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What defines a good dog to dog socialization experience?
  • teddyjamesteddyjames
    Posts: 124
    I've done as much socializing with my puppy (3 months now) as I possibly can, but I feel I'm lacking in the dog to dog socialization. He's met as many friends with dogs as I could find, we're in a lot of pet-stores and public parks to meet other people and on-leash dogs, and have been avoiding dog parks completely (not sure if I ever want to go there based on some of the stories I've read). All the reading of done just says "have as many GOOD experiences with other dogs, bigger and smaller, as possible". What would you define as a "good" experience for socialization? He still does his excited puppy antics with the jumping and punching and trying to play with other dogs, which is fine with me while he learns. Do I let him figure out puppy manners on his own? Try to guide him with it? Should we keep playing to a minimum, or allow him to do what he does? He's a vicious looking play fighter which worries people (i was expecting it), and LOVES bigger dogs like german shepherds and huskies. I'm afraid to let him get beat up or nipped to hard and set him back in socialization, but do I need to let him realized he's not necessarily the worlds toughest dog so he can learn?

    [mod edit: changed category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 09:04:28
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    It's hard to find a balance sometimes between letting them be dogs, and also stepping in when necessary. My friend has a new puppy (golden) and she's struggling with this. Re: playing, I told her I thought it was important for a puppy to be around older, well socialized dogs, and then let the steady tempered adult dogs correct her if necessary, because part of what a puppy learns is when they are being rude and too much, and the adult dog corrects them. So that means letting them interact and even allowing growling/nips if they are appropriate. This only goes for letting your puppy play with well-socialized adult dogs you know, of course--you have to be much more careful with strange dogs.

    So with adult dogs you know, let them play. One way our trainer told us how we can get a sense of is to separate the dogs briefly if you're worried (maybe with a petting or a sit and treat) and then let them go back. If they both run back to each other, they were fine. If one doesn't want to interact, it was too much. I do think that puppies are generally resilient, too, and so are mostly not likely to be traumatized if the play is appropriate and if the puppy is not overly fearful. And I think puppies really do need to learn manners from well socialized adult dogs....

    I watched my Kai Ken play with the golden puppy today, and I though it was the perfect example of a good experience. He did not rush her when he met her, but let her approach him. He was gentle with her and did not bite her or knock or her down. When they were play stalking one another, he pounced, but instead of pouncing on her, he pounced about a foot away. It still startled her, but she rallied. He didn't give any corrections at all, but he's also a very peacable dog who is unlikely to do that. He is a rough player, but he toned it way down for the puppy. It was kind of an ideal exchange, I thought.
  • teddyjamesteddyjames
    Posts: 124
    Thanks for the tip. I'm very glad he's pretty much fearless, and I dont mind if a healthy/well-behaved dog nips at him or snarls, I actually like when the do so he knows how to react if it happens. My mom has two well behaved dogs but she FREAKS if I bring him over and they get fed up with him. I was asking because today at puppy class he was getting mauled/stepped on by some lab mix, along with the other dog trying to hump him. I was starting to get a little worried after a few minutes (the trainer had an eye on it but i was still uncomfortable). I told them that was enough, but the owners were not very intelligent people. After a few warnings I had to physically move their dog (mine was right next to me). Of course Apollo was unphased and wanted to go right back at it. Does this "aloofness to strangers" and "hand-shy" develop as they grow older?
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    In my opinion good = tired dog afterwards.
    Monkey!
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1249
    Yes, the aloofness usually comes as they mature, but not in all Shibas. Some stay outgoing and social.
    I think that as long as the puppy doesn't get frightened it is good interaction. But not all dogs like puppies so make sure it is ok beforehand. In my neighbourhood people were good at warning if their dogs didn't like puppies. I also noticed that as with people Juni didn't like physical corrections from other dogs and would then 'fight back' but with dogs that just gave her a stern look she would obey immediately.
    I think it is fine to intervene when you feel that the play is getting out of control or something, some dogs are not very good at telling the puppy off and then I think it is useful to step in. Sometimes when Juni plays with someone who is as fast or faster than her she seems to just get frustrated and annoyed so then I stop the game, also if I see that the other dog doesn't understand her way of playing I take her away before any of them gets angry.
    Doggy day care I think has been really good for her social skills. She doesn't like all dogs there but she has learned to avoid and walk away from them instead and doesn't always have to show her teeth or frown. The trainers there, surprisingly to me, think she is a great babysitter for newcomers (normally puppies) because she is very strict with them but would never harm them (they say!).
  • teddyjamesteddyjames
    Posts: 124
    I try to bring him only around dogs I trust. If its a dog I don't know I judge how the owner is acting with their dog and how Apollo reacts before even asking to approach. It seems no matter how many warnings (if I can see them, I KNOW apollo can) apollo gets he still just wants to box or play bow and bark, or jump on them. When the other dog snarls the owners immediately freak out amd pull the dog away, and I sort of wish they wouldn't. I definitely want to put him in doggy daycare when he's eligible at the end of the month. I'm just not sure about putting him with a bunch of dogs I know nothing about., even with qualified handlers watching. I can just picture him causing mischief and picking up some bad habits haha
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    All social interactions involve risk. Just because something bad might happen isn't a good reason to avoid it.
    Monkey!
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    Fellow Shiba Lovers - I need your advice!

