German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,221 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
General wisdom is that dogs need to sniff other dogs, play with them, etc.

Just finished watching Leerburg's video and he is very clear about not letting a puppy come over to strange dogs..

Heard some members on the forum saying that they would rather a dog spent time with them than playing wth another dog.

Can you please share your thoughts on to what extent we need to introduce our future puppy to other dogs.

Best regards,
Tanya
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Introduce them. All the time. Every day. That is, when the other dogs are friendly, and it is a relatively safe situation. Don't skimp on doggy socialization unless you want dogs who explode at the sight of other dogs. Ed has has very own house with his very own (large property!) yard and doesn't need his dogs to go on walks and behave well when they see other dogs. If you plan to walk down the street, go to a vets office, a groomers, a family BBQ where there may be another dog, visit a park, go to the beach, stroll down the street with your dog-- anywhere that another dog might be in sight-- avoid explosions now by socializing frequently, but safely, now. Do a dog class!
You'll have lots of fun, and create a dog who is relaxed around other dogs rather than tense. Enjoy yourself!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,392 Posts
Here's my opinion: Puppies should be actively socialized with other puppies of the same age. Find a puppy kindergarten class that encourages puppy play time in a controlled environment. This will let your pup meet other puppies that are strangers to them, learn that there are different kinds of puppies--different sizes, different levels of enthusiasm--and different owners.

But. The biggest value of watching puppies play is to use it as a distraction to overcome---you want to frequently interrupt the play to get the pup's attention back on you. You want a puppy that will come to you NO MATTER WHAT because you are the most interesting thing in the world and the center of the universe.

After about age 5-6 months, I don't think puppies need active play time with stranger's dogs. They don't *need* to sniff every dog they meet. But they DO still need lots of "socialization" out in the world--and that includes running into other dogs on the street, naturally. So to me, other dogs are like motorcycles or wheelchairs, or squirrels, or anything else---something that just is out in the world. Not to be feared, but not necessarily any of my dogs' business.

My preferred reaction to a strange dog on the street is indifference. I would never want my dogs to bark or lunge at another dog agressively...but I also don't want them to make any direct pleasant overtures either. Why? Because I don't know what that other dog is going to do. Most owners aren't even paying attention, their dog is on a stupid flexi-lead, and are poorly behaved anyway. I don't want my dogs anywhere near that mess. We just keep walking. They get reinforcement from me for ignoring other dogs---UNLESS I stop and give permission and allow the interaction. With a dog or owner I know, for example.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,916 Posts
Great replies! I could really relate to your answer, Tracy. Sometimes I feel like a failure as a dog owner because Heidi isn't one of those dogs that will go up to other dogs and always be friendly. We live in a neighborhood where there are a lot of dogs and they all seem to get along with each other. There are some dogs that Heidi just doesn't like, and if we run into them on the sidewalk and they give her the hard stare, get dominant, or get in her face (due to the owner wanting them to "say hi"), she'll sometimes react by barking, growling, and lunging. Then the owner looks at me like I'm the bad dog owner!

I think I need to start striving for the reaction of indifference and not worry so much that my dog doesn't get along with all other dogs!

That said, I would much rather that Heidi got along better with other dogs. Since she's a rescue, we didn't have anything to do with her previous socialization. I think the recommendations about socializing with other puppies are very good ones.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
Originally Posted By: Luca_stl
My preferred reaction to a strange dog on the street is indifference.
That's exactly what I was thinking.. Now how do you make that happen. My pup will "lock" his focus on other dogs and I try and just casually take him away, I can get his focus as well but as soon as he get his treat he will try as hard as he can to look at the other dog.

I think one of Eds points is that if the dog plays a lot with other dogs it will expect to have a play-party when it sees one and therefore will get all exited. So what I am trying to do is let him sniff/meet dogs but very rarely play.

