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Socializing your dog means habituating exposing them to novel things, people, places, and dogs. The goal is not to have your pup run up happily to everything, but to take their time and approach and explore instead of having a fear reaction (ie running away). You want your puppy to have what Jean Donaldson calls "bounce back". The idea behind systematic socialization is to purposefully expose your dog to new things as positive experiences. For example, you see a big truck on your walk and feed yummy treats while it goes by. The UPS man is coming and you have him give your pup some yummy treats or throw their toy. Food and toys (and you'll have to see what motivates your pup most) associate with the novel thing/situation to encourage that item invoking a positive emotion from your dog (I see the mail man, I get yummy cookies, the mail man must be good).

I actually make a weekly list of 3-4 new places, 3-4 new sounds, 3-4 new people and animals.

So, one week may look like this:
Park by river - saw/heard multiple boats go by while being fed, met 2 new dogs, met man in hat (who fed pup)
Vet's office - passed around, handled, given treats by staff up front
Lowe's - got treats sitting quietly while loud saw went on and off, met a group of children (fed pup with adult assistance)
Hung out during Soda's agility class - got to meet 2 new dogs, heard teeter banging/dogs barking (rewarded next to banging teeter), potty walk with a stranger who fed treats
At home - dropped pots and pans across kitchen while pup eating, dropped closer and closer to pup over next 5 days. Set off car alarm while pup was near car (fed during time). Worked on handling paws while laying and standing in strange ways (massage, touching in between pads, holding nails). Worked on sound of clippers/vibrating clippers touching dog while eating peanut butter.

And so we go each week with new places, people, and animals to meet.
 

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QUOTE (tamizami @ Aug 18 2008, 08:10 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=621334
Great stuff Jackie! Maybe Joe or one of the moderators can pin this?[/B]
This is a fabulous post!

One question though: Would this also work after your puppy is no longer a puppy? If they already have reactions to things, i.e. barking at people who try to pet them, can you do something similar?

Jax does this to some people and not others, but he is typically very wary of new people (not sure why), but he LOVES the people he's around and has met a handful of times. He won't take treats from the new people, but if they are around long enough he'll eventually warm up to them. I've tried to get him to be more friendly, but I've decided that's just his personality and as long as he isn't growling or being mean it's okay, but I'd prefer him not to bark at people who are trying to pet him :p
 

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Yes, socializing works for older dogs...its just a slower process. What you can do is meet strangers and you walk up to them giving treats and let them toss treats off for the dog to get. They get to toss something like chicken and all you get is kibble.
 

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Great post, Jackie! Turns out I am doing some things you already suggested.

I'm having trouble with Chloe when we go out for potty time or for walks. She wears a harness, and the minute she sees someone, or someone with a dog, she gets on her hind legs, pulls and barks her head off. I always bring these high value treats with me for when she goes potty, but I bring extra for when people approach us.

I try telling her no or make her sit, but she just wants to charge (being excited - not aggressive). So people come over with their dogs, and I give the person or child a treat so they can give it to Chloe. She's been terrific meeting even huge dogs smelling their noses and legs.

How can I stop her from doing the "I want to meet you" dance with the barking?

Thanks!
 

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Turn around and walk away, then do some obedience (sit, down) to get her head. Try again. Repeat until she is calm and can sit and wait when asked.

I don't like harnesses because they encourage this type of behavior and pulling in general. I would try a Gentle Leader or Easy walk-style harness. If they try to jump with the gentle leader is naturally prevents it. Similarly with the easy walk.
 

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:goodpost:

Thanks Jackie!
 
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