    Kira gets her second round of shots tomorrow and we are meeting my best friend's two chocolate labs on Friday, then my other friend's chihuahua on Saturday. I want to ensure a good puppy interaction/socialization experience for all involved. Any good recommendations? I was thinking at least having her harness and leash on for her and the other dogs safety until we know that they will interact safely.

    Some more info - one lab is calm and older, the other is a very rambunctious pup under a year. I've petsat both and they are good dogs. My friend's chihuahua is a year and she is a bit meek but not aggressive.

    As for Kira, she is a very bold and confident puppy. She minds well and gets along great with my two cats.

    I have always owned large dogs, I've never had a puppy so small so of course, I'm a little concerned.

    Thanks for any advice guys!
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    imageimage
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
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  • BearsDadBearsDad
    Posts: 167
    Kira_Kira said:

    Fellow Shiba Lovers - I need your advice!

    Kira gets her second round of shots tomorrow and we are meeting my best friend's two chocolate labs on Friday, then my other friend's chihuahua on Saturday. I want to ensure a good puppy interaction/socialization experience for all involved. Any good recommendations? I was thinking at least having her harness and leash on for her and the other dogs safety until we know that they will interact safely.

    Some more info - one lab is calm and older, the other is a very rambunctious pup under a year. I've petsat both and they are good dogs. My friend's chihuahua is a year and she is a bit meek but not aggressive.

    As for Kira, she is a very bold and confident puppy. She minds well and gets along great with my two cats.

    I have always owned large dogs, I've never had a puppy so small so of course, I'm a little concerned.

    Thanks for any advice guys!



    From my very limited experience (4 months now) I would say no treats or toys in the general area, for us this eliminates the possibility of any food or possessive aggression. Also where are they meeting? Any possibility of territorial issues? (although I am not sure this is a issue with female dogs)

    We are never overly concerned with Bear's small size , even though he is only 6 months we always say he has "little man syndrome", he is fearless when it comes to other dogs, he has held his own with Bull Mastiffs and Saint Bernards.

    image

    image

    Generally in our case, being how Shiba's are such a overly dramatic breed, if the other dog does anything even remotely close to being harmful Bear will let out a whine, and we go and rectify the situation.

    Again, I am far from an expert, but seeing how our Shiba is a pup as well and he meets a few dogs a week at least, I figured I would share. Hope all goes well!
    image
    Shiba 500 Pit Crew
    Post edited by BearsDad at 2013-08-22 10:51:02
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I think a good puppy class is your best way to get good puppy interaction/socialization. I think it is as important puppies play and interact with other puppies as it is for them to meet some well adjusted/socialized adult dogs too.

    A good puppy class the trainer is going to know when to step in and when not to. A good puppy class with the right trainer will also give you assistance on seeing the body language of your pup too so you can build from there when watching other interactions of your puppy with other puppies/adult dogs.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1102
    For first meetings, it can be good to take a quick walk together (neutral territory) so the dogs can see and smell each other without getting overwhelmed. Let them meet and sniff on leash. (Granted, some dogs have leash aggression, but those would not be good candidates for your puppy's first socialization!)

