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I am so clueless about this socializing aspect.

How important is it? And how exactly do I proceed about it? Our puppy is okay about meeting other dogs, but more often than not, other dogs seem to display aggression towards him. So now I get nervous every time we are approaching a dog on our walk.

And even if the dogs are friendly and we make it to the dog park, the play sooner rather than later turns rough and I feel the need to rescue him and get him out. Only even though he whimpers and looks scared and seems to try to bite the dog pushing him down, he wants to keep playing.

Can I just avoid dog parks altogether? and playing with other dogs? Can we just go on walks with friendly dogs?

And how do I train him to ignore a dog on a walk, greet it only I say so, or walk on if I keep walking.

He barks at approaching dogs and gets excited only if I hold him back with the leash.

Someone please tell me what kind of training I would need to do for this. Because the obedience class doesnt help with this for sure.
 

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get him around dogs like the one he's pictured with, NICE dogs.

I am not a fan of dog parks at all.
 

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We took Sabo to his first puppy class Sunday---and he's a CHICKEN! Like yours I wanted to rescue him from the obviously mean bully puppy who was 10-15lbs smaller than him but kept pushing him into a corner wanting to play :/ (I'm joking about "mean"...) BUT the trainer talked me through it and calmed me down---obviously I need a valium for my dog to be around other dogs and not sense my anxiety! However, Sabo IS really a chicken! A barking dog (whether barking at him or not) scares him and makes him jump! I did read (somewhere) that you can't coddle and do the whole "Oh, it's ok...good boy...poor baby...its ok" deal, just an honest "Its ok, it's just barking" with a pat on the head and move on will work. The trainer at the class also said that dog parks are a BAD IDEA with puppies (and that Leerburg guy said so too) because puppies can get bullied and traumatized in addition to learning bad habits. The trainer suggested I find a quality doggy day care where they separate the dogs by age, size and temperament so that they learn to not be afraid of dogs.
 

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Yes, you can avoid dog parks, especially if your dog is being bullied. The fact that most other dogs show aggression toward him means that he probably isn't that great at meeting other dogs. Socialization is all about it exposure but that doesn't mean he has to actually meet other dogs to be socialized. The more he is around calm, stable dogs the better off he will be.

You train only getting to say hello simply by doing it. Greetings on leash should be short and sweet and only when both dogs are calm. I always give a command to "go say hello" so they learn when they are allowed. Keep the leash loose when introducing the dogs and stay on your dog's outside shoulder to prevent tangling and make it easy to walk away.

It's a shame that your class isn't helping you learn proper greetings and play. Are there any socialization groups near you? You can check meetup.com
 

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Instead of a dog park, if you know someone with another dog/puppy that is stable and sociable, just arrange a playdate. They don't need to run with a horde of other dogs to get socialized. I did that last weekend with my pup (10 weeks) and another dog (7 months old) and they had a great time for a couple of hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Yes, I tried meetup today and also checked around for daycares. I wil make sure to ask about how they operate. I found a couple of events on meetup , but they are on hold now and will start in September again.

I also spoke with a trainer who does a lot of walkabouts with her clients in different locales. This seems interesting.

I also heard something today while watching a Leerburg video, the purpose of socialization is to get them to be comfortable enough in all situations that they focus only on you. ..Well, this is where I would like to get.

So far we have been trying to get him to interact with people, dogs, kids. Apparently, we have to get him to ignore them and focus on me/ us.

Thanks for the book suggestions, trcy. I ordered them and can't wait to read.
 

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we have to get him to ignore them and focus on me/ us.

I don't believe in "puppy socialization" its better to train him to ignore other dogs,
 

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I also think it's more than just about meeting other dogs. It's also about exposing them to a wide range of sights & sounds so that they are comfortable and focused in various environments. For example, I'll take my dog to an outdoor shopping mall and stand apart from the crowds and do obedience exercises, lots of sit-stays, etc. He gets used to seeing strollers, all kinds of people, etc.
 

