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Socializing a puppy a bit later in life
  • CadiCadi
    Posts: 13
    Hey guys! I have encountered a new situation with my puppy that I hope you guys can help with!

    So I got my puppy when he was about 12-13 weeks old (a little over 3 months.) When I took him to the vet however he had a kennel cough and we weren't able to give him his shots. He didn't receive his first vaccine until Jan 3rd. Which means he won't get the last one until he is 5 months old.

    Since I brought him home, our neighbor's wild child of a dog (I call her Yayo) took a liking to my boy. She visits him every day and, being a Japanese Spitz (well she looks more of a mongrel) of the teasingly submissive type they got along swimmingly! She would visit every day and try to spend the whole day with us. So far she is the only dog-friendly dog in my neighborhood.

    Aside from her, he has met a French bulldog twice that he barely tolerated, an Akita that he eventually played with after initial posturing, another, younger Akita that he nearly flipped out on (I wanted that Akita to be let go and teach him a lesson but the owners weren't comfortable with that.) And finally a tiny GSD puppy, all quiet, tail tucked in, ears still buttoned, SO cute! But my little effer started barking, lunging and showing teeth! The pup just stared, didn't even react!

    I am worried that he is entering his 5th month and he is so very behind on his socializing because he hasn't gotten all his jabs yet! I am visiting a miniature bullterrier tonight in a puppy playdate; the owner is well aware of dogs needing to be checked by older dogs so I am going all in, letting his guy teach my dog a few things (his dog is a doggy day care professional, goes at least 3-4 times a week for hours on end.)

    I am trying to set more consistent playdates but it is difficult to schedule. Is Yayo enough practice or does he need to meet more than one type? He has already displayed aggression towards that puppy which is what worried me the most, that GSD pup was so helpless that I was worried my Shibe would tear him apart!

    Any thoughts guys? Any success stories with socializing puppies when they are over 5 months? Especially anti-social Shibes! Is socializing with one other dog enough, with the occasional puppy play date? Any info would be appreciated!

  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    Don't be too hard on yourself, I think you are doing plenty of socialization already. From what I recall, your breeder was doing socialization from the beginning, so you aren't really behind. Just remember, with dog-dog socialization, it's not about the quantity but the QUALITY of the interactions. It's far better to meet regularly with friendly clam dogs than to meet many strange dogs whose disposition you don't know. In particular, dog parks aren't a good place for working on socialization! The last thing you want is your dog picking up bad behaviors or getting into scary situations beyond your control. Instead, keep up what you are doing, meetups with friends who have NICE dogs is perfect. :)

    As for letting the older dogs school puppies... even adults can have thresholds, so just keep an eye out and always be ready to separate if one appears to need a break. And be aware that as your puppy ages, other dogs' opinions of him might change. We used to regularly socialize our Shiba with a friend's two older Maltese, this started off great but once Kouda grew bigger than them, the male became much more reactive and we had to break it off (Kouda never understood why Jack suddenly hated him). So even if a meetup is convenient for you, if it's not in the best interest of your pup, don't do it. I know that sounds obvious, but we delayed longer than we should have with the Maltese for our friends' sake.

    Do you have any local trainers that offer "puppy kindergarten" classes, which are pretty much play sessions in a controlled environment?
  • RyanRyan
    Posts: 293
  • CadiCadi
    Posts: 13
    Hey guys! Thanks for the answers! So apparently the second shot was his last shot. I am guessing he doesn't need three since he got them a bit later in life! This is good news since he just entered his 4th month! I am ecstatic! Today will be another playdate with the miniature bull terrier and his girlfriend is playing with him as we speak! On Friday I am taking him to a temporary dog park (a park that they use for dogs only once a week for 3 hours.)

    @shibamistress that's my problem! I have no puppy classes or any obedience classes in my country. We have one on ones with a trainer that comes by, or those that take in your dog for a month to train them intensely, but no socialization or actual classes! So I basically have to wing it.

    My friend took my pup to socialize with his friend's dog last week and mine failed the test yet again. He freaked out and my friend had to leave. My friend wasn't able to remove the leash however so by trial and error I am guessing my guy is more leash reactive rather than actually dog aggressive. My cousin has a massive half pitbull and he has offered to use him in helping me train the reactivity out of my dog.

    Is there a way to test whether it is dog aggressive towards certain dogs or just leash reactive? He isn't reactive when he is on the leash and his girlfriend comes running towards us in order to body slam him, but lord forbid should another dog try. I notice he hates it when other dogs get into his face, thats when he goes deathly still before the snap too.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I would let your puppy play with a nice, well behaved adult dog. It sounds like your puppy needs to learn a few manners from an older dog on acceptable behavior. Well behaved adult dogs know not to hurt puppies and will tolerate a little abuse from them, but will also step in to let them know when they are doing something inappropriate.

    We took Taisho (got him from Craigslist about a year ago, when he was 2 1/2) to a dog playgroup/meetup. He growled and lunged at dogs whenever he was leashed. While we were holding him, he would also get very defensive and try to snap at other dogs that got close. Once we took the leash off, he stopped all aggressive behavior and cowered in the far edges of the playgroup, coming out to observe a little at a time. If a dog came near him, he'd hide his tail and freeze, but no snapping. If they got too close, he would growl and the other dog would leave. That made us realize he was fearful of other dogs, which is a result of not being socialized as a puppy and having a bad experience with other dogs. Socializing at an older age is extremely difficult. He doesn't let dogs he doesn't know near him out of fear. Daily encounters with the same nice dogs helps but it is a very slow process. We've built up enough confidence in him to where he ignores other dogs on walks (as long as they are not near him). We've learned the way to get him used to another dog is to let him and the other dog loose in the backyard with no leashes. That is how we got Taisho to accept Zena, a husky. When I did this, I was very careful, had extra help in case we needed to break up the dogs, and had an escape for Taisho- we kept the sliding glass door open wide enough for him to run through, but not Zena. Once Taisho realized Zena was not going to hurt him but only wanted to play, he stopped growling at her on walks. She was always leashless in our neighborhood, and Taisho allowed her to come close and walk with them after two meetings in the backyard. They got to be good friends and mom was able to treat them side by side with no issues. Taisho often left his treat for her too, so we teased saying she was his girlfriend. Sadly, Zena passed away from last year. Now we are working on another sweet dog that lives down the street that loves my mom. Taisho has stopped barking and growling at her on walks but still hasn't accepted her. We don't have the luxury of letting them loose in the backyard since this dog is almost always in her backyard when Taisho is walked, so it is a much slower process.

    Your puppy is no where near the point Taisho was at when we first got him. Keep up the socializing and taking him out wherever you can take him. Let him meet other dogs. Sometimes, you may have to hold him when another dog comes up to him, esp if the other dog is bigger and your dog is scared. How you approach the situation will also reflect how your dog reacts since they can sense if you are scared or comfortable.

    And lastly, my foster has had a very sad life because no one bothered to socialize her or spend time with her. She does not trust people or dogs. She is quick to bite/snap and has lived this way for 7 years. I really hate how she turned out and curse the people that did this to her. She would have had a very nice life if she was trained correctly. I am glad you are trying to socialize your puppy. I do not wish Sheba's lonely lifestyle on any dog.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678

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