    After your walk, and once the dogs are comfortable with each other, you can take their leashes off and let them play. Leashes can get tangled, so for their safety, you shouldn't leave them on. If you don't have a private yard (and dog parks are not recommended until your puppy has had the full series of vaccinations), you can use something like a fenced basketball or tennis court or baseball field for them to play in.

    Toys can be added once you know the dogs play well together, but like @BearsDad said, some dogs can have possession issues with toys and food.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    Thanks for all the input! I know all these dogs very well and none of them are territorial or aggressive. But Kira gets fiesty with her toys so we will definitely avoid toys until after they are introduced and comfortable with each other, thanks for that Bear's Dad. My friend with the labs is also puppy sitting her next weekend, so it's imperative that we introduce them before our trip.

    Kira is quite a spitfire, I think she will hold her own very well with the labs. I am more concerned about the chihuahua because Kira is so bold and confident. I think that zandrame's suggestion for a walk together first is a great idea for that meeting.

    Great recommendation redcattoo - We are enrolling Kira in puppy classes/manners classes beginning in September. I'm very nervous and paranoid about the possibility of dog and stranger aggression. My goal is to take her to a new environment with different stimuli at least once a week.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    imageimage
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
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    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1249
    With Juni who is more of a grumpy bitch, I don't let her or the other dog sniff each other at all on leash. After some time when you walk they will start sniffing the same bush and exploring the same things and that is usually enough to make them relax in each other's company. Juni plays different with small dogs, she can be surprisingly soft with them. But as a pup I don't think she understood the difference in sizes and play styles so well.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    It really depends on the personality of the dogs and their prey drive and/or possessiveness over objects and spaces.

    A lot of on leash aggression can occur when introductions are made while constrained. A training center with off leash play and safe dogs are a good idea.

    If the socializing is going well keep it up. Socialization should be on going way beyond the critical 16 weeks. It's a life long thing in many cases to keep dog to dog manners up to snuff.

    Weigh it as the dogs mature to make sure they are enjoying the company. Not every dog will naturally get along with every dog they meet. Often possession issues crop up over time so be aware of that as well.

    Snf
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2013-08-23 10:36:30
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    Update:

    The puppy playdate with the chihuahua was a HUGE success! Kira never showed any signs of aggression and they played for hours with no mishaps! We plan on doing the playdates once a month from here on out. Thanks for all the great advice, everyone!
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    imageimage
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • BearsDadBearsDad
    Posts: 167
    Kira_Kira said:

    Update:

    The puppy playdate with the chihuahua was a HUGE success! Kira never showed any signs of aggression and they played for hours with no mishaps! We plan on doing the playdates once a month from here on out. Thanks for all the great advice, everyone!



    Glad to hear all went well! Regular playdates are a great idea!
  • fisticuffsfisticuffs
    Posts: 148
    I actuaIly have a question about this as well.
    Roku tends to start out with some slightly aggressive behavior at first when meeting new dogs, regardless of size and/or age. He nips at them and growls a bit. I try to curb this, but when I have ignored it (with a close friend's bigger, older lab) he stops on his own when he realizes they're not going to respond to it (so far no dog has).
    My neighbors have a pomernian puppy that's just a few weeks older than Roku, but so much smaller. We let them play and he did his aggressive nipping/growling thing first and started playing after a few minutes. He kept pinning her and grabbing her leg and like, deathshaking it. Hard. I intervened, but she kept coming back to play more. She never whined or cried out, but I was worried about his viciousness. I know he's not trying to kill her, despite it looking like that. But I'm not sure what to do to stop this behavior, or if I should since she's not showing that she's being hurt by his roughness. The neighbors said they need to work it out, though with the pinning and shaking, even they looked concerned.
    Should I stick to letting him play with larger dogs only for now? He does just fine with bigger dogs.
  • MayamaMayama
    Posts: 267
    Since a few months ago, Maya has started to growl at dogs when meeting, on and off leash. Sometimes when she's on leash, she would even lunge at the other dog. It started with big dogs, then to all dogs, from on leash to off leash, from indoors to outdoors.

