German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm not sure this is the right place for this so I apologize if not. We've had Naera for about a week and a half now. I understood going into this situation that it wouldn't be the 'ideal' ( getting her from a less than desirable place from someone who clearly doesn't hold the same ideas about raising puppies as I do - she was living in a chicken coop/shed with no door, drinking out of puddles, was very hungry, and had very little human interaction ) I KNEW this would present challenges.

It seems that our first will be socialization and fear. I need to know how to approach this in the best way. I've brought her with me to several stores and to meet other people. Her response is generally fearful. She whines, cries, and shakes in any new place. She also doesn't like to be held and cries and struggles if we pick her up. Today my brother in law and his fiance ( my sister passed away and he's remarrying if that sounds odd. ) walked down with their two dogs. One of them is a wheaton terrier (Jack) and is very dominant and has been known to be dog aggressive. As soon as he neared our front yard he dropped Jack's leash. He ran over to our lab molly and immediately put her on her back. She's very submissive so there was no issue. My husband separated Molly. He then came to sniff at Naera and she yelped and cried like she was in pain. His tail was still wagging and he wasn't mean to either of them, she just got so scared.

I scooped her up because she was terrified. I didn't want to reinforce that behavior but I also didn't want her terrified either. I'm just afraid I'm going about this in the wrong way. How would you recommend socializing her so that she sees that new people, dogs and places are largely positive? Thanks in advance! I know I'll probably need more help along the way and I appreciate that I have somewhere to ask a large group of knowledgeable people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,126 Posts
I would start slow and let Naera observe people and other dogs from a distance. I would walk her on her leash in a park - and just sit on a bench and let her watch. As Naera gets used to seeing people and other dogs from a distance, then I would gradually get closer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
I would start slow and let Naera observe people and other dogs from a distance. I would walk her on her leash in a park - and just sit on a bench and let her watch. As Naera gets used to seeing people and other dogs from a distance, then I would gradually get closer.
I agree 100% with this
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,117 Posts
Yes, go slow and stay under her fear threshold. This means watching and listening from a distance--don't force her to interact just yet. I missed how old she is, but you say you've had her a week and a half and you're already taking her out to socialize--that's premature. It takes a dog at least 2-3 weeks (and this dog probably longer) to form a bond with a person and settle in to their new environment. Right now, concentrate on forming that bond and trust. THEN you can start taking her out and working on socializing.

Because she has a fearful temperament naturally, and wasn't given much socialization in the critical early weeks, she may never really be comfortable in novel situations. All you can do is try to expose her to new things in a way she does not perceive as threatening. The wide world is a scary place for such a pup.

One thing that I think helps is leaving the TV or the radio on. It gets puppies used to all kinds of sounds human and otherwise, animals, music, traffic sounds, gunshots, all different types of voices, and--for some dogs who actually watch TV--different sights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Have I hurt her by taking her out already? It probably sounds awful but I didn't even think of having her watch rather than be involved. She's 8 weeks old. I got her at 7 weeks.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,944 Posts
I'm going to go out on a limb and say to keep socializing her with humans and experiences --safely and respectful of her tolerance-- since I'm betting she is under 12 weeks? (edit--just saw your post. Most definitely keep socializing!!) That window closes fast. I took my pup around in a cloth grocery bag to places and I held him in that. I NEVER acted like anything was "scary", or said anything "soothing". I talked and praised in a happy, "Hey! This is cool and ok and you have nothing to fear" voice. I wasn't loud or obnoxious, but my objective was nothing but utter confidence. YOU want to project confidence and calmness and happiness.

I would not allow him around dogs like the terrier again. If you want to socialize her with dogs, try to find a VERY mellow, tolerant older dog who is good with puppies and can help her learn dog signals. This dog should also be up to date on vaccines and not necessarily be one who is frequenting places where other sick animals might be encountered.

Socialization is very very important. Be encouraging to your pup, take her with you, never show her that you are afraid or uncomfortable. Make her feel very safe and protected by you, but DO NOT reinforce her fear, or make her feel there *is* something to fear.

If my pup ever showed a little hesitation, I would say in an up-beat voice, "Let's go check it out!" and start moving towards the object. I did not drag my pup, but encouraged him to come see himself.

Get the yummiest little bits of cooked chicken, cheese, something that she likes and treat her often in a positive manner during these experiences, and have calm, friendly people give her some to help her overcome her potential fear of people due to not being handled properly from the beginning.

Good luck. She is lucky you found her. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,117 Posts
Oh, she's only 8 weeks! I was thinking she was 4-5 months old.

Definitely wait until she's had at least two vaccinations before taking her out into the world.

Then, like I said, start slow.

Hopefully she won't remember the bad experiences she's had. Were she a couple weeks older, I'd say you definitely can do damage by exposing a naturally fearful pup to too much, too soon. They say 10 weeks of age is a "fear" period, where a pup's instincts for possible danger awaken, and they become fearful of things they may have ignored before. Just be careful and let her investigate things at her own pace.

Also, you say she doesn't like to be held. See if you can get her more accustomed to it so she's not a holy terror for handling later on. When she's sleepy, pet her all over, scratch her ears, her chest, her butt...all her favorite spots. Make her realize that being held and touched is a GOOD thing... once she begins to relax, gradually start touching her feet, massaging her legs, tail, open her mouth and look in, all within her tolerance, and over time increase the duration of this handling until she will let you hold a foot, tail, etc. Pick her up and hold her. If she struggles, wait until she stops, then put her down. Repeat over time until she learns that relaxing, not struggling, will get her what she wants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
update: Naera is a different dog than she was only a week ago. She's much more confident now and much less fearful. I know it may just be the dog she is, that it may be a life long learning process, but I definitely see marked improvement. I've been reading more of the monks of new skete books and trying to retain as much knowledge as possible.

Shes also growing like CRAZY. Shes 16 lbs at 9 weeks which is a big gain from just under a week ago ( almost a pound in less than a week seems huge to me ) her ears are starting to do crazy things and I think they want to come up. She has a hernia our vet seems to think will go away or will be removed when we spay her. we're keeping a very close eye on it for any changes in size, color, temp etc. though. I'm sad in a way that I'm not getting the dog I dreamed of, but I wouldn't change my decision for anything. She is such a sweet sassy little girl! Wish us luck and thank you to everyone who gave us great advice!!! xoxo


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top