Socialization tis Critical

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by antipunt1, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

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    Wanta is only 6 months and I'm already seeing why so many of you have been emphasizing socialization >__>

    Wanta has a very shy personality to begin with, evidence being her sister. Due to friends many times coming over, Wanta is well experienced with new types of people, and usually rushes towards them. But there's one thing she can't really handle: dogs

    Whenever we're at the dog park, Wanta looks like a poor child on her first day at school. She's blatantly awkward, and even friendly dogs who want to sniff her frighten her. She's always been real jumpy.

    But today, she did something she's never done: she started to bark. My theory is that she's experimenting. At stage 1 she didn't 'fit in' being puny. so now she's trying to be more 'aggressive'. When two other dogs came and growled at her (causing Wanta to run away in a mass hysteria/I carried her to safety and shooed away the other two dogs), I think Wanta learned that this probably wasn't the best tactic either (ah, awkward school days).

    My guess is that I should keep doing what I'm doing? Maybe if I bring Wanta to the dog park more often eventually she'll learn the skills needed to fit in comfortably? Are there dogs that just stay -super shy/clueless- forever?

    (From what I've learned from Chazhound thus far, Wanta's barking probably originates from her fear. This I see as a 'problem in seed-form', and thus what I'm probably trying to nuke. But Wanta, you can't get 'positive experiences' if you keep running away :p)

    Thanks! :doh:
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I don't think she's ready for a dog park. Too many dogs all at once. I would, for now, stick to having her meet one on one dog play dates and on leash meetings. If you have a friend with a dog have them meet on leash and play together, let her meet dogs while on a walk or in a human park. I think dog parks will just make her worse, it's very overwhelming and she is not being allowed to meet dogs on her terms, the other dogs are rushing her and making her fear worse. Yes some dogs are like this by nature but with consistent, non-forceful social interaction they can improve.
     
  3. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Yes, socialization is imperative with young pups. Her shyness may be on account of that and/or her own individual temperament. Keep plugging away. I'd work on desensatizing her more from a distance at which she is more comfortable, giving high value treats as she sees dogs, but is fairly comfortable because of the distance and then very slowly decrease the distance. Don't let strange dogs that you don't know come right up to her. In fact, if she were my dog, I'd try to find one or two dogs that you know are bomb proof (tolerant, laid back and not pushy) for her to have a play date with as often as possible. Always associate a relaxed, happy attitude and yummy treats, fun times when in the presence of other dogs. But as far as jumping with both feet right into a dog park with a lot of unknown variables that you have no control over; unknown dogs, scary things that can happen in the envirnment, I'd be very careful about that since she is so timid.

    Once she develops a significant improvement with some added confidence, change up the criteria a little...some other dogs that you know. If she is only comfortable with the same few dogs for too long, it will be hard for her to branch out so it's a balancing act. You don't want to push her beyond her comfort zone too soon and on the other hand, staying in her comfort zone for an excessively long time will tend to prevent her from "blossoming." LOL. And it is true that if you feel anticipatory or nervous around other dogs, she will likely feed off of that, so try to keep things light and don't make a big issue out of it if she reacts. Just go back a tad behind her threshold level again.
     
  4. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Missed your posting Maxy while I was typing. LOL.
     
  5. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    I agree ! Go slowly , picking her up doesn't help her .
     
  6. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

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    "And it is true that if you feel anticipatory or nervous around other dogs, she will likely feed off of that, so try to keep things light and don't make a big issue out of it if she reacts"

    "Go slowly , picking her up doesn't help her ."

    aiyiyi

    btw, thanks for all the responses, but my quoted portions were what I had most concern with (because I think I'm doing something awfully wrong here...). I do pick her up when she runs back to me. But I can't just leave her yelping for help when other dogs are sniffing at her can I!? :(

    It's so hard to not go to her aid when she's running away to me. She almost half jumps up in my lap, because I'm sitting on a bench. But you're right, I feel I can't keep doing this. Otherwise, like you guys said, she'll never 'blossom'

    I do believe, however, in my unprofessional opinion that Wanta is past stage 1, and ready for stage 2. That is, we've had her socialize with many dogs on a 1 on 1/nice basis. She even lived with another dog when she was younger for a couple of days! (if anyone recalls my Phoebe/Ginger stories).