    A typical meet starts with her being all excited to see another dog. She would run up to the other dog, sniff its face and all of the sudden freeze up once the other dog sniff back. A split second later, she would start growling. The only dogs she's ok with, were the ones who avoids conflict and would turn away when Maya runs up.

    We had been working very hard socializing her since she's a puppy and she had been great with dogs. But now things just keep getting worse and worse, and I don't know how to fix it.

    I feel like I can no longer take her to dog parks, meetups, doggie daycare anymore. The only place that seems to be ok for her now is the beach, but I'm so afraid some day she can't go there anymore as well.

    Today we met a Shiba puppy at training class. Maya was so excited, but as soon as the puppy came close to her, she growled, lunged, snapped within a split second. Both owners were quick enough to pull the dogs back, but I felt terrible, as the puppy was definitely startled. This is the first time she acted out on a Shiba.

    I feel so frustrated and defeated...
    Shiba Inu Maya's blog and FB page
  • @Mayama, it sounds like you probably should seek some professional help before it continues to spiral downward.

    I am interested to know how old Maya is as I have the impression so far that this is not uncommon around 2 years old and my boy Bear is slowly approaching the 2 year mark (he is right now almost 21 months old). So far I see no signs of issues, but do worry a lot due to others on this forum who report these issues cropping up around 2 years old. I also worry because I know he is already a shy natured boy, to date though he tends to avoid rather than confront, but worry that this could change.
  • MayamaMayama
    Posts: 267
    @redcattoo, yes, I just mailed a behaviorist and hope she can shed some light.

    Maya just turned 3 a month ago. We thought we got through that phase when she was 2, but I guess I was wrong. I've never seen any signs of issues as well, so this is very shocking for me.

    She has always been a confident girl and never reacted to other dogs negatively. Even now, when other dogs growl or bark at her when she walks by, she would just ignore them, as long as they are more than a feet away. But when someone's in her space, unless it's a dog she played with before, she'll get angry.
    Shiba Inu Maya's blog and FB page
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1249
    Juni used to be similar to Mayama, she liked to sniff other dogs but hated having her own butt and face sniffed.
    I just stopped letting her greet other dogs. We detour or I walk between her and the dogs we meet or even better I put my bike in between. She is much more relaxed when she knows she doesn't have to have so much contact with other dogs.
    If I want her to be able to interact with another dog we go for a walk first and let the introduction take place gradually.
    If we go to a dog park, which we only do every now and then we go to one which is very large and where it is easy for Juni to choose if she wants to play with some dogs or if not there is space enough to walk away and avoid them.
    At the nearest dog park she always gets up to the fence and checks the other dogs out, if they seem too rowdy she walks by but if the dogs seem sweet and friendly she walks up to the gate to be let in.
  • MayamaMayama
    Posts: 267
    Thanks Juni for sharing your experience. I think part of being so frustrated, is that we have always been proud of ourselves for socializing Maya as much and as early as we could, and she had always been a social butterfly. Putting my pride aside, is there anything we can do, or should we just accept that this is part of the breed?
    Shiba Inu Maya's blog and FB page
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3481
    @Mayama,

    Wow. I'm shocked. Having met Maya myself, I wouldn't expect her to turn that way as well. Does Maya do that at home too? Or just out in public places?

    Have you taken her to FF lately? Maybe we can do a trial run.
  • MayamaMayama
    Posts: 267
    @Bootz, the only dogs that came to our place in the past few months are dogs she knew for a long time, and she's totally fine with them. Her "friends" can climb on her, pin her down, or drink from her bowl without any problems no matter at home or in public.

    We took her to FF yesterday and she greeted more than 30 dogs fine along the coast, but once we leashed her up and started to hike back, she got snarly at dogs that came too close again.
    Shiba Inu Maya's blog and FB page
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1249
    If she has dogs she knows and likes I think that is enough for her. Shibas, or many of them, are not like other dogs that want to greet and play with everybody. It is just stressful having to meet new dogs all the time then. Think of them as introverts that constantly have to try and small talk to strangers over and over, it wouldn't be nice at all.
    Remove the stress and after awhile when she understands she doesn't have to get sniffed at all the time she might go back to being more social again.
  • Agreed with @Juni's assessment of @Mayama's situation. Part of maturation is learning that you don't like everyone or everything. Doesn't mean you hate everyone and everything, or that your socialization efforts were for naught. It just means, to me, that Maya is a normal Shiba after all. ;)

    This is part of why I always try to keep Bowdu moving while we're at the parks, and then greeting time is over when he's on leash -- we're going straight to the car.

