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Discussion Starter #1
Ok yes i know there are hundreds of threads on socialization but I am kind of in a bind. We have a WL from a reputable breeder with great parents with solid nerves and stable temperaments. My question is with our 15 week old puppy. From day one he went to work with me 5 days a week around 50 employees, tow trucks, plenty of loud noises. We have taken him to the park, department stores, pet stores pre schools etc. Always excited to great people and was great with my parents dogs. He was perfect and nothing seemed to bother him until 14 1/2 weeks of age. He now barks at unknown dogs, unknown people, certain noises and etc (hackles never up). Once approached he is fine but its getting to that point that is off putting. Example: Today went to petsmart and we had him in the cart, every dog that came by he would watch them and bark at them. Doesn't seem to be aggression but more being unsure. Then took him out front of petsmart and sat him 20 feet from the door to work on redirecting, he would bark at some people and most dogs.

Sorry here comes the question: We have puppy classes that start this weekend, I have a feeling he will be uncomfortable. What to do? Do i rethink socialization and not force it? Just looking to have a stable non reactive dog.

I have read https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/400690-rethinking-popular-early-socialization.html&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwih1Jv63M_QAhVPz2MKHezNAg8QFggFMAA&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNG39qPnN42bKcCph4M1042gofW-Zg and find it very informative but would like some info in my case.
 

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If you went to a reputable breeder, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to help you. They might know a lot more about your dogs temperament and genetics.
How much of this "reactivity" is on leash? How does he react off leash?
Puppy classes are not necessarily the best scenario for puppies. It works for some, but not all.
I went with 1:1 training so that I could learn how to train my dog. I didn't see a need for puppy group classes as I'm my dogs friend. Not every other dog.
But with that said, what are your goals for your dog? What do you want?
 

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If you went to a reputable breeder, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to help you. They might know a lot more about your dogs temperament and genetics.
How much of this "reactivity" is on leash? How does he react off leash?
Puppy classes are not necessarily the best scenario for puppies. It works for some, but not all.
I went with 1:1 training so that I could learn how to train my dog. I didn't see a need for puppy group classes as I'm my dogs friend. Not every other dog.
But with that said, what are your goals for your dog? What do you want?

Gave the breeder a call today so I'm sure I will hear back tomorrow.
Reactivity is the same on and off leash so not leash reactivity.
Yeah I cancelled his group class and looking for more of a 1 on 1 approach as well. Have an email into Lisa Maze and also looking at menlo park Sch.
My goals are a stable family dog with advanced obediance, possible schutz or protection.
 

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I think puppy classes at his age are the best thing for him. Some classes have playtime with the pups as part of the class, that part I wouldn't push. If he is comfortable fine, if not then let it go. He will learn how to work with distractions and the end result should be a pup that can ignore and be neutral around other dogs. At this age, it's more frustration then anything. Redirection is good, but you gotta remember that at this age they aren't great with focus and they are very curious about everything. Take the class, explain to the trainer what you need help working on and if it's a good trainer they will teach you what to do. I have never been disappointed in any of the classes I took with my dogs. I don't need to take the classes, I know them by heart(I have several dogs) but I still take each dog through 3-4 classes each for the distractions, minimal socialization and exposure. One on one won't give that to you or the dog. I've never done one on one, but I would not have an issue with it if the dog was older and I was looking for training on one or two specific things. Group classes are good for general obedience and teaching multiple commands.
 

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I think sometimes those big classes even the ones with non interaction and controlled can be a bit much for a unsure pup. It is great to learn and practice focus exercise but I don't think it benefits a young pup who is unsure.
We recently got a new pup at 12 weeks old I started puppy class at 13 weeks old. I took her to puppy class as I saw she had no problem adjusting to her new home slept the night in her crate first night got along with all our dogs Enjoyed meeting friends and family members. Had fun walk through the park even shopped at home goods and everyone loved her at the vets office. She is so easy and well behaved it is actually a lot quieter around here now then before we had her. So even only having her a week thought puppy class would be not to much. She barked at all the pups in class was uncomfortable around the trainer- I was a bit surprised. I know she barked at max a bit while on walks as she was excited and wanted to play with him but she was more unsure in puppy class even if many of the pups were behaved. I decided to take her out of puppy class and to more of a smaller one on one interactions even if it just on focusing on me and greeting and interacting with a pup or dog I know and that she's comfortable with. I just do not know many people with dogs and pups that is the dilema. Our regular walks or stroll through a Petco does enable me to practice focusing exercises and now having two dogs constantly interacting at home it enable me to even practice more of the focusing. we were able to play with friensds dog and pup -barking at first but with some time she was able have fun with. Those quick few second meetings I don't think will benefit her as just cause frustration and more unsureness. These are just my thoughts as I am currently in it. It is important to speak to your breeder as I'm sure he or she will be able to guide you what is best for you and your pup.
 

