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So I am a bit concerned that we are not socialising our puppy enough. He is 11 weeks old now and during the 3 weeks we have had him we have not been able to leave the house much as the roads have not been driveable due to snow and ice. We live half hours drive into the forest from the nearest town. The second week we had him we were able to take him out twice. So we visited the vet just to say hello and saw a little bit of urban life. Other than that socialisation has been at home. Getting him used to our toddler, being groomed, household items and noises and a few visitors. Another 30 cm of snow expected tomorrow so the situation is not looking good for this coming week either... Advice?
 

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It's ideal to do it early but you can socialize a dog later as well. But don't forget. Socialization doesn't mean strangers petting the dog. Doesn't mean playing with random dogs at the dog park. It means getting your dog to exist undisturbed in a variety of environments. It should exist around people. It shouldn't expect them to greet it, shouldn't want to greet them. They don't have any business petting it and it doesn't need to learn to pay attention to distractions anyway. Out in public it's sole focus should be you, nothing else at all. It should simply be neutral at their existence, that's what socialization is. The only people it needs to learn physical interaction with are people who will be a regular part of it's life. The vet. Neighbors that may watch it from time to time, family members, friends that come over often and so on. There's literally no reason at all for it to interact with random strangers or dogs. That can bring nothing positive and can ONLY bring negatives. Often it won't, but it just takes one 1 bad experience to wreck months of training and socialization/confidence. Never be afraid to say no. I've had to put my dog behind me and physically place myself between strangers and my dog because they think dogs are public property.

At that age things can be overwhelming and new issues can crop up if you introduce too much too fast or in the wrong way. So honestly I'd prefer to take it slow anyway. It sounds like you're on the right track. Don't panic.
 

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Learn to make an eye to eye connection with your puppy. When out in public where are there millions of new sounds, new smells, etc constantly talk to your pup re-assuring them. Work hard at training them to focus on you above all and any distractions.
 

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Don't worry about it. I brought Seger home during the coldest winter on record. Seems like it hit -15 and stayed there for months.

Socialization does not mean take the puppy out around hundreds of people. there is plenty you can do right at home. My favorite blog on this is this article on The Naughty Dogge
http://www.naughtydogge.com/blog/socializing-your-puppy-how-it-should-look
 

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Two weeks after we brought Russell home, our neighborhood was hit with an EF-5 tornado. There was no going for walks, or even hanging out in the backyard since the fences were gone (and tiny pieces of debris EVERYWHERE). Our neighborhood was quarantined, so there was no getting in and out for a couple of weeks. Not a fun situation to have a puppy, but he’s grown up to be proper GSD. Aloof to strangers, fun with the people he knows, loves kids.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all your reassuring replies! The goal is for him to accompany me to work eventually so I would like him to ignore everyone and everything and just focus on me. The plan now then will be to work on engagement, focusing, walking on leash and ignoring distractions we can provide around the property and in the forest around us and then once the weather is better we will take him to see the rest of the "world" and just treat it as more advanced distractions for him to ignore. We made the mistake of trying the Ian Dunbar way before which says puppy has to meet hundreds of people and take treats from all of them. It did not go well so we will not be doing that again!
 

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Yes, I was going to recommend The Naughty Dogge article too!

Monique, the author of the blog, is currently raising a young puppy. I strongly recommend subscribing to her FB blog, because there is a LOT of very good info there for puppy owners!
 

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you can get him used to your cars, driving them in and out the garage while he watches and you play with him. Is there a snow plow once in a while? They don't need to see any imaginable vehicle to be able to get used to traffic.
 

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When we brought Max home it was the winter there was snow and ice on the ground the entire winter. We knew we were getting a pup and my daughter had some agility equipment on her list. So we had some fun in the back yard with some new equipment tunnels and hula hoops. There was enough snow on the ground so we introduced him to some really light sledding with the light plastic sled and hide n seek games. Any socialization to people /things need to be fun and not overwhelming. If there was a odd abnormal super warm day I ran to the beach so there may have been one or two days like that where he got to see the the ocean. Made sure there were visitors to the house and some local quick trips in the car.
 

