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Socializing a 2.5 yr old Lab?

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!

  
Roxy

What does "calm"- mean, mommy?
 
 
Barked: Sat Jul 20, '13 3:53am PST 
I could really use some advice here.. I have a 2 and a half year old female Lab that could use some extra socializing. I have had her since she was 8 weeks old, but unfortunately I didn't socialize much when she was younger. It hasn't been much of a problem, at least I thought it wasn't, until I took her and my other 2 dogs to the vet last week.

She isn't an aggressive dog by my own definiton, but she's a bit scary when you first meet her. She barks and growls non stop until, in her mind, you aren't a threat. No matter what I do or say will stop her. She doesn't advance toward new people or snap at hands or anything, she just SOUNDS intimidating.

So at the vet yesterday, we met with our regular vet and Roxy freaked out for a bit, but after a few treats acted just like she would any other time, lovable and playful and wanting to please you. But then a vet we don't normally deal with came in to explain how to administer my males ear medication (he had a yeast infection) and Roxy just FLEW OFF THE HANDLE. Again, nothing I did or said curbs the barking and growling. The vet put his palm out for her to smell but all she did was nudge his hand away and continue with her vocalizing.

I want to take her everywhere I can to help get her used to more people, but how can I do that and how can it do any good if she scares everyone she meets? I know it was my responsibility to socialize her at a young age, but I really didn't know much about having a puppy then. I've learned a LOT since I got her but I just don't know how I should handle this.

I've thought about training classes. But I'm scared she'll get kicked out before anything good comes from it.

On another note, I've recently gotten another female. She is quite well behaved compared to Roxy, but if Roxy gets barking Lilly follows suit and then they are both unstoppable. I have a feeling that if I could find a way to get Roxy's bad behavior under control it would end with Lilly too.
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Koby

I'm a big brat- and I don't care- :)
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 21, '13 2:01am PST 
I would get her into training and/or see a behaviorist. The very nature of the classes teaches socialization. I went/am going through the same thing with Koby. I have him in a training class with a very good trainer. We don't even really do a obedience yet (I do that at home), just play games and put him him different situations with people. It's a class that's very toy and food driven. He still has a ways to go, but the trainer can't believe the difference in him already. Good Luck!
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Cohen CD RE- ADC SGDC- FDCh CGN

The Monster
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 21, '13 5:20am PST 
This is a good place to get you started:

Don't Socialize the Dog!
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Roxy

What does "calm"- mean, mommy?
 
 
Barked: Mon Jul 22, '13 12:15am PST 
I would LOVE to do a training class with her, but in my mind "training class" means either a ton of other dogs and people (which I believe would make things worse) OR a private class which is way more expensive (which, I would have money for if work hadn't just slowed WAY down). Maybe I can find a more inexpensive private trainer around here though.... I hadn't really looked to be honest. shrug

And thanks for that page, it helps a bit! I always want to bring her to small family parties to get her started with getting used to small crowds (like 4-10 family members, 3 or so being children) and new people, but my family won't even give it a try. So it's hard to "start out small" like the article suggests cry
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Koby

I'm a big brat- and I don't care- :)
 
 
Barked: Mon Jul 22, '13 3:54am PST 
The class I have Koby in is a "Drop In Class". Sometimes there's one other dog and sometimes there's 4 or 5. There's a mix of regulars and new people coming which gives him experience with different people and dogs. The trainer is very good in that no matter how many people are there, he helps me manage his behavior. We did start out with private classes, which might be a good start for you. With Koby, it only took about 3 or 4 to get him ready for the group classes. I was very apprehensive just like you at first. But, the only way to get them past their behaviors is for you to get past them first. Good Luck and please keep us posted.
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Roxy

What does "calm"- mean, mommy?
 
 
Barked: Mon Jul 22, '13 11:36pm PST 
I would LOVE to do a training class with her, but in my mind "training class" means either a ton of other dogs and people (which I believe would make things worse) OR a private class which is way more expensive (which, I would have money for if work hadn't just slowed WAY down). Maybe I can find a more inexpensive private trainer around here though.... I hadn't really looked to be honest. shrug

And thanks for that page, it helps a bit! I always want to bring her to small family parties to get her started with getting used to small crowds (like 4-10 family members, 3 or so being children) and new people, but my family won't even give it a try. So it's hard to "start out small" like the article suggests cry
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Roxy

What does "calm"- mean, mommy?
 
 
Barked: Tue Jul 23, '13 2:26am PST 
Gah. Sorry for the double post. confused

I found a lady about an hour away from me that does private classes for 60-70 dollars, and also does group classes. I think I'll look into her. Thanks for the help! I will definitely keep you guys posted
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Koby

I'm a big brat- and I don't care- :)
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 24, '13 3:27am PST 
Go with your gut feeling. If you don't like the way the lady deals with Roxy, then walk away and find someone else. Not all trainers are created equal. Good Luck!
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