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These growing pups go through "phases". People always talk about Fear Phases. I see that they come and go seemingly random sometimes. If in doubt, step back and take a breather. Let your pup be a pup.
 

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pup is frazzled with over stimulation .

he hasn't been allowed to just be pup --- eat in peace , sleep undisturbed, go wild for 20 minutes then crash , be social with the FAMILY he belongs to , his bonded group , that he trusts and responds to .

you want him as a stable family member -- but you haven't given him the normal reality and rhythm of a stable family.

your place of business sounds like a successful bustling enterprise , which demands your attention . So there has been no quiet focused one on one with the pup . No distractions .

the employees come and go , they greet , they socialize with the pup. Heck , who wouldn't ?

they come , they go, the pup hasn't established where he belongs . Who is his family? Who and where is his home?

It is always a good idea to have a shut down period for a few weeks .

and this is not meant as a criticism on your efforts - doesn't come across right in print.

everyday for him has been a circus , a trial to get through the day.

pups have gradual emergence of awareness.
 

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I think puppy classes at his age are the best thing for him. Some classes have playtime with the pups as part of the class, that part I wouldn't push. If he is comfortable fine, if not then let it go. He will learn how to work with distractions and the end result should be a pup that can ignore and be neutral around other dogs. At this age, it's more frustration then anything. Redirection is good, but you gotta remember that at this age they aren't great with focus and they are very curious about everything. Take the class, explain to the trainer what you need help working on and if it's a good trainer they will teach you what to do. I have never been disappointed in any of the classes I took with my dogs. I don't need to take the classes, I know them by heart(I have several dogs) but I still take each dog through 3-4 classes each for the distractions, minimal socialization and exposure. One on one won't give that to you or the dog. I've never done one on one, but I would not have an issue with it if the dog was older and I was looking for training on one or two specific things. Group classes are good for general obedience and teaching multiple commands.
This is kind of where I was at. I've wanted to do puppy classes for the sake of socialization but mostly for him to become aloof to all the distractions. I think group classes would be off-putting for a short bit to him but would help him in the long run. And one on one sounds great but i feel it wouldn't necessarily be to the same benefit as a group class in my situation. So here I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, rock ( take a chance and expose him to the group class, hoping he won't be over stimulated and create a neg association/ hard place (step back and put socialization off to the side)
 

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I think sometimes those big classes even the ones with non interaction and controlled can be a bit much for a unsure pup. It is great to learn and practice focus exercise but I don't think it benefits a young pup who is unsure.
We recently got a new pup at 12 weeks old I started puppy class at 13 weeks old. I took her to puppy class as I saw she had no problem adjusting to her new home slept the night in her crate first night got along with all our dogs Enjoyed meeting friends and family members. Had fun walk through the park even shopped at home goods and everyone loved her at the vets office. She is so easy and well behaved it is actually a lot quieter around here now then before we had her. So even only having her a week thought puppy class would be not to much. She barked at all the pups in class was uncomfortable around the trainer- I was a bit surprised. I know she barked at max a bit while on walks as she was excited and wanted to play with him but she was more unsure in puppy class even if many of the pups were behaved. I decided to take her out of puppy class and to more of a smaller one on one interactions even if it just on focusing on me and greeting and interacting with a pup or dog I know and that she's comfortable with. I just do not know many people with dogs and pups that is the dilema. Our regular walks or stroll through a Petco does enable me to practice focusing exercises and now having two dogs constantly interacting at home it enable me to even practice more of the focusing. we were able to play with friensds dog and pup -barking at first but with some time she was able have fun with. Those quick few second meetings I don't think will benefit her as just cause frustration and more unsureness. These are just my thoughts as I am currently in it. It is important to speak to your breeder as I'm sure he or she will be able to guide you what is best for you and your pup.
Well sounds like we are in sort of the same boat. Yeah we don't know anyone with a stable dog either so it makes it hard. How was your girl when meeting dogs on walks? If barking was it more out of excitement? I think I'm just at a loss because I feel like whatever i decide could have an impact on him. Not giving him socialization I'd be afraid it could turn into fear or fear aggression, and over tim could cause that as well. What to do what to do. How old is your girl now and any changes??

