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Socializing an inured or fragile dog
  • My puppy has a grade 4 Luxating patella. We have found a vet who thinks he can operate, but it may be a few weeks until that can happen. We have been avoiding taking her around other dogs in fear that they will be too rough and injure her further. I foresee at minimum another month before we can socialize her. At that point she will be close to 6 months old. Will we be missing the critical socialization window? Does anyone have any ideas on how we can work to socialize her until she is healed from surgery?
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    Do you know of anyone with older, calm dogs, perhaps? Elderly dogs can be good socialization because they don't really get so hyper and playful (at least, that has been my experience thus far). The real problem then would be keeping your own pup from running around.

    According to most books, the main socialization period is before 6 months of age. However, many encourage you to continue socialization for the rest of their life. One author says that you can still make gains up to two years of age.
  • We do have family members with older small breeds, but they get grouchy with bouncy puppies. What I really need is a therapy dog. I wonder if I can find one around here? I'm kind of in the middle of nowhere.
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 396
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    I agree with finding a docile playmate if possible, but if not, I'd also suggest just letting your pup get used to being in the presence of other dogs without having to interact. I think it can be very helpful for a pup to just get used to the presence of other dogs without feeling like an interaction has to be made, good or bad. I never restricted my pup from meeting any other dogs (as in, I allowed meetings with all friendly dogs if the owners were interested), but it wasn't until later on that I decided I needed to practice having generic non-interactions with my pup. Since he was always meeting new dogs and having a good experience, he got very excited whenever he would see another dog haha. To him, it meant we were indefinitely going to approach them so they could interact. He used to get pretty overexcited and, like any puppy, didn't have the most amazing manners, and I didn't want him to overwhelm other dogs haha. So I started just not even paying attention to other owners. Even when I would acknowledge them with a smile or a nod, that seemed to queue to my pup that an interaction was coming. So, I decided I didn't care if people thought I was being rude and practiced acting like I didn't even notice them there. It really helped my pup learn to be in the presence of other dogs without becoming escalated and expecting an interaction. Not every dog wants to interact, and not every human wants to interact (at least I don't always want to have small talk with strangers on every walk, and I'm sure there are people like me out there lol).

    I do think having dogs interact with each other for socialization is important, too, but if you can only schedule limited play dates, you can always also go to places where other dogs will be (pet stores, parks, paths / trails) and practice being relaxed in the presence of other dogs without the expectation of an interaction. A lot of the books I've read quote the socialization window as being between about 4 - 14 weeks, so a good portion of that is already gone before our pups are old even to even come to us hahah. But that doesn't mean that socialization is impossible after the critical window. Socialization is ongoing. :)
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2017-10-05 20:24:10
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    Therapy dogs are great-- my student's dog is an elderly therapy dog, so he is super calm. I have been unashamedly using her and her dog to practice with Coal because, like Lilikoi, Coal has zero manners and 100% bouncy rude wanna-meet manners. Still working on it XD

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