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I also think it's more than just about meeting other dogs. It's also about exposing them to a wide range of sights & sounds so that they are comfortable and focused in various environments. For example, I'll take my dog to an outdoor shopping mall and stand apart from the crowds and do obedience exercises, lots of sit-stays, etc. He gets used to seeing strollers, all kinds of people, etc.
That is a really good idea. It teaches them to focus on you, even around other situations.

We take our guy to the dog park though, and even though there is a lot of dogs there, we didn't take him until he was 8 months old. This way, he learned we were the pack. He will stay within 20 feet of us most of the time, and not socialize unless he sees us walking near the other dogs or people. This came kinda natural to him... I can't say for sure, but when we had him on a leash, I trained him to ignore others by pulling him away, and he learned that when I say "ok lets go", it means ignore everything and come with me.
 

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We took Sabo to his first puppy class Sunday---and he's a CHICKEN! Like yours I wanted to rescue him from the obviously mean bully puppy who was 10-15lbs smaller than him but kept pushing him into a corner wanting to play :/ (I'm joking about "mean"...) BUT the trainer talked me through it and calmed me down---obviously I need a valium for my dog to be around other dogs and not sense my anxiety! However, Sabo IS really a chicken! A barking dog (whether barking at him or not) scares him and makes him jump! I did read (somewhere) that you can't coddle and do the whole "Oh, it's ok...good boy...poor baby...its ok" deal, just an honest "Its ok, it's just barking" with a pat on the head and move on will work. The trainer at the class also said that dog parks are a BAD IDEA with puppies (and that Leerburg guy said so too) because puppies can get bullied and traumatized in addition to learning bad habits. The trainer suggested I find a quality doggy day care where they separate the dogs by age, size and temperament so that they learn to not be afraid of dogs.
Dexter was a real chicken when he first started obedience. How chicken you ask. Well the teacup maltese backed him into a corner just by running up to him to play. Now hes doing alot better, he doesnt back up anymore. If the smaller dogs start barking at him he just trots off. (lately he was going up to the barking dogs and putting his paw on them, but i would remove him when this happened) Im not saying hes ready to play with the big rottweilers and heavy dogs yet, but hes come along way just by growing up. Give your puppy some time. :) and remember they do feed off your anxiety and that may make him more nervous.
 

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Dexter was a real chicken when he first started obedience. How chicken you ask. Well the teacup maltese backed him into a corner just by running up to him to play. Now hes doing alot better, he doesnt back up anymore. If the smaller dogs start barking at him he just trots off. (lately he was going up to the barking dogs and putting his paw on them, but i would remove him when this happened) Im not saying hes ready to play with the big rottweilers and heavy dogs yet, but hes come along way just by growing up. Give your puppy some time. :) and remember they do feed off your anxiety and that may make him more nervous.
We went to a pet store today and Sabos wasn't too scared. Now say next to me and yapped for a second at a dog, but eventually stopped. A big dog came in (lassie type, mixed) and he kinda just watched from behind my legs. LOL.

Metro was never one for dog-play. When we did take him to the park he was more inclined to play with us and focus on us than to deal with other dogs. Never taught him that, that's just how he was.


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Here's a good article about socialization: Don?t Socialize the Dog! | Karen Pryor Clicker Training

He doesn't need to interact with the whatever in order to gain experience. Being exposed to new people/places/things in a fun and positive way is what socialization is about, he doesn't necessarily have to MEET other dogs up close and personal, and the same with people. If he wants to, and you know the experience will be pleasant, fine.

What I did with Halo a lot when she was young was to take her places and do our obedience class homework there rather than at home. I also reinforced her for spontaneously giving me eye contact by marking and treating her when she redirected her attention to me. We worked at all three strip malls in town, we worked outside the supermarket with the automatic doors opening and closing and carts going by, outside the bowling alley, on a busy street corner with 4 lanes of traffic, next to the driveway of a gas station with cars going in and out, outside a baseball field while kids were practicing, and next to a basketball court, everywhere I could think of.
 
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