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It's ideal to do it early but you can socialize a dog later as well. But don't forget. Socialization doesn't mean strangers petting the dog. Doesn't mean playing with random dogs at the dog park. It means getting your dog to exist undisturbed in a variety of environments. It should exist around people. It shouldn't expect them to greet it, shouldn't want to greet them. They don't have any business petting it and it doesn't need to learn to pay attention to distractions anyway. Out in public it's sole focus should be you, nothing else at all. It should simply be neutral at their existence, that's what socialization is. The only people it needs to learn physical interaction with are people who will be a regular part of it's life. The vet. Neighbors that may watch it from time to time, family members, friends that come over often and so on. There's literally no reason at all for it to interact with random strangers or dogs. That can bring nothing positive and can ONLY bring negatives. Often it won't, but it just takes one 1 bad experience to wreck months of training and socialization/confidence. Never be afraid to say no. I've had to put my dog behind me and physically place myself between strangers and my dog because they think dogs are public property.

At that age things can be overwhelming and new issues can crop up if you introduce too much too fast or in the wrong way. So honestly I'd prefer to take it slow anyway. It sounds like you're on the right track. Don't panic.
Sorry but this is a major pet peeve of mine. What you are describing is not socialization, but rather desensitization.

When did socializing not mean being social with others and when did it become desensitization? Who decided to change the definition? This is something that drives me nuts. Trainers can't change the definition of a word and then be critical of dog owners who only know the correct defintion and do just that with their dogs, in other words, teach them to be friendly and "social" with other people and animals.

Definition of socialize

socialized; socializing

transitive verb

1: to make social; especially : to fit or train for a social environment

2a : to constitute on a socialisticbasis socialize industry

b : to adapt to social needs or uses

3: to organize group participation in socialize a recitation

Definition of desensitize

transitive verb

1: to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent

2: to make emotionally insensitive or callous; specifically : to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli that formerly induced it.

Here is what the AKC has to say about it.

http://www.akc.org/content/dog-training/articles/puppy-socialization/
 

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Sorry but this is a major pet peeve of mine. What you are describing is not socialization, but rather desensitization.

When did socializing not mean being social with others and when did it become desensitization? Who decided to change the definition? This is something that drives me nuts. Trainers can't change the definition of a word and then be critical of dog owners who only know the correct defintion and do just that with their dogs, in other words, teach them to be friendly and "social" with other people and animals.

Definition of socialize

socialized; socializing

transitive verb

1: to make social; especially : to fit or train for a social environment

2a : to constitute on a socialisticbasis socialize industry

b : to adapt to social needs or uses

3: to organize group participation in socialize a recitation

Definition of desensitize

transitive verb

1: to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent

2: to make emotionally insensitive or callous; specifically : to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli that formerly induced it.

Here is what the AKC has to say about it.

Puppy Socialization: Why, When, and How to Do It Right - American Kennel Club
Incorrect. What we mean in the dog world is exactly as I said. I don't care if it's a pet peeve of yours, you're entitled to be wrong if you so choose.

Expecting your dog (or wanting your dog) to interact with other dogs and people is exactly how I wind up with aggressive dogs and reactive dogs to rehabilitate. - "I don't know how this happened! Spot always plays with the other dogs, he always gets excited when people come up to pet him! We socialized him like the food training idiots on TV and the magazines at PetSmart say to! Dog parks, dog runs, pet stores, playing with other dogs in puppy classes!". Morons.

Your dog doesn't need to, nor does it want to interact with everything. That is incredibly stressful for a dog and it's a recipe for disaster. The dog should exist and be neutral to a wide variety of situations but should NOT want to interact, shouldn't want to rush up to people to be petted nor want them to come to it, same with other dogs. If you don't like the word being used, blame the folks that started that concept of thinking dogs need to interact with everything around them 100% of the time.
 

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Maybe we should call it Resilience Training instead of Socialization. I mean, that's basically what you're really doing, even if you combine elements of desensitization with socialization. You're trying to build up the dog's basic level of resilience such that it can learn what's normal about the world and what's an outlier. So that when something strange happens, the dog knows it's strange, but it's resilient enough to know what to do (or know who to turn to) and not have a complete mental breakdown. It can pass through the strange situation and keep its head.
 

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Sorry but this is a major pet peeve of mine. What you are describing is not socialization, but rather desensitization.

When did socializing not mean being social with others and when did it become desensitization? Who decided to change the definition? This is something that drives me nuts. Trainers can't change the definition of a word and then be critical of dog owners who only know the correct defintion and do just that with their dogs, in other words, teach them to be friendly and "social" with other people and animals.

Definition of socialize

socialized; socializing

transitive verb

1: to make social; especially : to fit or train for a social environment

2a : to constitute on a socialisticbasis socialize industry

b : to adapt to social needs or uses

3: to organize group participation in socialize a recitation

Definition of desensitize

transitive verb

1: to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent

2: to make emotionally insensitive or callous; specifically : to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli that formerly induced it.

Here is what the AKC has to say about it.

