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Puppy socialization questions
Old 11-10-2012, 08:25 PM   #1
Lizarduva
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Puppy socialization questions

Hi there,

I'm getting my puppy in just a few short weeks, and have been doing some research prep for the arrival having to do with proper socialization. While I don't have any other dogs in my household, my boyfriend and I do travel to his parents or my parents homes frequently and there are several dogs in each of those locations that are socialized to varying degrees.

My boyfriend's family has the following types of larger sized adult dogs:

- A female hound / pitbul mix rescue that is about 2 years old and is quite rambunctious but very sweet

- A male hound mix rescue that is probably 5 or so that is very very easy going and gets along with all other dogs

- A male lab rescue that is probably 1 1/2 that was a rescue and is pretty rambunctious also but gets along good with all the other dogs.

- And finaly the alpha female a beautiful rottweiler/boxer mix who was also a rescue that is about 11 years old - she gets along with all the dogs except the first female hound pit mix because we believe the other female took one of her coveted toys once and she never forgave the infraction. They can't be in the same room together anymore...

Obviously my boyfriend's parents and family have larger dogs and my puppy is going to be so small in comparison. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with introducing a puppy to larger dogs that are perhaps a little rambunctious at times. I was hoping to find a way to introduce my puppy to the family that will keep my puppy safe from either the rambuctiousness of larger dogs that might inadvertantly hurt him, and also protect my puppy from the rotweiler boxer mix who really is quite an affectionate and extraordinary dog but who is a little bit possessive of toys.

I was *thinking* that I could introduce my puppy to them either in a puppy sling across my chest so I have control over the puppy at all times, or perhaps set up the ex pen (or maybe even a crate) in the common room where all the dogs can sniff out the puppy for a little while until everyone feels comfortable during the holidays. Perhaps I'm over thinking things and the dogs/puppies would have their own ways of working things out between themselves, I just really want my puppy to get along well with all the other dogs, and I've been reading so much about very early socialization that I thought during Christmas would be the perfect time to get the puppy and older bigger dogs off to the best possible start

Also, does anyone know when I can start to walk my puppy on a leash, or perhaps a lead (to be honest I'm not quite sure what the difference is)? I was thinking of purchasing one of the across the body slings to cart my puppy around until I can walk it on a leash or lead, but I'm not sure if socialization can happen properly in one of those things or if a puppy really needs to be on the ground and have the ability of making it's own decisions so I can be there to encourage good behavior and correct any bad decisions (such as jumping) right away.

I was thinking of using the sling if a leash / lead is something I can't start right away with a 9 week old pup.

Thanks so much for reading!

Liz
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:05 PM   #2
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My family all have larger dogs too (Great Dane/Lab mix, Retriever, Springer Spaniel and a Mastiff). We introduced Sonic and Aries very slowing using an ex-pen type of setting. We then let them play/get to know each other one at a time, until they seemed comfortable together and kept a close eye on them where we could step in if needed. Even after almost a year Aries and the Spaniel just don't get alone, but Sonic absolutely loves to play with the big dogs, even though we still stick around close and keep an eye on them all.

I definitely think the ex-pen will be your best friend while introducing them, as a safe place for your little one to get comfortable and be safe.

As for a leash/lead. You can start teaching your puppy to walk on one as soon as you bring him home, but you only want to let him down in public areas after he has had all his puppy shots.


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Old 11-12-2012, 01:08 AM   #3
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Thanks so much! That's sort of how I was figuring I would let it play out too, so good to know what I think is appropriate seems appropriate to other owners that have been through the same thing.

If my thinking is right about this maybe it will be in other puppy related areas too :-D

Will find out soon enough, yay!

Liz
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:55 AM   #4
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I would introduce the pups to the dogs, one at a time, with the bigger dog on a leash for control. start with holding the puppy and get down low. Let the big dog have a good sniff of the puppy, even turn the puppy around so the dog can give its bum a good sniff. Most dogs if they are well socialized tend to be quite gentle with puppies. They seem to know that they are fragile. If the dog seems to be okay and not to rough then put the puppy on the ground and have someone hold a leash on the big dog so they can pull him away in a hurry. Just let the interaction happen and see how it goes. I would be a bit worried about letting the pup around all those big dogs together in case the bigger dogs start playing a bit rough with each other and the puppy gets caught in the middle.

You can walk your pup on a leash as soon as you get him, just be careful around public places until you have the first set of shots; then it should be fine. You don't have to wait until the full series of boosters; they are protected after the first shot, the boosters just give longer lasting immunity. You might want to get a harness as the leash on the collar may hurt their delicate little neck if they pull.

Here is a video of my havanese puppy taking my big dog for a walk about a week after I got her!

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Old 11-12-2012, 09:42 AM   #5
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Sorry I don't have any advice on this topic but that video is so cute!
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:13 PM   #6
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Love the video! They look so cute together, out for a walk.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:37 PM   #7
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I now see you double posted. No problem here is my reply again in case you didn't see my other one lol

Hi, sorry I'm late to this one. First thing is that your puppy should not be introduced to any social experience while restrained in a sling or anything else. They must always have the opportunity to interact, signal and escape should they want to. That's why leash reactivity exists so widely - because the dog's normal greeting is frustrated.
I would not introduce to the entire group. Start with the most social. One dog at a time, puppy behind a baby gate and a free path to exit for both dogs. Allow interaction for short periods, maybe 20 seconds and then have one person call each dog away, reward with yummies and allow them to continue if they wish. Also be careful introducing more than one dog through baby gate. Do so for very short interactions (10 seconds) and rotate the pairs as the dynamics change depending on the combination. I would be careful about introducing the puppy to the older bitch but perhaps do that last. Instead maybe have the older bitch access to a towel or blanket that puppy slept on and do baby gate greetings very slowly. Your puppy should
also get lots of opportunity to interact with other dogs and puppies too. Regarding leash training - should start as early as possible. Back in a sec with an article. Yeah don't be paranoid with socializing http://avsabonline.org/uploads/posit...ialization.pdf
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:07 PM   #8
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Oh wow, that is a cute video!

Thanks for all of the advice! I think I have a better idea of what to expect now better than I did before.

I'll just probably use the puppy purse/sling that I purchased as a means to smuggle my dog into places for a quick visit like the store or my office to show him off. Otherwise I'll let him make his own decisions with dog/dog interaction for the most part but with my supervision and praise of course.

It also sounds like I should keep a divider between the animals and introduce them one at a time and for short durations initially. All sage advice.

Definitely sounds manageable though.

Thanks again, and my apologies for the repeated posts under different threads!

Liz
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:14 PM   #9
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love your enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. You'll do fine.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:44 PM   #10
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I appreciate the vote of confidence. I am taking my responsibility seriously for certain, but I know that I've learned so much already from reading this blog and will continue to absorb all the helpful info I can from the experts
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