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How do you guys socialize your WL dogs? Do you even socialize them? Or do you keep them away from strangers completely?
 

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I always want them out and around everything, but as far as strangers or just people other then family, for me it depends on their temperament and what I'm currently doing with them. Even my overly social one, there's times I want a little indifference to people so I just keep him obedient around others. The other one wants to be friendly, he really does, but sometimes those thin nerves just won't let him for more then a couple minutes, so for him its better to just keep him obedient all the time.
 

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From my experience, puppies are happy little sponges ready to soak up attention......or they should be IF they are genetically sound!!!! A puppy needs to be confident yet cautious, happy yet discerning.....these are GENETICS!


The whole idea of "socialization" has gotten to be popular due to the amazing numbers of GSDs being produced in this country....probably 80% (and I am probably being generous) of which do not have a sound genetic makeup....these pups need additional help to be safe and solid members of their families and society.....

Socialization opportunities are or should be taken advantage of for some basic manners and obedience imprinting....not jumping, attention/focus, stays and releases......when your puppy NEEDS to be socialized to be approachable, to be handled, to walk with you without hiding, hackling or grumbling - then you have a puppy whose genetic makeup is NOT 100% sound.



Lee
 

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I worked with them in a similar way as any other pup I have raised. The WLs never became social butterflies after they started to mature. They became more aloof naturally, yet very stable around people. Also when they lost the cutesy factor at around 5 months of age, people left them alone (except when they had or have had GSDs) or actively avoided them, sometimes even picking up their kids. Fine with me.
 

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Halo is our first working line GSD, we also have a West German show line, and have had a prior WGSL and two American line shepherds. I didn't socialize her any differently than the others. Well, actually even more extensively perhaps.

She likes people, but is not a social butterfly like Keefer. When she was little I let her meet anyone she wanted to meet that wanted to meet her. I exposed her to as many new people/places/things as possible, while working on basic manners and obedience training, such as Lee describes above. Her first 5 classes were in 4 different locations with several different instructors because I liked the idea of having her learn to pay attention and obey in new places and situations.

I took her to every strip mall in town to work on her training, near baseball fields during practices and games, near busy basketball courts, around kids on skateboards and bikes, and to a regional park where there are lots of people walking dogs, and families with small children and babies in strollers, as well as wild turkeys, deer, squirrels, geese, and other wildlife. We worked outside the bowling alley, inside the pet supply stores, and outside the supermarket with people walking past with carts and automatic doors opening and closing. We worked on busy street corners and next to gas station driveways with cars going in and out. We sat outside Starbucks, and she met people there and got treats. Pretty much anything I could think of to throw at her, I did. :)
 

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Sometimes all the early socialization you can do will not guarantee and socialized adult.
After I got some basic obedience down, then I had to switch from correcting with the prong collar to using treats on walks. Like using them to do "look at me" before during and after passing dogs and other people. I had to learn dog language and read not only my own, but other dogs. There were times when my dog wanted to be social with another dog, I assumed that because it was off leash it was friendly, but many causal dog owners do not read their dogs, and I'd notice the upper lip raising - a mini snarl and so then I'd have to say "leave it" to our dog.

Find a trainer that does socialization. Find some dog groups (hiking, play, meetups, etc) so your dog can at least be friendly with a certain group of dogs it will get to know. We found a GSD meetup group and that was so helpful. On our first hike, Molly followed the good behavior of the other dogs - so being around other canine role models helped. Then I take my dog everywhere I can, so she has learned, if I say it is OK, she can say hello to people in stores or on walks and get positive rewards from them and from me after we move on. Even with all this, I still have to be on alert, vigilant. Many dogs seem nice but then react to her size by screaming when they get next to her. If we are hiking in remote areas and she's off leash and we see another dog, I usually will leash her up, just to be safe. My working line female is 6 yrs old now. Its mostly dogs I have to be concerned about, but she will definitely alert us to a person who is a threat. She did that a couple weeks ago, reacted strongly to this guy about 30' away from us in a parking lot. We were in our car, he gets in the car next to us and yells into our car, "everytime I see a GSD I want to kill it". So our dog sensed his attitude right away. Socialization is possible if you are willing to be alert 100% of the time and realize they will never be like a Lab.
 

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This so depends on the puppy. When mine was a baby, we had the coldest winter on record in our area. I just took a friends puppy to a seminar at 16 weeks. zero socialization to strange places and people. She went from my friend, to me, to a 5 hour car ride to a strange building. And she OWNED the place.

Solid genetics are solid genetics. Some dogs may have more suspicion. The girl had very little to strange surroundings. My boy had more. So it's more a matter of exposing the puppy, regardless of lines, to the world and making them feel safe while they do it.

This is a great list for puppies
Puppy Socialization - what it really should be | Naughty Dogge - Monique Anstee
 

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From my experience, puppies are happy little sponges ready to soak up attention......or they should be IF they are genetically sound!!!! A puppy needs to be confident yet cautious, happy yet discerning.....these are GENETICS!


