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How fast should you socialize an unsocialized adult dog?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Lucy - ADOPTED!!!!

I've gone home! - YAY!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 28, '08 7:15pm PST 
I have a new dog in my home. She is currently a foster, but I am already in love with her.. so that might change! big grin She is a 2 year old JRT. Not spayed and currently just finished a heat. She is scheduled for a spay February 8th. She spent the first part of her life in her crate for a minimum of 18 hours a day. She was tormented by a child when she was let out. She never met another dog or cat. I don't think she really knew people either. She growled at me when I first met her. But within 15 mins, she was rolling over for belly rubs and climbing on my lap. She was snippy and growly with Kaiser and Maggie and our cat Sam too when they first met. But within an hour, she was running around the house with them. She is fine with them now - 6 hours later.

I want to take her to my parents place for them to meet her and for her to socialize with Rosie, Ruby and Duke. But is it too much too soon? Please advise!

Also.. should I keep up the crate? I see it as a tool used in her abuse, but yet.. she wants to go in it all the time. I would like to keep it up for when I am working. Will it be ok?
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Josie - CGC

California Girl
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 12:55am PST 
Start fresh with a crate that is built differently than the one she was abused with. E.g. if she was kept in a wire crate, use a plastic airline carrier-style crate.

GO SLOW with socialization. Start introducing her to people outside of your house, one at a time. It's great that she got along with you and your dogs! But introduce strangers one person or dog at a time until you really get to know her. Overload can trigger regression.
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Risa- W-FDM/MF RE- RL1 CA CGC

Awesome Dog
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 9:20am PST 
Definately take it slow. DO NOT take her down to Petsmart and expect things to go well. I made that mistake. . .now Risa hates going there.

One thing at a time. New place=1 thing. New person=1 thing. New dog=1 thing. Bring lots of treats and goodies to make every new experience a positive one. If you notice her being really fearful, take her out of there. Don't force her to face her fears before she's ready. You want her to know that you're there to protect her and take care of her needs.

Good luck. big grin
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Holly

You might think- I am little but- watch it
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 1:28pm PST 
Be really really really careful with a fearful JRT.
They do bite when they are scared they won't back down too much if confronted by a child or another dog....

Just ask me!
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Jasmine

Such a Happy- Girl

moderator
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 3:43pm PST 
Unsocialized dogs can easily get sensory overload, where too many things are happening at once and the stimulation makes them go a little bonkers (temporarily, thankfully).

You should take it slow, but you can start now and you can start small. If you take her to your parent's place, take one of your dogs with her as a rock. She'll take cues from them (I've noticed that my really undersocialized fosters perk up big time when they aren't the only dog around). Let her meet your folks first. Leave their dogs for another day (she'll be able to smell them all over the house and that will be plenty of stimulation anyway). OR, do not bring one of your dogs and let her meet ONE of their dogs first, and let her hang out around the person who's with the dog (but don't push the petting and whatnot).

Take her for a walk first and see how she does with a simple change of scenery. How does she react to things that she sees when she's out and about?

Keep everything short and sweet and remember that this could be a long and gradual process at worst, and short and simple at best.

way to go
Lucy - ADOPTED!!!!

I've gone home! - YAY!
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 4:49pm PST 
She's better today. She kinda stuck around herself and sat on a chair last night and came around Kaiser and Maggie in spurts. Tonight, she was around them a lot more and was even trying to jump in with their roughhousing. But she didn't know how so she just started doing zoomies around the coffee table barking. laugh out loud

She met my Mom at lunch today. My Mom thinks she is just a doll. But she did growl at my Mom.. at first. But after a while, she would let my Mom pet her. She was too shy to get up on my Mom's lap... that will be another day. She growled at me when I first met her too. It's just her insecurities shining through. Poor girl. She doesn't trust easy, but once she does.. she latches on. My Mom agreed that she should meet everyone in small doses. I'm going to wait until I am much more confident in her before ever thinking about bringing her to meet the other dogs. She is just too defensive right now.

She seems to like her crate and spends a lot of time in it.. with the door open. I only close it when we go to sleep because she has learned how FUN it is to chase the kitties! thinking But she is fine with them today. Well Sam was kinda asking for it cause he was stalking her last night.. now he's like whatever.
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Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 6:37pm PST 
The most important thing you can do for Pebbles right now is work on building the bond between the two of you. A great way to do that is positive-only obedience training.

Addy's situation wasn't as extreme, but she too was extremely timid with people, totally unsocialized with other dogs, and unfamiliar with a lot of daily life in a city. She attached to me very quickly, but it took a few weeks before she had confidence that I had attached to her.

The first few weeks, I walked her, groomed her, and worked on really basic obedience and relations with my two cats at home. Then we started private training, first basic obedience and then intermediate. When we finished intermediate obedience, Addy and I were ready for a group advanced obedience class.

And all along, on our walks, we worked on things like how close she could get to scary things (other dogs, big men, people on bikes or skateboards, etc.) and remain calm. I practiced constantly rewarding her for calm behavior. It's been ten months, now, and she's made enormous progress. We have doggy friends we visit, she's done that group obedience class and we're planning on another (trick training), we can go to Petsmart and mostly behave well--much less barking, and what there is is much less frantic!

When no other dogs are involved, I can take her pretty much anywhere and be confident in her behavior. She goes to the bank with me, and the hardware store (not Home Depot, though--the small, local one!), and yes, sad but true, I've become the kind of middle-aged woman who takes her fluffy little dog to the hairdresser's with her.laugh out loud

Unfamiliar dogs, and people on wheels (bikes, skateboards, those scooter things) remain her biggest issues, but she's made progress on all of them. The big thing is patience, and not getting carried away when she has a good day. Keep it slow, and Pebbles will thank you.smile
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Josie - CGC

California Girl
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 7:45pm PST 
I'm glad you've begun her socialization gently. It's important to keep her moving forward, but at the same time setting her up for success during social sessions. As long as she is tolerant, keep her around around "other" people a little bit every day. Sounds like meeting your mother went fairly well.
way to go
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Dennis- FDCH-S,- TFIII

I love agility- and flyball!
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 8:24pm PST 
Dennis was a foster dog who had lived with other dogs, but had little to no human interaction before coming to us. He had never been inside of a house before he came to us either. We noticed that he did MUCH better in public places when he was with our other dog, Tucker. Dennis definitely took his emotional cues from Tucker. Having other well socialized dogs around is a big plus for most fosters.
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Lucy - ADOPTED!!!!

I've gone home! - YAY!
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 8:52pm PST 
Pebbles is now Lucy! laugh out loud

Well GREAT NEWS! My Mom emailed me tonight. I guess she basically ran home and told my Dad and my sister about Lucy. My Dad is super excited and wants to meet Lucy asap! They want to adopt her! snoopysnoopysnoopy I told Mom that we have to take this slow. If she gets on the defense (and she will).. it could leave a completely unintentional bad first impression on the others and especially the dogs. So I said I will bring her over some night and have her meet the HUMANS first!!! Let her get used to them and warm up to them a bit. Have plenty of treats on hand. Once her hackles are down then maybe we can introduce the dogs one at a time. Let her relax with them a bit and then introduce the next one. I told her I will keep Lucy until after she has recovered from her spay (February 18th).. that way we can have a few meetings like the one described and make the transition easier.

What do you think?

btw - I took her crate away because she was depending on it too much. So I closed the door and only going to use it for when we need it .. bedtime and if I'm working. She was spending all her time in it instead of being out here with us.
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