    Meetups are trickier, since people do like to just stand in one place and talk. But really, the meetups were more for me than for Bowdu, who doesn't really care whether or not there are other Shibas in the world. I allow him to grumble if another dog is doing something he doesn't like, but I don't allow lunging and snapping. And as long as we keep moving, it shouldn't come to that. If the other person doesn't understand that growling is normal canine communication, that's on them, and I don't feel too bad about it.
    image
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • MayamaMayama
    Posts: 267
    Thanks @Juni and @curlytails. Your posts made me feel better.

    The tricky ones for me is training classes, since other dogs will be close by and sometimes off leash practicing. I need to be very careful.

    Here's a clip Maya's trainer helped us film today. You can clearly see she was interested in meeting, was fine when sniffing each other's butt, froze up when the other dog sniffed her face, then lunged right away. (I do not let her meet with other dogs this way anymore.)



    Edit: I sent the video to the behaviorist I contacted and she said that "There is lots going on in it. We can go over it point by point, including the number of catalyst triggering Maya's reaction." We'll have a phone call tomorrow. Hope I can get some pointers.
    Shiba Inu Maya's blog and FB page
    Post edited by Mayama at 2013-09-05 03:39:57
  • Hope you can get some pointers too!

    That's almost exactly how Bowdu acts when he's on leash. Sometimes, he does also act as if he is interested in greeting another dog -- and then he follows a similar sniffing pattern: face, side, face. And the second face-sniff doesn't always go well (ends with a lunge, exactly like you show), so I've stopped letting him do that. My way of handling it has just been avoidance, honestly... At most I'll let him get to the side-sniff, and then I say "okay" and we separate about 2 or 3 seconds later. Possibly, I am tightening the leash in anticipation of the second sniff, so that could automatically be making it more tense.

    Anyway, I don't have an answer because I haven't consulted a behaviorist. I've changed my habits and gradually shaped his into something that seems to work for us. Would be interesting to know how your behaviorist unpacks the video! What I see at about 0:14 is the other dog leaning in and over Maya, which I know is exactly what Bowdu hates -- being crowded from above. So basically, any dog taller than him is a potential "problem" dog whom we avoid when on leash.

    I also try to get him to focus on me if I see a potential situation (hyper dogs, other dogs that are pulling their owners, noisily snarfing brachycephalic dogs for example) from a distance. When he ignores them and looks at me instead as we pass, I praise him. Even now, after all these years, I still do! Sometimes I'll change positions so I put myself between the other dog and Bowdu as we walk by. This keeps him non-reactive, and I've found that he's at his best when he's totally ignoring other dogs.

    Dunno if that helps at all... I know Maya's social circles are quite different from Bowdu's. ;) It looks like you've got a lot of good support though!
    image
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1249
    When we take classes I always introduce Juni with an explanation that she wants some space. I find it really rude when other dog owners don't respect that. Usually it's someone with a dog who is 'super friendly and loves everyone'...so they never bother to look at where exactly their dog is. Well after Juni has told them off they usually learn to keep their distance :-)
  • Here is the success picture from the recent meeting we had with Penny the chihuahua. They played together for hours!

    Kira meets Penny
    Kira meets Penny

    The best part is, 1 week later she spent the weekend with my puppy sitter who owns 2 huge chocolate labs and really enjoyed herself!

    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    imageimage
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    That's great! :)
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • tysaaantysaaan
    Posts: 122
    Bumping because I am having similar issues with Jibo.

    Jibo tends to be quite rough with play, and especially with smaller dogs, it will look like he is aggressive due to his way of playing where he is very mouthy and also likes to jump and pounce around. I believe he also has a hard time of reading other dogs and knowing when to stop. Is there anyway to train him how to be much calmer towards other dogs or does this require professional help? I want Jibo to be calmer and less rough while playing since most of the dogs he interacts with are small and are older and don't really play the way he plays.

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