The whole idea of "socialization" has gotten to be popular due to the amazing numbers of GSDs being produced in this country....probably 80% (and I am probably being generous) of which do not have a sound genetic makeup....these pups need additional help to be safe and solid members of their families and society.....

Socialization opportunities are or should be taken advantage of for some basic manners and obedience imprinting....not jumping, attention/focus, stays and releases......when your puppy NEEDS to be socialized to be approachable, to be handled, to walk with you without hiding, hackling or grumbling - then you have a puppy whose genetic makeup is NOT 100% sound.



Lee


Bing, bing, bing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I worked with them in a similar way as any other pup I have raised. The WLs never became social butterflies after they started to mature. They became more aloof naturally, yet very stable around people. Also when they lost the cutesy factor at around 5 months of age, people left them alone (except when they had or have had GSDs) or actively avoided them, sometimes even picking up their kids. Fine with me.
LOL, when I fostered an 8 month old pup he was the cutest thing in the world to me. I remember I took him through a bad neighborhood, it was the funniest thing seeing "hard gangbangers" crossing the street and walking around me, and little kids running up to pet him. (I kind of liked it :cool:)
 

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How do you guys socialize your WL dogs? Do you even socialize them? Or do you keep them away from strangers completely?
I prefer "Exposure to people rather than Socialization with people.

But ultimately it depends on the dog, if you have a dog that likes people, socialize away but even then .. it's best to set some terms calm behavior before you say "Yes" is best.

Otherwise you run the risk of creating excitement to see/meet uh everyone. Blowback from that approach will be seen when company comes over. Put another way, if you train your dog to be excited to meet people, then when your dog meets people ... they will be excited. :)

On the other hand ... some dogs don't much care for people and with them Exposure to people is the best and safest (in my view) course of action. They just need to be out and about and be civil and calm but they don't need to be a dog you allow just anyone to put hands on. Been there done that worked out fine.

But ... I'm not really "this" brief. :)

The rest of the story is here:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/7897425-post21.html

So yeah ... ask questions. :)
 

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I prefer "Exposure to people rather than Socialization with people.

But ultimately it depends on the dog, if you have a dog that likes people, socialize away but even then .. it's best to set some terms calm behavior before you say "Yes" is best.

Otherwise you run the risk of creating excitement to see/meet uh everyone. Blowback from that approach will be seen when company comes over. Put another way, if you train your dog to be excited to meet people, then when your dog meets people ... they will be excited. :)

On the other hand ... some dogs don't much care for people and with them Exposure to people is the best and safest (in my view) course of action. They just need to be out and about and be civil and calm but they don't need to be a dog you allow just anyone to put hands on. Been there done that worked out fine.

But ... I'm not really "this" brief. :)

The rest of the story is here:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/7897425-post21.html

So yeah ... ask questions. :)
I guess I'm curious because I am actively looking for WL breeders. Many people who get these dogs get them for protection, and they refuse to socialize them. Kind of like "don't pet my dog he's training for being a seeing eye dog". Or "he's training to be a bomb sniffing dog, don't pet him".
I see why this is preferred, but in my opinion it's good for a protection dog to learn that most people are good. You may never even come in contact with a perpetrator.
 

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Many people who get these dogs get them for protection, and they refuse to socialize them.
That is soooooo untrue. I don't think you have a good understanding on "protection" or "socialization"

People will get a working line for a variety of reasons. Out of all my dog's siblings, some went to SAR, some IPO, some pet homes, some AKC competition homes. They get working line for the drives, some because of looks, some for temperament, some for sports, some for real work like K9's or SAR.

Socializing a dog does not mean immersing them in people in the Walmart parking lot. It means exposing the dog to the world.

Personally, I let all the little kids that want pet my dog. It's the adults that aren't allowed to because they do stupid things and don't listen to me.

did you read the list on the blog I posted above? That is from one of Canada's top trainers.
 

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I guess I'm curious because I am actively looking for WL breeders. Many people who get these dogs get them for protection, and they refuse to socialize them. Kind of like "don't pet my dog he's training for being a seeing eye dog". Or "he's training to be a bomb sniffing dog, don't pet him".
I see why this is preferred, but in my opinion it's good for a protection dog to learn that most people are good. You may never even come in contact with a perpetrator.
Give it time. I don't know that the Law Enforcement, Personal Protection Dog folks hang out much in the Puppy section?? :)

But it's a good title and a good question! One many (owners) do not think of before hand??

A poorly socialized, half trained, HA, WL GSD is not of much value if you can't take him with you??

I'm good with "my" approach I work with the "Dog" in front of me if it likes people I say yes, more often. If they don't I say "No" more often. In both cases ... I am the first point of contact, and in either case a yes or a no, the dog needs to be calm.



I got blowback from not understanding that with my "people Friendly" Boxer. Men luv'd her antics, Females not so much. I could control her barely (did not not know of Place at the time) but not guest (Oh she's fine, let her be) :crazy:

But over enthusiastic greetings of guest with my WL GSD, yeah that was not a problem. We settled on "Nice to see you, when you leaving??" Good enough for me. :)
 

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That is soooooo untrue. I don't think you have a good understanding on "protection" or "socialization"

People will get a working line for a variety of reasons. Out of all my dog's siblings, some went to SAR, some IPO, some pet homes, some AKC competition homes. They get working line for the drives, some because of looks, some for temperament, some for sports, some for real work like K9's or SAR.

