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Thread: Socialising my rescue pup

  1. #1
    Silver Member misrule's Avatar
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    Question Socialising my rescue pup

    Hi guys, just wondering if anyone can help with some tips / advice from a newbie...

    In July last year we took in a beautiful 12 mnth old rescue pup who was on death row. She has been badly mistreated, abandoned, and then kept in a single cage in a shelter for months.
    Since coming home she has improved in leaps and bounds - she is now housebroken,she no longer jumps on anyone who enters the house, the chewing and destruction of the yard is under control and she obeys commands (sit, stay, heel, fetch etc) and is well behaved on her lead ... except for one small problem.
    She has not been socialised around other dogs, and becomes very excitable when other dogs pass (and being a bigger dog - she's a choc lab / staffy / rottweiller cross) the smaller dogs seem to get quite aggressive when we pass, and all she wants to do is run over and 'play' with them, which tends to (understandably) freak other dog owners out when they see such a big pup straining at the lead to rush over to their little maltese or jack russell.

    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions as t how we might get her to calm down around other dogs - most courses I have tracked down seem to be for 'puppies', and at 18 months and her size she might be a little past that stage. There is one lady we pass on our walks and she stops with her little maltese and the dogs have a good sniff and lick with each other, but then my dog seems to think that she can do this with any dog we pass. I try to get her to either keep walking, or to sit and wait until the other dogs pass, but at her size she is pretty capable of pulling me off my feet...
    So do I just try to isloate her and not let her stop for this dog and keep her isolated, or is there some way we can try to get her to relax a little and not burst with excitement whenever the possibility of interaction with another dog comes by?

    Sorry for the long post, but there seem to be a few dog lovers out there who's advice would be highly valued. It breaks my heart to think she may not be able to go run along the beach with all the other dogs - but at the moment she is just so unpredictable and 'over-entusiastic'...
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Obedience lessons.. you'll teach her how to behave around people, and it will get her used to being around dogs. Once she can be controlled, you can try going to the park with her where other dogs play.

    She probably doesn't speak "dog" yet. Happened to a friends pooch. loveliest thing ever, all it wasnted to do was play, but it couldn't communicate properly so all other dogs kept attacking it. Lots of eye staring, cuz thats how it gauged people moods.
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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    I dont have an answer for you sorry. I wish you the best and you did a great thing. I rescued a Yorkie 4 weeks ago, and it has been a slow process to get her to warm up to people, but with patience she is doing great. Do you watch the "dog whisperer"?Cesar Millan - Cesar's Tips . Its a great show, you can gain much knowledge. Click on Cesars tips for great info. Enjoy your baby!
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Just saw one dog trainer on TV today-he said every day different social situation until she can deal with it all. Like-dog park,pet store,groomer,doggy daycare,walking. By all means-doggy classes and fast.
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    Elite Member Shinola's Avatar
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    When my dog was a pup, the thing I discovered about obedience classes and dog parks is that it's much easier to socialize dogs when they are off-leash. The leash can cause them to strain and rear up, which looks aggressive and makes it hard for dogs to read each other. And having the owners involved complicates things even more.

    Especially in the classes, it was fun to see the dogs tumble around in groups, and my dog loved it. If you think your dog's too old for any classes at his/her level, you might ask at the shelter you got her from. They must deal with this sort of thing often and know of some classes that aren't just for puppies.
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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i have so much respect for people that rescue animals. its so easy to just go in and get a pedigree puppy, so when someone, such as yourself, takes a dog in, that comes from a horrible situation, its a wonderful thing! good for you!
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    Silver Member misrule's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I'll give the local RSPCA a call today and see what they can recommend - the shelter she came from is about a 4 hr drive away so that's a little far out of my way to go for classes.

    We might just need to spend as much time as possible at the dog park and see if there's any other 'parents' who are willing to have a playdate with pup. If not, perhaps Barkbusters or something is the way to go. Others keep telling me to use a choke chain, but it just seems unbearably cruel and I can't bring myself to do it. Not with my baby...!

    fingers crossed!!
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misrule View Post
    Thanks guys. I'll give the local RSPCA a call today and see what they can recommend - the shelter she came from is about a 4 hr drive away so that's a little far out of my way to go for classes.

    We might just need to spend as much time as possible at the dog park and see if there's any other 'parents' who are willing to have a playdate with pup. If not, perhaps Barkbusters or something is the way to go. Others keep telling me to use a choke chain, but it just seems unbearably cruel and I can't bring myself to do it. Not with my baby...!

    fingers crossed!!
    No chokechain,please! Other dogs are very helpful straightening out other doggys.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    nah, you dont need a choke chain. basic obedience lessons and some playtime with other pups so she can learn how to speak DOG
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  10. #10
    A*O
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    Call your local "puppy school" and ask if they do classes for older dogs (I bet they do) or ask your vet to recommend somewhere.

    You've done a great job so far but socialising dogs can take time and patience, especially if the dog isn't used to interacting with other dogs. If you have a local dog park where owners can let their dogs run and play together give that a try and speak to other owners. If you explain your problem I'm sure they will be very supportive and may have some useful tips when the see your dog and how she reacts to different doggie situations.

    At my local park there's a dog who's also learning to socialise and the owner lets it run around but on a very long piece of rope so it can interact with other dogs but if things start to get out of hand the owner can "reel" it in. It's not one of those extendable leash things with a thin piece of cord, it's a proper rope that's stronger, more visible to other dogs (and owners!) and not so likely to get tangled.
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    Elite Member panda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msdeb View Post
    i have so much respect for people that rescue animals. its so easy to just go in and get a pedigree puppy, so when someone, such as yourself, takes a dog in, that comes from a horrible situation, its a wonderful thing! good for you!
    me, too, rescued dogs are the best! I wanted a Pug sooooo bad, but refused to "buy" one, so I waited to rescue and it was so worth it, I got the best Pug ever!

    Petunia Pearl

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Thank you for rescuing a dog who needed to see what love is about.

    One of the best things you can do is bring her around other dogs. Try starting with friends who have dogs. Look into a local dog park, which is a great way for a dog to 'be a dog'. They quickly learn about the pack culture, which really helps them.

    Start slowly as all the other dogs can be overwhelming. Bring her into the dog park on a leash and keep her on it, but allow her to sniff, smell, and interact with other dogs as much as she wants. Eventually, she'll grow comfortable and want to run with the pack, where she will quickly learn her 'place' in the order.

    My dog, Marley, is a social butterfly at the dog park. He has accepted his role as the omega dog (lowest one in the pack) and doesn't challenge other dogs for dominance. Its funny because he's the dog all the others try to hump. lol. He gets along with all the dogs and has a blast. But, when he's at home or visiting his buddy Ted or Bo, he tries to dominate them. So its interesting to see the difference. I really think the dog park has helped him develop socially.

    With a lot of patience, your dogs will be just fine. Keep us updated on progress!

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