so, Karlo acted like a little bully with her, he was bigger than her by then and was very rough. I decided to get him in a puppy playgroup so he would be more mannerly.
He always deferred to my two females, though was confident with them.
When we went to the playgroup(3x's), Karlo was one of the better behaved pups! I think the older dog Molly was just too submissive and he took advantage of that.
After a few playgroup sessions we started with an obedience class and there was playtime afterwards if you so choosed. Again, Karlo was fine with all sizes...with the exception of one other GSD pup.
I only let him play with that pup once, as the pup had no manners at all-he was so intense on play, tugging Karlos ears and such~I didn't want that to continue. We didn't stay after for the playtime, I didn't think it was necessary after doing obedience to then have the pups get ramped up. I'd rather have him in the calm zone so he could process his lessons.
There was also a female in heat that we were placed next to during training each week. The reason for that was because of Karlo's calm demeanor. All the other dogs she would snark at, but for some reason he was ok to be in her "area".

I haven't let Karlo play with strange dogs since then and he is almost two. I did walk him regularly with a young intact male(Panzer/Veronica)and Karlo was aloof w/ Panzer and Panzer was submissive to Karlo. They got along quite well when Panzer tried to play, but in the beginning Karlo let him know that Karlo was "the boss".
We never let the dogs play, though.
He has no reactive behaviors to other dogs(in the crate at SchH or while walking past other dogs during training sessions). This says alot to me about his genetics, the puppy playgroup may have had some imprinting on him but I think genetically he is a lower threshold, strong nerved dog.
Saber will do just fine, she has great genetics too!!!!
 

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When Stark was about 10 weeks we moved into the apartment building in which I am still residing.

There was a group of owners and dogs whom I have watched carefully (without Stark present) play and train together. They actually took the time to train their dogs together - just owners wanting to better their dogs behaviours. They were doing sit/stays and re-calls out of the group of playing dogs.

There was a small poodle, three Goldens (1 of whom is still Stark's BFF) and a Rotti/GSD mix. That was our "core group". After watching them interact with one another's dogs, watching how the dogs interacted with one another and with dogs passing by, I went over and asked if Stark could join the next day.

I think having your puppy interact with KNOWN healthy, happy, dog-friendly dogs is ideal. Stark could care less about other dogs (unless it's one of "his pack" friends) and I think the interactions and training we did early on really helped with this.

In our group no dog is "the top dog" and they all seem to adjust their play to ensure no one is too rough with the little ones and know that they can let loose with the bigger ones.

We have quite the mixed group right now (2 poodles, 1 cocker, 1 Golden, Stark the GSD, and a lab or two depending on the day) and strange dogs can come in without a problem. Our dogs tend to stick with one another and ignore the new comers, although they will play with them occassionally.

Get a group of friends together with dogs who are not overbearing for a puppy and work together. It really is a great thing.

And just because... these photo's are my testiment to having a well balanced dog around other dogs - even strange ones.






These are "the boys" of our pack.


*Baby Stark learning the ropes.






I will say that I don't let Stark interact with many strange dogs because he is just sooo good with other dogs that I want to keep it that way. He has "his group" that he plays with and will interact with a strange dog if they come over to play after our group/owners has okay'd it but other than that he ignores them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll send you a PM Oksana :)

I also remembered someone I know with an older Golden and asked her today for a play date. I will get right on it.

Thank you Jane and Elisabeth also!
 

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I just read thru this again and should have written that Karlo has a higher not lower :blush:(just wanted to clarify my mistake)
He has no reactive behaviors to other dogs(in the crate at SchH or while walking past other dogs during training sessions). This says alot to me about his genetics, the puppy playgroup may have had some imprinting on him but I think genetically he is a lower threshold, strong nerved dog.
Saber will do just fine, she has great genetics too!!!!
Elisabeth~ those pics are great, nice that you and your neighbors have several different breeds interacting and they all get along so well.
 

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Hehe.. aww.. well if you ever change your mind.. let me know and I will PM you my address! Hahaha!

Don't you just LOVE the flirt poles.. :)
 

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Something to think about,,put yourself in her paws, she's still small, and seeing this big HUGE dogs coming around/up to her, may definately intimidate her somewhat.

I totally agree with Chris's advice.. and just wanted to add, to look at it from saber's perspective:))
 

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Also, make sure you are communicated with the puppy through tone of voice and body language that its not a big deal, and you aren't concerned of danger (of course... don't be in a situation where there is danger). The pup is going to look to you to "validate" its assessment of the situation. If you're all wide eyed, nervous, and gave a shake in your voice and speaking with an abnormal tone of voice, you're telling the pup he/she is scared for good reason... cause you are too
 

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I have Judge who has been helping socialize puppies here for the last month or so. He is extremely friendly and gentle with them! I'd be more than happy to set up a play date with you and Saber!

I know that you are a little fearful/leary of Judge because of his high drive behavior...but I can assure you that Judge is very solid, stable, level headed and friendly to puppies and dogs if proper introductions are done. They are also a lot of friendly dogs in the Schutzhund club and we have quite a few members with new puppies right now...might be a good place to socialize her!
 
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