That's somewhere in between, I want him to meet other dogs, but I don't want them to be much fun, does that make sense?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,392 Posts
Quote:Now how do you make that happen. My pup will "lock" his focus on other dogs and I try and just casually take him away, I can get his focus as well but as soon as he get his treat he will try as hard as he can to look at the other dog.
Practice


Or simply be more interesting than the other dog---which may mean acting like a complete fool. Jabbering in a high-pitched voice, running in the opposite direction, carrying a squeaky toy with you, doing a wiggle dance, carrying stinky treats...those are some of the ways to get the attention of a distracted puppy. (granted, you'll also get the attention of the neighbors, but we don't care about them...)

I find that if I carry on a running dialogue with the dog while walking that helps. As I see a dog down the road, I'll start jabbering. "Well, look at that lady and her dog, they seem nice, they are walking today too, but they don't want to talk to us, so we're just going to keep walking and not stop to say hello. etc.." Quicken your pace and just keep moving past the other dog with some determination. And once you're past, then praise the dog highly. "What a good boy to stay by me!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,840 Posts
I agree with Tracy’s posts. In the puppy class we’re currently in, we practice the socialization pretty similar to the way Tracy describe-allow the dogs to the center of the room and greet one another and the other handlers-step away and call them back to us. This is all done on leash-there is no off leash socialization in this particular class. And I believe socialization-both dog and human- should be going on throughout the dog’s life.

I have not watched the Leerburg video, but the way I’ve read it from an Ian Dunbar writing is that you do not want your puppy to approach/invade the space of a strange dog-you don’t know how that dog is going to react to a high energy furball suddenly showing up in their space/face. (Besides being a prolific author, Dunbar is the founder of the Sirius puppy training which is based in and has quite a few training sites throughout the Bay Area, Tanya: Sirius Puppy Training )

We need to be the one’s determining whether there’s going to be interaction not the dog. I initially do this by observing the other dog and their “people”. We spend a lot of time in regional parks that allow dogs off leash so we’re around other dogs and owners we have not previously met a lot. Surprises can happen-walking around a bush or tree right into the path of another dog for instance. The parks are large enough that you can usually see enough happening to move away from potential issues, but you still need to prepared to react.

It’s important to 1) have control of your own dog and 2) training your dog to be ready to handle those instances when an encounter will happen unexpectedly and 3) be observant of behaviors of other dogs. And I feel it’s extremely important to socialize your dog constantly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
What if my puppy is afraid of other dogs (especially the one smaller than her), should I still take her to a puppy class? Because I heard this "allow the puppy to discover and interact at her own pace" thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,392 Posts
All puppies need socialization with other puppies. If your puppy is afraid, that's even MORE reason to do so.

Dogs fear things they haven't been exposed to...and they get fear cues from the owner too. Do not coddle a fearful puppy. That only teaches the pup that there is something to be afraid of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Yes definitely take your puppy to a class for lots of socialization. Roxie is a rescue and was very fearful of other dogs. We went through 3 sessions of puppy class to get her used to being around other dogs. The first session (6 weeks) she never interacted with the other pups, always hid in a corner. By the second session she would walk among the other pups but not really "play" and would run and hide if another pup ran toward her. By the third session she still didn't play much but would wander amongst the other pups and had lost most of her fear. At just over 2 years she is now very comfortable with other dogs, as long as they don't "charge" at her, but she is still more of a people dog and would rather be with me that other dogs (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Luca_stl has provided the best answers, IMHO. Regarding Ed Frawley - while I have great respect and use his training techniques, some of his views are more extreme than I like to practice. His reasons are quite sound, but I think Luca_stl has drawn the practical compromise for you above.

I too like to socialize my dog with other neighborhood dogs when I can, but when in public around strangers, I do not encourage interaction unless I have a particularly good vibe about it - and I make sure the other handler is in agreement and paying attention.