Puppy Socialization: Why, When, and How to Do It Right - American Kennel Club
Incorrect. What we mean in the dog world is exactly as I said. I don't care if it's a pet peeve of yours, you're entitled to be wrong if you so choose.

Expecting your dog (or wanting your dog) to interact with other dogs and people is exactly how I wind up with aggressive dogs and reactive dogs to rehabilitate. - "I don't know how this happened! Spot always plays with the other dogs, he always gets excited when people come up to pet him! We socialized him like the food training idiots on TV and the magazines at PetSmart say to! Dog parks, dog runs, pet stores, playing with other dogs in puppy classes!". Morons.

Your dog doesn't need to, nor does it want to interact with everything. That is incredibly stressful for a dog and it's a recipe for disaster. The dog should exist and be neutral to a wide variety of situations but should NOT want to interact, shouldn't want to rush up to people to be petted nor want them to come to it, same with other dogs. If you don't like the word being used, blame the folks that started that concept of thinking dogs need to interact with everything around them 100% of the time.

You totally misread what I said. I am talking about the definition of the word NOT what I do with my dog.
Changing the definition is dangerous and I blame experienced trainers for that. They have taken a word that means one thing and changed the definition to mean the exact opposite.
If you go out to a party to socialize the expectation is that you will mingle, chat and be friendly with the other guests.

If you must know. My dog is being trained to mind her own business, to ignore other dogs and stimuli until I tell her she is allowed to. I can't have a dog running up to every other dog at an obedience trial or dog show, i need her to ignore them. I take her places to learn to ignore stimuli, people and dogs. To not react and to be desensitized.
 

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Incorrect. What we mean in the dog world is exactly as I said. I don't care if it's a pet peeve of yours, you're entitled to be wrong if you so choose.

Expecting your dog (or wanting your dog) to interact with other dogs and people is exactly how I wind up with aggressive dogs and reactive dogs to rehabilitate. - "I don't know how this happened! Spot always plays with the other dogs, he always gets excited when people come up to pet him! We socialized him like the food training idiots on TV and the magazines at PetSmart say to! Dog parks, dog runs, pet stores, playing with other dogs in puppy classes!". Morons.

Your dog doesn't need to, nor does it want to interact with everything. That is incredibly stressful for a dog and it's a recipe for disaster. The dog should exist and be neutral to a wide variety of situations but should NOT want to interact, shouldn't want to rush up to people to be petted nor want them to come to it, same with other dogs. If you don't like the word being used, blame the folks that started that concept of thinking dogs need to interact with everything around them 100% of the time.


Just want to start off saying that I am not a moron and find your comment offensive.

I do take my dogs to dog parks, dog runs, pet stores, etc. and the only dog I have that sometimes has issues with other dogs is my dominant male that is less welcoming with other dogs, but that is in his genes, not his raising, training, and socialization. He is not permitted to act on his genetics, he has been trained to behave differently, but I know better than to pretend his dominance with dogs and other people isn't always lurking under the surface.


A dog does not have to "exist" or be "neutral" to a wide variety of situations. Dogs are living creatures and should be active participants in life, it is their world too. It is okay for a dog to just be a dog. In fact, many that I know prefer to let their dogs just be dogs on a frequent, regular basis to circumvent behavioral problems. If you are training in a specific venue, sometimes it is better to be everything to your dog, but that is not necessary for a dog that is a family and companion dog.


"Aloof" in GSDs is a genetic quality. I am sure that a mature dog of any breed that is not aloof can be molded into a dog that acts more aloof, but the underlying social dog remains as one can't train out genetics.


A dog choosing to interact with people or dogs is NOT stressful. Refusing to permit a social dog to interact would be stressful. There is nothing wrong with a dog wanting to interact strangers if that is in that dog's genetic make up. Allowing the dog to do so is a different story.


The same can be said about other dogs. I find that dogs that are always leashed and not permitted to interact with other dogs in a natural manner often develop anxiety and are stressed when encountering another dog. They tend not to learn proper dog social signals and that alone can result in altercations.
 

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Your dog doesn't need to, nor does it want to interact with everything. That is incredibly stressful for a dog and it's a recipe for disaster. The dog should exist and be neutral to a wide variety of situations but should NOT want to interact, shouldn't want to rush up to people to be petted nor want them to come to it, same with other dogs. If you don't like the word being used, blame the folks that started that concept of thinking dogs need to interact with everything around them 100% of the time.
We had a dog that didn't want to interact with everything around her. Food and couch, that's what she liked. I'll take interaction, aware and interested over that any day.
 
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