Hi all. We have been taking Oliver to puppy classes, where he is by far the littlest puppy there. At the end of each class, the puppies play off leash for ten minutes or so to help with socialization. As soon as the bigger puppies come galloping toward him, Ollie tends to wedge himself between my feet or sit under a chair. Today he sort of ventured out in the group, then three big puppies started running at him and he immediately ran away.
We also take him to puppy day care three afternoons a week. The facility is only for small breeds and they screen the dogs very carefully before accepting them. Oliver mainly sits next to the workers and doesn't really play with the other dogs much at all.
On the other hand, he LOVES people. He is super happy and friendly around just about everyone and has no fear about meeting new people, so I don't think his overall temperament is particularly timid. The last thing in the world I want to do is traumatize him, but I do think it's important that he learns to be comfortable around other dogs.
I donít know the places in Salt Lake well, but I will say that I have taken our dog to a couple of places in Utah County and the daycare he does best at is not the fancy indoor facility that says all of the right things on the brochure. Itís a smaller place, so depending on how many they have they will split them into 2-3 groups based on size and temperament. Heís fine in both groups, but heís happier with the medium dogs. He is also timid and tends to run away from small breed dogs, although he is less timid every day. I have suspected that maybe he feels a little more protected by larger dogs. When we use a sitter in our neighborhood, she owns a large dog but often has one other small dog she cares for. Our Hav ignores the small dog and just tries to get the big dog to chase him.
I think for me, I prefer the daycare that maybe isnít the perfect, modern facility, but has enough people to play with the dogs and lets them get a little dirty. It sounds like your dog is doing better there than in class, but maybe it would help to try a different location, or a sitter with another dog, just to mix it up a little. Maybe one Saturday afternoon while youíre running errands, or just for one of the three days.
I think I did read here on the forum that it shouldnít be worrisome if your dog isnít interested in other dogs unless there are signs that there is more to it than a lack or interest. Itís more about continuing to expose him to it so heís comfortable, not so much expecting him to play with other dogs. Someone correct me if Iím remembering that wrong! I think if heís venturing and you arenít pushing, that sounds like a good thing!