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Ilita and Rusty
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
One of our adjacent neighbors are very social people who love to throw community parties. We tend to be recluse and normally excuse ourselves from most of these, particularly sit down dinners, as our eating habits are so different from most. However, their 4th of July celebration was an outdoor BBQ and the pups were included in the invitation. So we accepted. There were about 40 people there, also including a few other dogs.

This was an EXCELLENT experience for the pups on social behavior with unknown new experiences cropping up to deal with. Ilita, of course, was absolutely impeccably behaved, staying at David's side in a down position. Rusty was not as still but also did VERY well. This, actually, was his first experience out about in a crowd at all.

People naturally came up to chat and introduce themselves and the conversation defaulted to dogs as many were dog friendly. What always amazes me is, even when people have dogs of their own, they have no idea how to act or interact with strange dogs. I actually had to ask one gentlemen to stop teasing Rusty. He was sitting beside us on a bench and kept flipping his hand back and forth over and under Rusty's head. A great way to get a puppy to bite you. Ok, I didn't ask. I just said "Stop it!" in, hopefully, a semi-polite voice, but I had already made a comment about that not being a good idea.

Neither pup reacted to the new environment until a cow bell was rung vigorously and everyone started clapping. That got their attention! This was inside the garage where the party had been set up as the forecast was for rain (which it did). So this was VERY loud. But still no panic. And as people were asked to introduce themselves and applause and laughter attended the intros, the pups soon got use to this new stim.

So, all in all, this was an excellent experience in their social development. Another important aspect of this, is now most of our community has actually seen Ilita up close and should recognize her. It has been a concern of ours that people might mistake her for a wolf, as most people think GSDs look like wolves. They have also seen how calm and 'non-threatening' she can be. Although, even people who have been acquainted with her have commented on how intimidating she can be when she goes on her "stance and stare" mode. Which is fine with us.
 
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