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Hi, I've been lurking around the forum for quite some time, and now I've finally got my own GSD. He just turned 11 weeks old this week, and I'm having concerns about his interactions with other dogs. So far, he's attended 2 puppy classes. The first went well, he socialized very nice (bounced right back up when another pup played too rough), but his 2nd really concerned me. It was a small class of about 7 dogs, 2 belonged to trainer, and although he was very eager to play and socialize he ended up leaving the class weary and nervous. We picked him especially for his great confidence, but after being "double-teamed" by two dogs, and later having a "mean" encounter with another, he pulled back and his confidence seemed to disappear. He went to play with another puppy and out of nowhere the 2 dogs belonging to the owner just went for him. He still wants to interact with other dogs, but now backs away timidly if the other puppy or dog begins to bark. His nerves seemed to be very good prior to the last class; great reaction to sounds, movements, etc. but now he seems to shy away from some dogs/pups. I feel like the classes created a sense of fear .... At this point I'm not sure if I should continue the classes or not. I hope that this isn't a permanent sign that he will be afraid of other dogs or those that show aggression.... any advice on how to continue socialization, or if this could ever be fixed so that he can regain his confidence??? :confused::help:
 

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Why didn't you step in before he was doubled up on? You need to let him know you have his back and that he is all that. I wouldn't let him be in a free for all atmosphere...a one on one play date would be better.
What else are you doing in class besides letting pups play together?
Are you working on focus and engagement, restrained recalls?
 

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I only do puppy kindergarten in classes where there is no puppy free for all. In puppy free for all, it is really hard to get the make up of all dogs being pretty equal in size, power, age, and temperament. Otherwise you either have a puppy that is a bully and everyone looks at you as though you are a neandrethal, or you have a puppy that is bullied, and everyone else thinks their dog is tough or cute.

I just dog see the point of that kind of interaction anyway.
 

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I forgot to say welcome! And we love pics, hope to see some of your pup, what did you name him?
 

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Why didn't you step in before he was doubled up on? You need to let him know you have his back and that he is all that. I wouldn't let him be in a free for all atmosphere...a one on one play date would be better.
What else are you doing in class besides letting pups play together?
Are you working on focus and engagement, restrained recalls?
Thanks for the welcome! His name is Nash, and honestly... it happened so fast it was over before I made it to him. Plus the trainer said "let it play out". The class starts with a "lets go around the circle" sort of thing. Each family talks about their pups progress and areas of improvement, and the trainer responds with support and then explains to us all the skill being taught so that we may use the advice as well. In between there are overall group "key points" and so on. The class does actively teach "sit, "touch", and "look".. he mastered sit at home and we associated "look" with his name- Aced it- also taught at home.
Is it too late to work on this? or sort of reverse the negative effects of this being that he is so close to this 12 week mark? I'm definitely considering one-on-one play dates and just socializing him with dogs in town. I'm inclined to agree that the 'free for all' is not working as I wanted or expected.
 

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They don't have to be in a mob of other puppies to be socialized. Having him back and letting him observe the others would also work. If the trainer doesn't like it, too bad .. you're paying. Maybe try to work on his focus on you while the distractions are going on. I don't plan to do the puppy mob when I attend in July (first class after my pup gets home 'sigh'). At that point my puppy will be probably the oldest anyway and could probably squash any other puppy that would be there just by lying on them.
 

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Petsmart Sucks

It sounds like a Petsmart training class. For many reasons, I would never bring my dog to Petsmart, mainly because the trainers are taught from online courses and really don't know what they're doing. I would find a reputable dog trainer in your area with a lot of experience (with gsd's). It'll be worth the little extra money you may have to pay. If you're worried about his socialization and being timid with other dogs because of this, set up a bunch of play dates with calm dogs or puppies that he can have successful experiences with to get his confidence back. Good luck!
 

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It sounds like Delgado's puppy class (and it was not a Petsmart class). You can read about it and some help from other forum members in my old thread

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/training-our-puppy-basic/181895-first-puppy-class-issues.html

Delgado bounced back really well after a few weeks with positive support from me and his friend in the class, a little Shiba Inu appropriately named Hero :D

The biggest lesson I had to learn again was stand up for your dog, if your dog isn't having fun then remove him from the play or protect him from the more aggressive dogs. Talk to your trainer hopefully before the next class and lay out your concerns, the two of you should be able to have a plan in place

What I found worked was having the playtime split in two groups, the four more aggressive dogs played first and got their energy out while the others worked obedience. Then they were removed and the three quieter ones played together while the other group did obedience. That way everyone has fun, by the last class the whole group was playing well together and would naturally split off into those groups
 

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I was in those "let it play out" puppy classes, big mistake..I agree, stand up for your dog. I did not subject Masi to , what I felt, were negative interactions for her, took her out of the class, replaced her with my aussie who could give a fig..

If your not comfortable with the 'free for alls',,skip that part with your puppy OR match him up with puppies that aren't bullies.
 

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Luckily my instructor lets me opt out and w just practice peacefully watching "crazy" pups from outside the pen...
 

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At only 11 weeks he is still such a little baby..I wouldn't let him be in a group setting so young. Maybe play with a friends dog and You. You need to be the center of everything for him.
I would be nervous that he could get hurt, I baby my pups. I did puppy K with both and obedience one with my girl, but never a free playing with dogs/puppies that I didn't know. My girl just turned one and my boy will be 7 months next week.
When they play it is hard - but I know they love each other .
I was walking downtown with my girl and an older man had 2 little dogs walking. He asked to let them say hi, I politely said no that she was training "leave it" he ignored me and let his dogs come up.. Well the little jerk attacked my girl. You never know how another persons dog will react.



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