Anykatie: How to socialize an (almost) adult dog?
At the beginning of October, we adopted a ten week old Australian Shepherd pup. He's really been great to have around, and we just love him!
The problem is that around the middle of that same month, we all got unexpectedly busy. We still gave Mocha lots of attention and training, but never really got the opportunity to properly socialize him (with other dogs or with people).
We've recently realized that he really should be socialized with people other than the ones at home, and have been trying to do so, but I'm afraid we might be too late. I understand that he's come out of the "sensitive" stage, where he'll accept new people, places, animals, etc., and I'm not sure how to deal with the issue of making him comfortable with new people (and their pets!).
For example, yesterday evening, I took my brother to a picnic at someone's house. We decided to bring Mocha, because we thought we might be able to introduce him to some new things (and we weren't planning on staying long). We arrived and left him in the car (with windows open) for a short while when we ate and talked to friends, and then I went back to the car and took him out on his leash. For a while, I just sat with him as he looked around at all the people (at this point we were pretty far away from everyone), and he was growling at them. I assume he was pretty scared considering he hasn't really come into contact with many people other than those in my family. Anyways, the whole night, he barked and growled at the people (and another dog that was there) and a few different people came over to say hi to him, and he scared them with growling and barking. He's never bit anyone or anything.
I'm getting really worried that it'll be much harder for us to teach him to "be nice" to other people/not be scared of them. I also sometimes worry about the other people who approach him, that he might even become aggressive. This summer we're going to be pretty active, and will probably have to take him along with us to places as least some of the time. I'd really like to not have to leave him caged up at home or in the car.
So how can I go about SAFELY socializing him? Are there some kind of classes that will work at this point? I just really don't want anyone to get hurt (or my dog, for that matter).
Thanks in advance, I could REALLY use the help.
Answers and Views:
Answer by Hailey
My dog has this same problem, but she's already 7 so there's really no way to undo it. Don't worry, you have plenty of time to fix it! :)
What I would recommend is try having Mocha meet other dog lovers, people who know how to connect with dogs. Once he realizes that almost everyone is awesome, he shouldn't have too many problems getting along with adults. Kids could be another story, because sometimes they unintentionally hurt dogs. If you bring him around kids, try to make sure that the kids don't do anything that could make him wary of kids in the future. Have them give him treats and play with him (if he likes playing) and just give him lots of attention. As for the growling, I'm guessing that he was probably very nervous and didn't know how to react. He probably felt very out of place and was trying to let you know that something was wrong, or he wanted your attention all on him. That's a guess though!
Dogs are a whole different story, because aggression/dominance can become an issue. I'm not really good in that general area so I would asks someone else for advice there.
Answer by Lucy
have you considered obedience classes ... that would make a huge difference ... and have you considered whether you really even have the time for this dog ... i get that life can get busy but missing out on the important socialization time and now a pretty young dog that is fearful and growling at people in the distance, and your life is again about to get busy, maybe give it some thought as to whether you are being fair keeping this dog at all ...
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