Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Northern Virginia
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Socialization with other dogs
First time poster... hey everyone! Hope this is in the right spot.
I brought home a lovely Havanese named Gracie right around Christmas. She's a little over 5 months now, and we've had our share of training issues, but overall everything is going great. The one issue I'd still like to tackle is how she handles other dogs.
We took her to a puppy kindergarten class which just finished a week or two ago, and that was a great experience. Before that, I don't know if she hardly understood the concept of "other dogs", and if she did, she didn't like it. The first class or two, she would constantly run in to her crate to hide. By the end, we didn't even bring the crate, and she was so excited by the other puppies that she would hardly settle down to actually do commands. Even then, she would still retreat to us (or any other human) during off-leash playtime. Granted there were some big puppies there, and some that liked to play rough with each other, but I still feel like Gracie's socialization is a work in progress.
We take her for walks as well, in a neighborhood with many other dogs. She's gotten to the point where she'll get in close enough for a few sniffs and a lick with just about any dog, but she's very squirmy and hyper when she does so, and often will go running back and forth at full speed right after (which has caused some bigger dogs to start barking and try jumping after her, and probably doesn't help reinforce the good experience). With friendly small dogs, Gracie's excitement can be overwhelming. She's not aggressive, but she's far from gentle or calm with the meet. I know she's just a puppy, but I don't want to be "that" owner that lets their dog jump all over your dog.
Unfortunately, all of our friends with dogs have either moved away, or had their dogs pass away recently. I would love to set up some one-on-one playtime with another dog, as I think she would do much better, but I don't really know how to go about that.
What suggestions do you guys have for ways I can get Gracie over her nervous, hyper energy when it comes to meeting other dogs?