Socialisation Techniques

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JohnR
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Socialisation Techniques

Post by JohnR » 20 Sep 2016, 08:56

I'm a brand new lab owner so any tips would be useful. My dog is about 4 years old and has been neutered. He came via Labrador Rescue and was in kennels for quite a while before I adopted him. I've only had him a few days so I may be jumping the gun a bit. His write-up said he was ok with dogs and cats and ok with children, all of which are important to me and are all reasons why I chose him. Since I brought him home he has remained calm and has settled into the domestic routine without any problem. He hasn't seen any cats yet and he has not yet met any children but he has met a few adults and he is fine with them. For exercise he is currently taken out on a lead, (can't yet trust him off lead yet because recall is not good but we're working on it), and when we meet dogs owned by neighbours, also on their leads, he appears either nervous or aggressive towards them. His tail is wagging but he starts to growl at them then he pulls and starts to snap and bark. Needless to say my neighbours then pull their dogs away. I want my dog to be friendly and enjoy playing with other dogs but right now this looks like it may be a problem. - Anyone got any suggestions as to how I can modify his current response behaviour?

JohnR

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by jackie » 21 Sep 2016, 19:11

Welcome to the forum and to Labrador ownership! Firstly as you have only had him for a few days it is a bit early to judge fully as it may be that he is a bit confused and he may just take a bit of time to understand that you are his new lifelong family and to know exactly what is expected of him. It is so hard to comment on behaviour without seeing how the dog reacts face to face as there could be so many reasons for him behaving the way he has around dogs. I would enrol in some dog training classes but do explain to them that you are having some problems and see what they recommend. In the meantime would one of your neighbours be happy to walk on the opposite side of the road with their dog back and forth while you stand still with your dog ignoring any bad behaviour? The plan here is that he gets the message that nothing bad is going to happen and that he is going no where until he learns to not to react. Could take some time but once he doesn't react to the dog walking by that is when you reward him big time, treats, cuddles etc You then build on this you could maybe do it with another neighbours dog to see how he fairs. It is all about conditioning dogs to behave how you want them to behave and being calm and controlled around them. You also need to remember that not all dogs want to play with other dogs (and that some owners don't want this too!). One of my Labs has no interest in playing with other dogs and she can get a bit snappy if she is bugged by dogs that want to play, she sees them as a nuisance, so I tend to not encourage too much contact and keep walking by.

Let us know how you get on, I do hope you get things sorted as you will be rewarded with a wonderful companion.

Jackie x

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by JohnR » 25 Sep 2016, 09:28

Thanks for the input Jackie. - What you say is pretty much what I thought myself but it's nice to be reassured. - I've contacted a local dog trainer who seems well qualified and experienced and is also recommended by my vet. He is coming to visit and assess my dog on Tuesday and will bring his own dogs with him. After that, a recommended training programme, probably involving classes with other dogs, will be implemented. - The future is bright.

John

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by Lins » 25 Sep 2016, 09:43

Wishing you all the success in the world John, I'm sure you'll get there with patience and determination. :2362:
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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by jackie » 25 Sep 2016, 10:32

Sounds an excellent plan John, hope all works out for you.

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by Glenys » 25 Sep 2016, 14:37

John is he from our rescue ?

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by JohnR » 26 Sep 2016, 17:39

Hi Glenys,.

Half and half I suppose. From Cyprus via Hope 2 Hounds and collected from Carol at Preston.

John

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by jackie » 26 Sep 2016, 21:31

JohnR wrote:Hi Glenys,.

Half and half I suppose. From Cyprus via Hope 2 Hounds and collected from Carol at Preston.

John
Ah that explains a lot more........he will have been through a lot in his life and clearly he will be very unsure of what is going on, lot of patience and time with this lad to give him confidence and trust again.

Jackie x

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by JoanG » 27 Sep 2016, 08:01

I think you are doing everything right i.e. Recommended dog trainer and then training classes I also think that some dogs when meeting others when they are on lead start barking etc because they know they can't get away and are trying to make sure that nothing bad is going to happen to them. I'm sure your dog will have been happily running round with other dogs he knew in the Cyprus pound but suddenly meeting strange dogs while on lead, with a new owner, in a new country will be a new experience for him.

