Socializing older puppy

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by *blackrose, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

    May 11, 2010
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    2 dogs (and 3 half dogs and a half cat)
    We'll be picking Cora up sometime this week and I'd like to get some advice on how to better socialize her.

    She is a six month old Border Collie/Lab mix, currently unspayed, and I'm unsure of her vaccination record (I don't know if they've given her any puppy shots or not, and I'm fairly sure she hasn't had her rabies yet). They acquired her as a pup around ten weeks old. She was raised on a farm with no socialization and when they adopted her, I don't think she ever left their house. They don't walk her, they don't take her places...she just stays in the house or the 6' privacy fence back yard. She's been able to experience a lot of guests coming over as well as various ages of children, but that's where he socialization ends.

    When I was taking her for a "test run" over the weekend, I noticed she is very skittish in new environments. Her response to something that scares her is to either put on the breaks, tuck tail, and run or to exhibit fear aggression (tucked tail, hackles up, barking - since she's fine with people and other animals and only spooks at inanimate objects/new environments her biting because she's pressured isn't really an issue, as she becomes more confident when she's around a person/dog).

    She's a very sweet, happy, submissive dog who just needs some more exposure to the real world. How should I go about socializing her? I've only ever socialized young puppies from the get go, or had stable adult dogs.

    She's fine with new people and dogs, so at least that is good. But inanimate objects/unexpected noises terrify her.
  2. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

    Jan 10, 2004
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    She sounds A LOT like Bailey. I got Bailey back in January, she is two years old - so a little bit older than you're new girl... She was crated A LOT in her former home, and although she knew her basic commands, she was afraid of new situations, environments, weird objects, even noises, people or big scary dogs because she never left the house. The first couple of weeks she would prefer to just 'shut down' in an environment other than our house, when I asked her for any behaviors (like a sit) so I had to back off...

    At first I was concerned that we've "passed" the socialization/fear period, and that it would be too late to 'fix' - but she's made HUGE strides in the short amount of time that I've had her. She's still a little soft, but I've accepted that that's her temperament and we can work past scary things no problem.

    What worked for us - and as a little disclaimer I have to say that ever dog is an individual and I am not an expert ;) — is right from the beginning I worked with the clicker and I just took her everywhere. Car rides, parks, drive-thru, post office, any local stores that would allow us... Nothing TOO overwhelming, but I also didn't hold her back and coddle her and baby her...
    We also went to the training center once a week, and then twice a week - and now we're up to twice a week and then meeting once a week on top of that at a public location, but that's because I have so much fun with them and we enjoy it lol. She also feeds off of calm/stable dogs A LOT so I like to meet up with the trainer and go from there, or bring Maddie a long.

    But I always click-treat for calm behavior, or even curious behavior... And now that she's made huge strides, I use a "leave it" command for anything that's uber-scary, or click-treat any curious/non-skittish responses... we might even walk around the object a couple of times just to show her its nothing to worry about. They're doing serious construction right up the road from here, so when we go one a walk the first time it was like :eek: SCARY METAL THING THAT WILL KILL ME!!!!!! But now she just ignores it :D
    Her leave it is pretty much a "ignore that it and it won't bother you, oh by the way I have yummy treats' too :rofl1:

    They problem we're having now, is she loves new people, and will approach them and greet them in her terms. I've even had to work on her to sit for petting (because she was inclined to jump) which is AWESOME!! :banana: ... but if they approach her first, or reach down and touch without warning she gets sooo freaked out and stays flighty for a while. Stupid people :mad:

    So part of it is training me - to be proactive with other people, and not let the scary interactions go too far :eek:

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