Socializing a dog does not mean immersing them in people in the Walmart parking lot. It means exposing the dog to the world.

Personally, I let all the little kids that want pet my dog. It's the adults that aren't allowed to because they do stupid things and don't listen to me.

did you read the list on the blog I posted above? That is from one of Canada's top trainers.
Hey, its not me, its what I read. And when I said they refuse to "socialize" I meant they wouldn't let anyone come and pet the dog or handle the dog besides the handler. Obviously you have to take them to different places and let the pup see and hear many things.
 

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I got my WL GSD (Foster Fail) because he was a big furry dog with a pointy face! That's about it for research on my part ... that was a mistake but .. it worked out in the long run. :)
 

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Hey, its not me, its what I read. And when I said they refuse to "socialize" I meant they wouldn't let anyone come and pet the dog or handle the dog besides the handler. Obviously you have to take them to different places and let the pup see and hear many things.
Ok but you stated the above comment as fact. Which it is not. Do some people do this? Of course. But do many? Not in my experience. My advice, again, is go to a club, watch the dogs and talk to the handlers.

Why would you let another person handle your dog? The only people that handle my dog other than me are my trainers, my breeder, my fellow club members if I need a hand, the vet and the vet techs. There is no reason for anyone else to be handling your dog or giving your dog commands (which people WILL do. Constantly...drives me nuts. Sit! Dog ignores them. SIT!! No, you go sit...far away)

And remember....dogs are not public property! People will act like they are. As if they have a right to pet your dog. They do not. Nor do they need to. The general public do not need to have their hands all over your dog. Would you let them handle your toddler?

Great example as to why! I'm training at a park and this woman yells over how great he behaves. She can't hear my response so she meanders over and I let her pet him. She's jabbering on about something and he's laying quietly at my feet. She leaned over and start SMACKING him in the back of the head while babytalking "whatchoo doin? huh?" SMACK "whatchoo doin?"

BACK AWAY FROM MY DOG RIGHT NOW!!

So no, sorry....adults do not get to pet my dogs anymore. They do incredibly stupid things before you can stop them. Kids...Kids are awesome! Any kid can put them anytime as long as they ask.
 

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You know - I have met people who refuse to let anyone pet a puppy/dog - a couple of big time trainers in the sport have that perception....one of my owners was in a bad wreck, his wife killed, injured badly - I got his mature titled male back after having it fostered for a short time....the dog was FINE....not in your lap social with everyone, but approachable, sane and safe. I even took him to a fun day at an AKC obedience/agility facility and did the CGC with him - put him in a down beside a crated yippy shih tsu, handed the leash to a 12 year old and walked away for that exercise - passed with flying colors.... The owner never let anyone pet this dog, put him in a crate when family and visitors came to the house as per his instructions from the trainer ......Again, bottom line is genetic soundness....


Lee
 

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Ok but you stated the above comment as fact. Which it is not. Do some people do this? Of course. But do many? Not in my experience. My advice, again, is go to a club, watch the dogs and talk to the handlers.

Why would you let another person handle your dog? The only people that handle my dog other than me are my trainers, my breeder, my fellow club members if I need a hand, the vet and the vet techs. There is no reason for anyone else to be handling your dog or giving your dog commands (which people WILL do. Constantly...drives me nuts. Sit! Dog ignores them. SIT!! No, you go sit...far away)

And remember....dogs are not public property! People will act like they are. As if they have a right to pet your dog. They do not. Nor do they need to. The general public do not need to have their hands all over your dog. Would you let them handle your toddler?

Great example as to why! I'm training at a park and this woman yells over how great he behaves. She can't hear my response so she meanders over and I let her pet him. She's jabbering on about something and he's laying quietly at my feet. She leaned over and start SMACKING him in the back of the head while babytalking "whatchoo doin? huh?" SMACK "whatchoo doin?"

BACK AWAY FROM MY DOG RIGHT NOW!!

So no, sorry....adults do not get to pet my dogs anymore. They do incredibly stupid things before you can stop them. Kids...Kids are awesome! Any kid can put them anytime as long as they ask.
I am not stating it as fact, go back and read. I said that many WL owners do not socialize their dogs. (socialize as in no-touch human interaction except the handler). Many top trainers go by this method.

You know - I have met people who refuse to let anyone pet a puppy/dog - a couple of big time trainers in the sport have that perception....one of my owners was in a bad wreck, his wife killed, injured badly - I got his mature titled male back after having it fostered for a short time....the dog was FINE....not in your lap social with everyone, but approachable, sane and safe. I even took him to a fun day at an AKC obedience/agility facility and did the CGC with him - put him in a down beside a crated yippy shih tsu, handed the leash to a 12 year old and walked away for that exercise - passed with flying colors.... The owner never let anyone pet this dog, put him in a crate when family and visitors came to the house as per his instructions from the trainer ......Again, bottom line is genetic soundness....


Lee
Thank you.
 
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