Here is one concept that I don't think people often consider: teaching your dog to accept another dog in his home. We were just visiting relatives for a week and took our pup. They have a GSD that is about 1 1/2 yrs (ours is 8 months). Their dog was decidedly not in favor of the intruder and demonstrated a good deal of dominance and aggression. We had to keep them separated the whole week (luckily there was ample room to do so). If you ever plan to have guests that might include a dog - I would recommend trying to teach your dog to accept "guests" graciously. Not sure how to go about that, but the younger the better I would think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,221 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thank you so much for your advice!

I am very grateful for the wealth of knowledge you've shared with me! I have much more clarity ..

LedZep, you are right -- I never saw that aspect mentioned and think it would be important for do it (in particular of visitors or brining another dog)..

Thank you, Samuel, for the Sirius school recommendation -- the one in Los Gatos is very close! We are planning to go there in advance and sit in on one of the session ...

Thank you!
Tanya
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,571 Posts
Originally Posted By: 1stTimePupOwnerWhat if my puppy is afraid of other dogs (especially the one smaller than her), should I still take her to a puppy class? Because I heard this "allow the puppy to discover and interact at her own pace" thing.
My beagle pup is a spitfire with my adult GSD at home -- I mean, she's heck on wheels and doesn't hesitate to take all 85 lbs of him on all at once. At puppy class, she's the tiniest one at 8 lbs, and the youngest by far at 12 weeks. During playtime, she sits in a corner and watches activity very carefully. The instructor (from whom I've taken other training classes) says puppies gain confidence at their own pace AND second (or in my case, third) dogs are often more timid.

So I let her sit in the corner. She's socializing in her way. She's learning that other dogs aren't dangerous. She's seeing that other puppies can have a romping good time and she can observe without needing to get involved. She occasionally comes out and sniffs the next youngest and smallest dog, but thus satisfied, returns to her corner.

We just graduated puppy kindergarten last night. She aced the skills. I've already signed her up for another puppy class at another academy that I've heard really good things about. Different location, different people, more puppies. She'll get there. She'll be one of those ruff-n-tumble puppies. I KNOW she has it in her (I see it at home). But she'll get there on her schedule. Not mine. I stand back and wait. I don't sit where she can hide behind my legs. I stand in a different part of the room each week, so she needs to be independent, but in her own way.

She goes for walks and meets people (whom she loves. She's never seen a person she didn't want to meet). We go to all sorts of places, from the local downtown to our park to camping nearly every weekend, and she adapts immediately. When we pass other leashed dogs, she's fine. But when it comes to being comfortable playing with other pups, I don't push her.

All my dogs go into public all the time. As Tracy says about his dogs, my dogs aren't in public to make friends with every dog they meet, but when we're in hotels, outdoor cafes, or just walking down the street, they need to be confident and friendly. But my pups get there on their pace.

But they do keep getting controlled safe environments to get there in. Romping with an unknown adult dog at the park is none of these. A well-run puppy class is. Even if they have to take two (or even three) classes to get there, socialization, in my opinion, is THE MOST IMPORTANT skill we teach our dogs. If you look at all of the problems that people post about here, many of them stem from dogs not having been thoroughly socialized to other dogs (big and small), children, and unusual conditions. (Whether it's our dog, the neighbor's dog, etc).

It's worth the time to socialize your puppy and the money for good puppy classes and as many as it takes.

IMO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,392 Posts
Your new beagle pup sounds exactly like my new pup Ellie. At home, with the other dogs she's a wild Indian. At puppy kindergarden, she just watches. She's not afraid, she'd just rather watch the other pups play while she "trick or treats" for snacks from all the other owners. I don't push it or worry about it. I'd prefer her to be more focused on people than other dogs anyway.

Ellie's finished all the skills to graduate from her "Puppy 2" class, which means moving on to a class with adult dogs. But I'm holding her back to stay with the puppies for several more weeks. She's got lots of time to learn obedience skills---the socialization in the puppy class is more important to me.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top