As Jackie said be calm and try to ignore the bad behaviour and only massively praise the good stuff.

Best of luck I'm sure things will sort themselves out.
Joan and George x

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by JohnR » 02 Oct 2016, 08:38

Hi Joan,

Thanks for the advice. - Still working on the problem and no sign of resolution yet but I'll persevere. He seems to pick up other commands pretty quickly but this is a 'sticker.'

We had a 'one to one' assessment a few days ago with my chosen dog trainer and he made a comment I had never even thought of as follows: -

A problem like this can SOMETIMES, (not always), be caused when a neutered dog meets an entire dog. The entire dog does nor get the standard smell it normally expects from a male or a female dog. Consequently it can be confused as to what it is confronting. Because the entire dog is on a lead and 'flight' is not an option it therefore adopts an aggressive 'fight' or 'threat' posture. This is communicated to the neutered dog who responds the same way. This happens so quickly owners do not realise what is happening and assume their dogs are being aggressive to each other for no apparent reason. - If this is the case my dog may not necessarily have a problem, the real problem is with some of those other dogs he encounters. - An interesting hypothesis. - Anyway, doggie school and interaction with other dogs begins next week.

John

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by Lins » 02 Oct 2016, 17:29

That would never have crossed my mind John............interesting.

Good luck next week, I will be looking forward to updates.
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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by Joe + Hilary » 03 Oct 2016, 00:18

Wishing you good luck with dog school etc. (and to hearing how you got on. Your last post was v. interesting.

Hilary, Rowley & Douma

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by JoanG » 03 Oct 2016, 13:32

That's interesting John. I definitely think that a lot of owners don't pick up on their dog's body language, and growling doesn't mean an aggressive dog, often one just saying back off buddy you're in my face and I don't like it. We meet two unneutured male labs who are full of testosterone and want to hump George and he is NOT having it, he sounds like a Rottie when he tells them off but there's no biting involved just noise and teeth bareing.

George is a gentle giant but is a bit of a wuss with big dogs, at the advance obedience classes we go to a large American Bulldog cross started and it took a bit of time before George was happy in his company. Also at the class there was a border collie who Definitely didn't like George and George would always make a detour round the room rather than have to pass close by him. Some dogs just don't take to one another.

Good luck, I go to training classes with George because we both enjoy them and I've seen many dogs come with all sorts of behaviour but if you keep calm, keep attending and practice at home so the dog learns to focus on you you should end up with a dog you can take anywhere.
Joan and George x

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by JohnR » 07 Oct 2016, 08:57

Hi Guys,
Jay, (previously MJ), went to his first lesson at doggie school last night. There were 10 dogs there of various ages and ranging from small terriers to a German Shepherd. Jay demonstrated his usual aggressiveness to some of the dogs but not all and they responded the same way. In fairness to him he was not always the one to instigate these confrontations. Anyway, towards the end of the session the trainer asked all the other owners to stand in a line and allow Jay to walk closely along the front of the line, round the back of it. and then weave between them without bothering the other dogs. - Jay did this exercise successfully several times.

We all then formed 2 lines facing each other and walked our dogs towards and passed our opposite partners without the dogs demonstrating any interest in each other. - A simulation of dogs walking towards each other on the street. - Again, Jay did this successfully.

A full on lesson which showed Jay really can curb his aggression. - Now we have a week to practice at home before lesson 2.

John

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Re: Socialisation Techniques

Post by JoanG » 07 Oct 2016, 18:06

Well done Jay :1951: that's a really positive start.

Keith that's a brilliant first lesson, I think if you keep up the lessons he's going to learn to accept other dogs really quickly, he sounds like a quick learner too. Going to training classes (which George enjoys as much as me) has developed such a bond Between George and me and gives him real mental stimulation. Also because our lessons are fun, rather than ultra serious, he's enjoying an hour of using his brain without even knowing it.
Joan and George x

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