These growing pups go through "phases". People always talk about Fear Phases. I see that they come and go seemingly random sometimes. If in doubt, step back and take a breather. Let your pup be a pup.
So this is what I'm hoping is that it is just phase and hoping this is what i hear from the breeder.. But if more than a phase I might have a problem.. This is another thing I kind of have trouble understanding is what let your pup be a pup means? We've done a lot of obedience but always positive never negative, have always redirected any negative habits and have never been to controlling. so does it mean to back off obedience, does it mean not to bring him out for socialization ( I don't mean forced either where we try and run into people and things but just taking him out for walks and to see new places)
 

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I don't know that a trainer or class would be any help or that you'd need it for this. I think its just a matter of calming things down a little knowing that as he grows he's going to be more aware of different things then he was last week, so you don't put him into situations like the front door of petsmart, but you don't seclude him from life either. Don't change what he's ok with, but don't overwhelm him with too many new things. You can figure out the balance.
 

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pup is frazzled with over stimulation .

he hasn't been allowed to just be pup --- eat in peace , sleep undisturbed, go wild for 20 minutes then crash , be social with the FAMILY he belongs to , his bonded group , that he trusts and responds to .

you want him as a stable family member -- but you haven't given him the normal reality and rhythm of a stable family.

your place of business sounds like a successful bustling enterprise , which demands your attention . So there has been no quiet focused one on one with the pup . No distractions .

the employees come and go , they greet , they socialize with the pup. Heck , who wouldn't ?

they come , they go, the pup hasn't established where he belongs . Who is his family? Who and where is his home?

It is always a good idea to have a shut down period for a few weeks .

and this is not meant as a criticism on your efforts - doesn't come across right in print.

everyday for him has been a circus , a trial to get through the day.

pups have gradual emergence of awareness.
I know its not meant as criticism but I must say this isn't us. He eats in peace, sleeps in peace, goes crazy for more than 20 mins and then crashes on his own.

I feel we have been very stable and never have I mentioned I don't give him any one on one with no distractions or have anything I said sounded like we are unstable. He has the same routine everyday, M-F he goes to work with me where he gets 20 mins of just me and him playtime, then he goes into the office where he greats everyone on his own and then it is time for my office where he is the rest of the day, besides when I take him out for play training and to say hi. He is one on one with me %70 of the day.

He definitely knows his home as this is where he is happiest right belong side work where he is just as happy.

Everyday has definitely not been a circus for him. I know you probably didn't mean it in this way but I did take a little offense as you really didn't know what our routine or training was.
Definitely thank you for the info and do understand where you are coming from and definitely agree with you!!
 

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I know its not meant as criticism but I must say this isn't us. He eats in peace, sleeps in peace, goes crazy for more than 20 mins and then crashes on his own.

I feel we have been very stable and never have I mentioned I don't give him any one on one with no distractions or have anything I said sounded like we are unstable. He has the same routine everyday, M-F he goes to work with me where he gets 20 mins of just me and him playtime, then he goes into the office where he greats everyone on his own and then it is time for my office where he is the rest of the day, besides when I take him out for play training and to say hi. He is one on one with me %70 of the day.

He definitely knows his home as this is where he is happiest right belong side work where he is just as happy.

Everyday has definitely not been a circus for him. I know you probably didn't mean it in this way but I did take a little offense as you really didn't know what our routine or training was.
Definitely thank you for the info and do understand where you are coming from and definitely agree with you!!
Remember, its difficult to communicate through written words in this setting. I'm sure if you had spoken over the phone, there would be nothing to take offense with.
 

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Remember, its difficult to communicate through written words in this setting. I'm sure if you had spoken over the phone, there would be nothing to take offense with.
Definatley agree with you and appologize if I came off rude at all. Just wanted to clarify. Everything you said I agreed with just didn't really fit us. But I'm sure there's things I need to work on and stability could always improve.
 

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I don't know that a trainer or class would be any help or that you'd need it for this. I think its just a matter of calming things down a little knowing that as he grows he's going to be more aware of different things then he was last week, so you don't put him into situations like the front door of petsmart, but you don't seclude him from life either. Don't change what he's ok with, but don't overwhelm him with too many new things. You can figure out the balance.
Definatley agree I'm just having a hard time finding middle ground at this point. He used to be great at the park (not dog park) where we would train and fetch, but with his reactiveness don't know if I should keep doing that. Definatley want to take him on short hikes and walks downtown but have a feeling he will react to certain people and don't want to push it.

