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Puppy Socialization
Old 11-11-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
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Puppy Socialization

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!

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Old 11-11-2012, 08:29 PM   #2
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One at a time. Constant supervision until you're sure the big dogs don't eat the little dog (or vice versa!). Chances are, things will all work out fine once they are friends.

They're not my dogs -- I'm their person
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:56 PM   #3
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I would introduce them on neutral territory, not in the dog's house.

also, puppy shots are like hep B shots. the first round at 8 wks, innoculates 1/3 of the pups, 12 wks another 1/3, and 16 wks the last third. I wouldn't take your pup out for walks, but you can hang out at cafes, starbucks, and I would wipe my puppys paws off with a antibacterial wet wipes after each visit. my pup would sit in my lap and meet other ppl that way. if he sat in someone else's lap, and they had pets, I'd wipe his paws off.

I would also be careful about play with adult dogs and other pups. I wasn't protective enough during puppy class and the first day a lab mix beat up my little guy (played too rough), to this day, my little guy doesn't like male labs, he'll greet them, but if they hover he'll growl at them. Yup, his 17 lbs bad ass self, growling at a 70 lbs lab (no eye contact, just a growl).

Also, he picked up habits from other pups playing. another shih tzu girl pup, would tug on his beard to get my little guy to play. now he does it to other dogs, and continues to.

don't be surprised if the big dogs, stay away from your puppy at first. most adult dogs haven't seen a pup so small. my female, at the time 125 lbs, took her 3 days to figure out what he was, lol! now they are besties. my avatar shows my pup sitting on top of my female anatolian, on day 3.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips! I hadn't heard about antibacterial wipes, so I'll be sure to pick some of those up. I'll also try to introduce them outside in their backyards instead of inside the house and one at a time. I'm also planning on having the puppy be in a playpen for a good part of our visit with family so at least he can't get into too much trouble that way.

I can't wait for him to be introduced to the families' animals, but I think it's wise to take precautions.

Thanks so much again - and that picture with your puppy on the larger dog is precious!

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Old 11-14-2012, 06:30 PM   #5
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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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Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild

Last edited by davetgabby; 11-14-2012 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:29 AM   #6
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I started Ted on his leash in our backyard as soon as I brought him home. They dont like it at first but lots of praise and treats and it doesnt take long. Great way to tucker them out.
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