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Old 09-14-2008, 08:44 AM   #1
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Default Socialization dilemma

I know you need to socialize pups with other dogs but what do you do if you don't know anyone with a dog?
I've started to take Adam to the park and people with other dogs see how small he is and call their dogs away, even from a distance.Then today I was in the small park across the street when I noticed an off lead staffy with his owners. As he had noticed Adam and wasn't too interested I took the opportunity to walk him slightly nearer the dog to desensitise him a little. However someone threww a ball for the staffy near us and he ran over and pounced on Adam obviously mistaking him for a squeeky toyAnd boy did he squeek!! Me and some girls untangled them leaving my little stinker abit traumatized. In all fairness to the staffy he wasn't in the slightest bit aggressive just displaying poor doggy manners and over excited to have a ball
So puppy classes start next week (fingers crossed), but what should I do til then? Toy dog owners are irresponsible not to socialize their dogs yet I got dirty looks today as I almost let my chihuahua become a staffy happy meal. Advice?

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Old 09-14-2008, 09:06 AM   #2
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first off is he is o.k?

If I was you I would just wait until puppy training class. That is the best way to socialise in a somewhat safer environment. I don't think you want a repeat incident.
Another place you can go is the large pet stores that allow animals. But just be careful and ready to whip Adam up in an instant. Even though you are a responsible dog owner there are a lot of irresponsible dog owners out there.
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:31 AM   #3
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He's just fine. The staffy was just playful but jumped right into the mouthing/play fight section of the meeting without the pleased to meetcha butt sniff first! Adam freaked and rolled onto his back, yelping like he was being ripped in two. Luckily I know this is his response to anything he's scared about so I think the other people in the park were more worried than me.
I think I might have to wait for puppy classes. What do other toy breed owners do about meeting bigger dogs whilst out and about?

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Old 09-14-2008, 09:35 AM   #4
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I am having a similar problem... i have taken tasha to several places. Nature reserve - great for dogs but it seems and ever increasing amount of owners just let their dogs wander free out of their sight ithout a thought for others. This makes me nervous as you can never quite tell their temperament. I don't want my pup ripped apart and kids injured! So we walk on the outskirts and hope the owners are responsible. I had to tell and owner 4 times last week to leash and control his dog, he went for my pup twice one more time and i swear to god i would have kicked it!(we had 4 small children with us , 2 of them were scared as well as the pup)
Childrens parks with seperate walking areas - puppies can be near both dogs and children without be too close to the kids and the other dogs are more often than not on a lead or friendly.
We are also starting puppy classes next week ... i cant wait!!
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:06 PM   #5
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If you live near streets of town just walk daily and your sure to pass a few dogs also being walked, at least here it happens in our dinky town.

Just exposing the dog to dogs of any age, litter mates they help each other also before even leaving the box or kennels. That is why so important not to sell a puppy before 8 weeks or more as they learn so much from mommy and each other.

Socializing is highly important and almost totally necessary but waiting on classes might be too long, so just walk, even exposing to noise, traffic, sirens blowing etc helps a dog alot. Just do not house the dog up and so nothing and wait, work and walk. GOod luck...
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Old 09-16-2008, 12:30 AM   #6
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Good advice shep. When walking him its important to not freak out, this is what I did with April when she was a pup & when she started obedience classes she wasn't always friendly to other dogs. Another thing owners of toy dogs do is to pick them up when a big dog approaches. I know, I think I would do the same thing, but that is also not a good idea. If you can, ask in advance if the dogs you meet are friendly & how they react around puppies before you let him say hello.
Maybe go to a breed show when they are showing toys & walk amongst the dogs waiting to go into the ring.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:49 AM   #7
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What a shame Adam had that rather unfortunate experience so early on! Nellie is very well socialised these days, but I admit I had problems meeting other dogs when she was a pup - she was very tiny, not an awful lot bigger than your dog.

I took her to puppy classes at 10 weeks, and the boisterousness and lack of control of the other puppies - all much, much bigger than her - was totally overwhelming for her. She either barked her head off at everyone, or squealed and clawed at my legs for me to rescue her (I was terribly hard-hearted and wouldn't pick her up!). We lasted 3 classes before I decided to leave it for a while, until she was a little bigger and more sure of herself. Don't let my experience put you off though, I think the classes I attended weren't very well controlled!

Instead I just took her for regular walks from 12 weeks, going to the park to find as many other adult dogs as possible. She went off lead right from the start (we taught her recall in the back garden, and being so tiny she didn't stray far from us anyway) - when other dogs approached, I had to step back and have faith that they would simply do their thing.

There were a couple of occasions when I had to intervene - some dogs were very pleased to see her, but were simply too heavy-handed, so I shoo-ed away a few who bowled up to say hi but accidentally knocked her flying. There was only one who was actually aggressive, but he was wearing a muzzle so she wasn't hurt - she did, however, get a lesson in the difference between an overly playful dog and an aggressive one, and effectively learnt to protect herself.

All in all though, I'd say the majority of adult dogs recognise a puppy and approach accordingly - they like to have a good sniff (as your dog probably lays on the ground cringing very submissively), then they wander off.

In fact, the greetings which can go wrong (apart from a staffy looking for a squeaky toy!) tend to be with other puppies. They don't have the social skills of adult dogs and can be over-enthusiastic and barky, having no knowledge of doggy etiquette. Its best to stand between Adam and the other dog if you're not sure - let them peer around your legs at each other. You could crouch down alongside Adam to reassure him, but try not to touch him or scoop him up (unless of course the other dog is genuinely unpleasant).

Otherwise, within reason I'm afraid you just have to bite the bullet and let them get on with it. The more you intervene (especially picking him up), the more defensive and nervous he will get. He needs to learn how to deal with other dogs by himself!

It hasn't been plain sailing, but I do have a dog who is now relaxed about meeting others and can handle herself in most situations. I am careful when there are small puppies around, as she's not too kind to them, but otherwise I consider her well socialised.

Good luck, and I hope Adam gets to meet a few more gentle dogs before he faces puppy class!

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Old 09-16-2008, 05:16 AM   #8
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Socialisation is extremly important and I have had a couple of instances
where Nipper was gone for. I don't know why as Nipper is always being submissive towards any dog. But I have always handled it ok I never pick Nipper up I just say something to owner and then walk away. But all other dogs we have met have gone well. So continue your walks but also join up with the puppy classes too. good luck

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Old 09-16-2008, 06:40 AM   #9
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Thanks for the input! I do try and walk Adam in the park to get used to being near other dogs, also high st, pets shops, trains stations and everywhere!!The picking up is a bit of a problem as I don't drive so I've often got him in my arms as I walk from place to place. I try and split his exercise so he walks and is carried throughout trips.Unfortunately for him his reaction when seeing something scary is to whine and squirm, if being carried, I automatically put him down as I don't want to drop him
Oh, and I'm sure telling him to stop being a big baby is character building..hehe!

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Old 09-16-2008, 06:54 AM   #10
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I had a snicker at the squeky toy part *lol* Thank you..

Puppy class is good and whatever you do always keep a happy upbeat voice esp if you wnat to give your dog support NEVER coddle him it will reinfroce his fear instead ofhelping him to get rid of it. Also socialising in a distance is not bad either, leashed walks is one of the best cause they learn body language etc without the intense play too. You can also put an add up for anyone who has another small dog that wants to socialize and a bigger one (But I would sugest that on lead however). Thing is, th ebig dog will not want to hurt him butall that needed is a paw across the spine and your pup would be bye bye. It happens fairly often, never on purpuse but it does..
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