I think my biggest concern is we had a very bad fear aggressive and reactive husky who was very protective and I just don't want to go through that again. So whatever this is I want to find the best possible solution.
 

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Ok yes i know there are hundreds of threads on socialization but I am kind of in a bind. We have a WL from a reputable breeder with great parents with solid nerves and stable temperaments. My question is with our 15 week old puppy. From day one he went to work with me 5 days a week around 50 employees, tow trucks, plenty of loud noises. We have taken him to the park, department stores, pet stores pre schools etc. Always excited to great people and was great with my parents dogs. He was perfect and nothing seemed to bother him until 14 1/2 weeks of age. He now barks at unknown dogs, unknown people, certain noises and etc (hackles never up). Once approached he is fine but its getting to that point that is off putting. Example: Today went to petsmart and we had him in the cart, every dog that came by he would watch them and bark at them. Doesn't seem to be aggression but more being unsure. Then took him out front of petsmart and sat him 20 feet from the door to work on redirecting, he would bark at some people and most dogs.

Sorry here comes the question: We have puppy classes that start this weekend, I have a feeling he will be uncomfortable. What to do? Do i rethink socialization and not force it? Just looking to have a stable non reactive dog.
pup is frazzled with over stimulation .

he hasn't been allowed to just be pup --- eat in peace , sleep undisturbed, go wild for 20 minutes then crash , be social with the FAMILY he belongs to , his bonded group , that he trusts and responds to .

you want him as a stable family member -- but you haven't given him the normal reality and rhythm of a stable family.

your place of business sounds like a successful bustling enterprise , which demands your attention . So there has been no quiet focused one on one with the pup . No distractions .

the employees come and go , they greet , they socialize with the pup. Heck , who wouldn't ?


they come , they go, the pup hasn't established where he belongs . Who is his family? Who and where is his home?

It is always a good idea to have a shut down period for a few weeks .

and this is not meant as a criticism on your efforts - doesn't come across right in print.

everyday for him has been a circus , a trial to get through the day.

pups have gradual emergence of awareness.
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Carmen offers some good insight worth thinking about. I'll add my personal experiences -

I've raised two German Shepherds in a shop/store setting (family business), from 8 weeks on. However - the dog's daily "work" is me. Not sitting at the register, not plunked down by the door as a greeter.

As puppies, I keep a crate and a sheet in my office (quiet area). Puppy gets used to sleeping quietly by my feet, listening to familiar voices coming and going, and when it's a chaotic day, the sheet gets draped over the crate for nap times.

There's no big rush, they're exposed to semis, diesel trucks, skidsters, leaf blowers, etc. over several months. If something makes them look unsure, that's fine, we can go look at it again in a week or so. As they get a little older, they tag along and follow me when I'm walking around the property, helping customers, working outside, whatever. That's when they start meeting customers, learning to sit or stand politely. I don't encourage them to chase or jump all over my coworkers - they recognize my coworkers, and become good buddies with some of them over time - but both of my dogs understand with absolute clarity that *I* am the person that must be listened to and followed. This understanding makes for pleasant days at work, unbothered coworkers, and a non-frantic dog. My dogs don't dislike my other coworkers, they don't bark at them, but they usually just ignore them unless we're all sitting down in the lunch room. My coworkers don't play ball or tug with my dogs, at my request. That's my job. I don't want my dogs harassing coworkers while they're trying to do their jobs, and I don't want my dogs dashing across the parking lot after a ball that someone haphazardly chucks in front of a truck.

Other breeds adapt completely differently to being shop dogs. My mechanic has two wonderful labs. They wander his shop, greet everyone, eat lunch with his whole staff, they follow complete strangers out to their cars and beg for treats at the counter, they have dog beds right by the front door. My dogs aren't wired to be like that. It's not their job to guard the door (this behavior may emerge when your puppy gets older and matures, and if so, you'll need to put a stop to it).

All that being said.... once older and more mature, they can make wonderful ambassadors and great workday companions. I'm particularly pleased with how my 1.5 year old has evolved into a happy, cheerful "assistant" that trots around with me during the work day, happy to see her friends and run around the property, equally happy to sleep under my desk when I'm working on my computer. I didn't choose to take her to any "puppy social" type classes, she grew up with my other dog and the dogs of good friends/training buddies. She is polite around visiting dogs at the store. If she reacted inappropriately, she simply couldn't be at the store, for liability reasons and because I could never get my work done. Take it slow, your puppy's relationship with you should always be first and foremost.
 

