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Safely Socializing Ria

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!

  
Ria

Miss Black- Magic's 'Ria'
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 12:38pm PST 
Well... Now I've seen it. The problems that can arise, that is... And I'm worried about them escalating after she matures, so I want to nip this in the bud QUICK.

She's GREAT with dogs she knows or after getting familiar with another dog. She's excellent in parks with other dogs because she's so focused on me or my fiance that she doesn't pay any attention to the other dogs.

However... Here's the things that I think lead up to this...
- Being an unwanted farm dog litter, the owners were just giving the pups away and wanted them gone. I convinced them to keep her for longer, but ALL the other pups were gone within four-five-six weeks minimum. She was the ONLY puppy there when we went to pick her up. I was sorely disappointed with this, but we took her all the same as was planned. I was aware this could cause later issues.
- We didn't get her out to socialize as much as I would have preferred for her as a puppy. We only knew so many dogs that were good with puppies, and most of them, she has continued socializing with her entire life. She hasn't had an influx of strange dogs to meet on a regular basis and that hasn't helped the situation. We went to pet stores, etc, but typically avoided dog parks cause we don't like the unpredictability of other dogs.

So... While her basic obedience and off leash skills are GREAT.... She's turning out to not handle meeting strange dogs all that well.

I'll list the incidents with her:

1. She re-met that neighbors Irish Setter pup after they moved back(they had moved away when Ria was four months old, and moved back when she was nine months old). This other puppy is an incredibly appeasing, deferring dog, who socializes extremely well with other dogs and is typically on her back submissive in her interactions. Upon meeting her the first time, the other dog did her usual belly-display. Charlie sniffed and moved on, he recognized her and he socializes pretty well. Ria, sniffed, fur started to stand up, then suddenly stood over her and began snarling. She was removed from the situation immediately. We tried again on several occasions, on leash afterwards, she only got snarky with her one more time and now plays wonderfully with her.

2. She was off leash at a park(not a dog park, but a designated off leash area all the same), and she snapped at a puppy who came over to say hello. Said puppy was about 12 weeks old and had just wanted to meet her. Ria backed off instantly though and the puppy left her alone after that.

3. A neighboring townhouse renter moves in with a Golden Retriever - senior dog who still romps around like a puppy. Very sweet old boy. She runs up to him, gets down on her belly, wiggles all over, sniffs and licks at his face, then does zoomies, all excited to have made a new friend and plays really well with him.

4. She gets snappy with a friends dog, but I don't blame her on this one and actually don't let her socialize with this friends dog anymore because I don't want the behavior to continue or be associated with other dogs. Said friends dog is intact, is only eight months old Border Collie mix and he likes to jump on the backs of other dogs and hump them. Charlie has told him off before too. Ria tells this dog off, but never takes it further like she did with the Setter, so I never really thought anything of it.

5. The other day, she met another puppy - eight weeks old. Charlie isn't a huge puppy-fan, but he even wanted to play with this little puppy who was just happy to sniff, meet and move on. Ria was fine sniffing the puppy and checking him out for about ten minutes while he wandered around. I thought she was going to be fine, because she was doing really well. The puppy wanted to play and tried to initiate play with Ria. Suddenly, she jumps on him, fur stands up and she begins snarling and snapping at him, pinning him to the ground. He was yelping out of fear but was otherwise fine - she did not make contact other than keeping him beneath her. I hauled her off and removed her from the situation. She acted very, very fearful and nervous with me and my fiance after the situation for the rest of the night - trying to appease us, as she could tell we were upset even though we did not take anything out on her.

I've decided I want to enroll her in a local positive reinforcement Reactive Dog class to help socialize her and teach her how to be calm around new dogs/people.

I'll be honest, at just under a year old, this behavior is worrying me quite a bit. BOTH of her parents were very social, friendly farm dogs who loved everyone - people and other dogs included. I am aware that the entire problem was started by the situation as a puppy and only got worse as she got older by us not getting her out to meet a new dog each day and make more positive associations.

She has NEVER been attacked by another dog. She has NEVER had a bad association or interaction with another dog where she was the victim. She plays incredibly well with other dogs after she gets to know them.

I'm kind of lost, to be honest. All I can think to do is enroll her in classes and start all over now. Classes will be a LITTLE difficult cause I'm pregnant and my fiance's work hours are all over the place, but I think I'm going to call around and see what I can find anyway.