    I think she's ready for the park; I may have explained a bit sloppily. She runs away from other dogs (sometimes slowly inching), but she usually chases them back when they turn away! (this makes no sense to me lol!)

    She wants to play with these dogs, but it seems she doesn't know how, hence the barking. Although, I do agree with a lot of you that maybe the dog park has -too many- dogs. I'm not sure; maybe the solution is to go to the park on non-weekends. There may be less people there

    Now I'm just brainstorming :p. But, yes, we have brought her to 1 on 1 dog situations since her early puppyhood. At the park, she keeps doing this push/pull thing with other dogs (chasing them slowly and sniffing them when they turn away, but running to me yelping for help (despite not being touched physically) when they turn back).

    Thanks again for the help! For now, I will

    1. try to find 1 on 1 dog socials again
    2. Try to bring Wanta only during the weekdays to the park, hoping for a different kind of scenario.
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    That could just be the way that Wanta plays... play "hard to get," lure the other dogs in, and then chase after them! I actually knew a dog who played kinda like that. She was extremely fast, I doubt she will ever meet a dog who can outrun her (and I KNOW that's a big statement). But her favorite thing to do was to tease other dogs until they started chasing her. She'd let them get close to catching her, and then all of a sudden she'd run at 100% speed and leave them in the dust wondering what just happened (she is also extremely smart). It was really fun to watch.

    Anyway, either this is just the way Wanta plays or she doesn't know how to play in a group. Dogs play very differently when they're one-on-one with another dog, than they do in a group. IMO a group of 3-5 dogs is much easier to manage than two dogs. If she gets scared, she can go away and let the other dogs play by themselves, and then join in when she feels brave again; and the other dogs will be less likely to harrass her because they will have other "play buddies." So, ideally you could get two dogs that Wanta already has been introduced to, and let the three of them play together. Of course I know that this is often not feasable, so maybe going to the dog park when there are only a couple of other dogs there would be an easier option.
     
  8. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    If Wanta is not ready for the stimulation at the dog park try other places first, you dont want to over stimulate and scare the dog BUT you cant pick her up everytime she is nervous or she will think all dog interaction is bad and she can just run to you everytime. When I first brought Armani to the dog park he seemed a little nervous but unless another dog was being aggressive I never picked him up.

    Last week when we went to the dog park, he seemed sad when it wasnt busy, lol... he kept trying to go home with each person as they left.:rolleyes: So he went from being a little wary to happy and adjusted when there.

    I always stand up and walk around with them at the park, so I dont know how this would work sitting but what I did if he tried to come to me was say (in a very matter of fact tone) "Your fine" and then back up so he cant jump on me. If I see he is getting a little upset with the other dogs or too crowded by them, I walk a few feet away, and do a "come", "sit", etc. This way he doesnt think I am rescuing him but rather we are just taking an obedience break. Then Ill let him go off and play again.
     
  9. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

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    :lol-sign: I have a feeling this isn't Wanta's situation, but that sounds pretty funny

    I think you're definitely onto something. Though, sometimes it is Wanta running back to us, instead of into the open. This may or may not be our fault (for example, maybe we're a bit too inviting; it's hard to tell if we're overdoing it, however, cause Wanta sometimes looks really frightened; also, we never walk over to pick her up. We're sitting on a bench and she kinda half-jumps on me, I just pull her up :p)

    thx for the verification. I'll try to get the 3-5 dog scenario as you suggested.

    I....'think?' I'm doing this correctly? I'm not entirely sure. Like, I pick her up when other dogs are aggressive or kind of chasing her (I can tell when my dog is in quasi or real-fear). The thing is, I'm not sure if I'm being 'too' softie here. Hard to tell, tbqh :p

    lol WAT? :eek:
     

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