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I dog agree to take a step back. It is frustrating. It is best to have your pup in a no pressure atmosphere. Luna barks a ton some of it is excitement and I think it turns into being unsure when she is all winded up. sometimes her bark at other dogs is completely unsure. I think if she is barking at a pup in a class full of other pups it does put me on edge which she can sense and it does not help. she is 14 going on 15. I just going to make sure her outings are fun making sure she is comfortable if she is going to meet a dog (the dog I will need to know) this is limited. The goal really now if for her to focus on me and not be concerned about the other dogs. down the line I'm thinking of even just a class with one other pup or dog if possible. Right now we have stepped back and doing a smaller setting as I mentioned like a walk through Petco making sure she focus on me, Even a walk with a friends dog may be helpful. I'm trying to be careful not to overdo anything either and make sure any interactions are pleasant. they do got through phases so you want to make sure they have good experiences. I have a dog that is dog reactive he went through puppy class his dog reactiveness in the middle of his classes. his only interaction was with our Chihuahua and my mom's dog who ran him over as a pup. He did not want any dog anywhere near him and still like that although managed. He recently seems less concerned of female dogs. He loves this puppy like it his own pup they are so cute together and he spoils her big time. She has more of interest to interact in other dogs but is still unsure. You are getting great advise on here the posters on this thread are very experienced people.
 

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This is kind of where I was at. I've wanted to do puppy classes for the sake of socialization but mostly for him to become aloof to all the distractions. I think group classes would be off-putting for a short bit to him but would help him in the long run. And one on one sounds great but i feel it wouldn't necessarily be to the same benefit as a group class in my situation. So here I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, rock ( take a chance and expose him to the group class, hoping he won't be over stimulated and create a neg association/ hard place (step back and put socialization off to the side)
Exercise him before class, get some energy out. I have 4 dogs that I've recently taken through puppy classes(this is the first time in a long time I'm not in any classes). The classes never had more then 8 dogs and that was rare, we were usually at 2-5 pups. I did not experience any of mine barking at other dogs or being uncomfortable. It was a great bonding experience. Other pups barked and got excited, the trainer took the tims to work with the owner on it. I don't think there were any issues in any of the classes(about 16 classes, each at 8 weeks) after week 2. The pups got comfortable and it was a pleasant experience. I'm not one to baby a dog, life happens and they need to be able to be a part of life, whether it's quiet or busy. I would not pull a dog out of a class after one or even two classes if the dog is barking. You take what you learn at class and work at it when your home too. We actually got homework, I worked my dogs in obedience daily, which makes a difference. It becomes routine and a way of life. I jumped at the chance to bring them around different sounds, people, equipment, etc. they have been on all kinds of equipment, they are outside when I cut grass(not phased by the riding mower). They all turned out to be very well rounded pups. They don't bark at anythin really, not even in the car. You just have to put the work in, get everything in there at a steady pace. Make it fun. I probably looked like a fool playing at the park with my pup. Yep just me and the pup going down the slide, climbing the ladders and all that fun stuff. It must have been a sight to see.
 

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Definatley agree I'm just having a hard time finding middle ground at this point. He used to be great at the park (not dog park) where we would train and fetch, but with his reactiveness don't know if I should keep doing that. Definatley want to take him on short hikes and walks downtown but have a feeling he will react to certain people and don't want to push it.

I think my biggest concern is we had a very bad fear aggressive and reactive husky who was very protective and I just don't want to go through that again. So whatever this is I want to find the best possible solution.
Ok, well maybe the eyes of a trainer would be helpful to you, being able to tell you whats not a big deal. He's not going to be the same as your Husky. He's going to be aware of everything and the reactions of your husky even if they looked the same, probably had a different reason in him. Who's he from? You mentioned Menlo, do you know Tim?
 

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I needed a breather when I read this pup's schedule. What I have done successfully with all pups is to give them plenty of at home time to be pups. But every day I would expose him/her to something new but briefly. Never did I expose them to crowds who doted over them. He needs to learn that people are 'part of the furniture' as well.
I would let it be for a few weeks and just let him calm down. Play, and work with him in 5 minute sessions at home, some happy leash walks in the neighborhood etc. Take off the pressure on him. Let him toddle around with you. There is a thread about over-stimulation by over-socialization here. If he is from stable lineage, you don't have to let him see everything possible. Remember that he is only 15 weeks old! In the wild, they don't even leave the den area at that age. (I know, I know, they aren't wolves anymore.......)
 

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Excellent advice so far.I agree slowing down and stepping back with your pup is best.IME pups go through phases where they need time to absorb what they've learned about the world so far.Periods to mature a bit more mentally before moving on.
 
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