Any ideas or suggestions would be great!
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Sabi

When the night- closes in I will- be there
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 11:55pm PST 
I have nothing useful to say other then, Sabi does not like other dogs. I tried for 4 years to teach her to be nice. She had a ton of exposure and with a variety of dogs. At 4 months old she tried to instigate a fight with a friends pit. She accepts that I periodically add to our pack. She is great with pups. Random dogs? That's a no. She has learned to ignore them outside her space, in fact she generally is happy to do so. But for her that's as good as it gets.
I would definitely look at classes, and absolutely work on the behavior. But to be fair, keep in mind that not all dogs are social butterflies.
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Ria

Miss Black- Magic's 'Ria'
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 12:22am PST 
I'm definitely not concerned about her being a social butterfly. It wasn't one of the things we even wanted in a dog or cared for. But being able to calmly tolerate other dogs is a definite must and something we do expect to be able to achieve at some point. Not rude behavior of course, but other calm, well-behaved dogs, absolutely. I'm just trying to figure out ways we can achieve it, lol. She's an amazing little dog otherwise and we're incredibly happy with the way she's turning out. smile
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Lupi

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 7:40am PST 
I really like Dogma for classes, since you can just pay for 5 classes and drop in when you're able. After that, you can even pay each time you drop in. That means if you have to miss a week, you're not wasting money. Or you can go a different night. Because of the drop-in style, the dogs tend to vary each time, which offers lots of chances for socialization with different breeds, sizes, etc. I just take Lupi to OB or the odd fear class when it's been a yucky week (like this past one) and I haven't been able to walk her. I also really like the emphasis they put on play times for the dogs. It's nice for them to have supervised play with all the owners understanding what's going on and what to watch for.
We've done agility at Superdogspectrum and it was really fun, but their other classes are kind of boring. I don't know if Dogma is too far for you, but they have one on 37th st and one on 70th ave.
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Kagra

Lover girl
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 8:12am PST 
I was reading your post and it seems the incidents where she reacted badly were with female dogs and puppies (other than the intact male but who can blame her for that!) When she meet the older male golden you said she was fine. She may have some same sex aggression...

be careful with the reactive dog classes..while they are a great idea, sometimes they make the problem worse as some trainers who do this are not really sure how the classes should be run. The classes should not involve a bunch of slightly reactive dogs running around, it needs to be structured in a way that all the dogs benefit and one dog does not focus on another which can cause more of an issue.
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Ria

Miss Black- Magic's 'Ria'
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 9:54am PST 
Lupi - Dogma was actually who I was considering. I know they use positive reinforcement, have classes specifically for reactive/fearful dogs too, and they have a levels class program which I really like as well. My fiance and I are considering looking into setting up some classes soon after we move at the end of the month. If she does have to be spayed though, we'll have to put it off for a bit longer..

Kagra - The classes we're looking at are solely positive reinforcement based and are based on helping the dog to learn how to be calm in the presence of other people/dogs. It focuses on teaching appropriate behavior, and on teaching you how to read your dogs signals too. It's an eight week course, and again, uses solely positive reinforcement.

The incidents were with both males and females. The only female was the Setter. The rest were all male. That and her going after puppies both make me believe it isn't as simple as just being SSA. I believe it's generalized and more focused on strange dogs she doesn't know in general. She is fine with female dogs that she knows.
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Lupi

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 10:48am PST 
I'm happy you're looking into them. I've only attended the 70th avenue classes, but I'm sure the trainer quality level is the same at both.
I should clarify that I don't believe play times are involved in the reactive dog classes, only in the fearful dog and obedience levels classes. They are very good about keeping reactive dogs a safe distance from one another. Each owner brings his dog in one at a time, so it's not overly stimulating. And the dogs are separated by lots of space, even barriers if need be. Their goal is to never overwhelm a dog to the point that he reacts in class.
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Ria

Miss Black- Magic's 'Ria'
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 2:02pm PST 
See... With their reactive class, I'm wondering if it will even do anything for Ria, because she pretty much ignores other dogs unless they meet directly face to face and if I have something she wants, she won't pay them any attention for nothin'. It's not until after a few minutes of sniffing that she behaves that way. I'm almost wondering if I should USE her ability to ignore other dogs with rewards around to my advantage by letting her greet with a quick sniff, then pulling out the reward? It'll take her focus off the other dog and reward her for a sniff without the snarling/pinning.

Edited by author Tue Apr 16, '13 2:02pm PST

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Lupi

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 2:15pm PST 
Sounds like a great idea!
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