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Define True Socialisation for me

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by grandad, Apr 26, 2011.


  1. grandad

    grandad PetForums VIP

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    I have in my mind, what I believe is True Socialisation and spent those informative weeks for the young dog (8 - 16) and beyond getting him through all the scenarios I could think of. I think it has been so beneficial and I'm really glad I did it.
    Now the pup is getting on for 3.5 years old and he copes with everything.
    How about you? Do you believe you did it right?
     
  2. ballybee

    ballybee PetForums VIP

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    I would say i've done a good job, Tummel reacts to new things by cocking his head and watching/smelling them(if possible), yesterday he watched 3 trains go past at close range and did nothing, i can only think it's because he's so used to hearing farm machines going nearby all day. He's been brilliant around everything i've thrwn at him, on Sunday we went to a dog showm sat right beside the ring and did Tummel make any effort to greet the dogs in the ring? no, although there were a few who ran out the ring to see him he only greeted dogs outside the ring.

    So not meaning to sound boastful but yes, i'd say i've socialised my dog to a high level :)
     
  3. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    Interesting topic Grandad, was actually pondering it myself this morning.

    I think that 'true' socialisation is going out of your way to ensure that your puppy experiences as many different sights / sounds / smells / types of people as possible certainly from 8-12 weeks but continuing for the first year of his life.

    I approached it quite methodically really and put a lot of effort in and (so far) believe that it is paying off. I am lucky in that Kilo comes to work with me so meets a lot of strange people and dogs day in, day out, plus we can hear firing on the ranges, tanks go past us etc etc.

    I spent a lot of time sat outside the supermarket, making sure we walked past school when it is breaktime / children come out as we don't have children so was conscious that this would be a 'weak' area. Also just lots of days out at various events and places. Popping into the vets for a treat / sit in the waiting room, short car journeys ending in something positive (it was very important I cracked that due to travelling to work). Now the weather is so beautiful it is a pleasure.

    I must admit that I have had to force myself to undergo some socialisation too...I prefer to walk / run / cycle around in the countryside and not to venture into town unless pressed but I made the effort so that Kilo was used to passing people / prams / dogs in close proximity.

    If you have even got this far I think that the way to approach it (and any training) is to decide what it is you want / expect from your dog ie the end product, then work back from that until you know what it is you need to do to achieve that.
     
  4. hairydog

    hairydog PetForums Member

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    Me too, all my dogs are well socialised, did stupid things, ie jumping out on them, opening /closing big umbrellas, taking them where there are bird scarers so they wont be scared of fireworks, i had 1 dog that was-nightmare!!! Walked through busy towns, carried them up woods with other dog, up to lakes where ther are loads of noisy geese, window cleaners, tried most things -i hope i did a good job, Max is not scared of anything, and Rolo-just 10mnths is well adjusted.;);)
     
  5. rona

    rona Guest

    Didn't get mine until he was 20 months, he has huge gaps in his socialization and can still react to certain things, usually fear based
     
  6. I did a fantastic job with the socialiation, my youngest is nigh on bombproof! anything she is faced with does not faze her in the slightest she is nigh on bombproof!

    However! I did make one stonking massive mistake! From her being 4 month of age to nine months she were with me constantly in one room, sleeping, eating, everything (some of you may remember I was at the coast in a van for the season when we first got her). Not saying she suffers SA I can and do leave her alone without any problems, BUT she will panic when she cannot see me and goes mad to get to me!
     
  7. Irish Setter Gal

    Irish Setter Gal PetForums Senior

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    I made a list for the pup which ran as follows:
    Train ride, lift ride, town, bicycles, joggers, articulated lorries,cars, motorcycles, dustbin/recycling collectors, postman, car ride, van ride, workshop tools and spray gun, water, different surfaces grass/concrete/paving/pebbles/gravel/wooden flooring, bridges, gunfire, children (babies through to youngsters), shopping precinct, prams, sitting outside cafe's/pubs and the list went on and on.

    Somebody should write a tick sheet for new owners because I know I have missed one if not 10's off and won't know it until faced with a potential issue... and then you think "where did that come from", and add it to the next dogs list.

    Last on the list was meeting other dogs in different scenarios, didn't rate too highly on my socialisation scale. I find that a lot of 'pink n fluffies' think the word socialisation means letting your dog play with other dogs and that's the job done.
     
  8. Helbo

    Helbo PetForums VIP

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    I know I did a good job. It was a lot of work but as you say, worth it.

    Charlie doesn't react badly to anything - fireworks, car horns, cyclists, busses doing that annoying loud breaks hissing, crowds, cats...not even toddlers pulling his ears or being too rough.

    He takes everything in his stride, and anything new he comes across he just likes to sit and watch it for a while, then the next time he just walks past or ignores whatever it is.

    It's rather frightening. He will let anyone do pretty much anything to him and give them a big kiss afterwards. No wonder Beagles were/are popular for animal testing :(
     
  9. grandad

    grandad PetForums VIP

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    I Like the idea of a check list :)
     
  10. shells

    shells PetForums VIP

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    i only had buster in january and he is 4yrs old. he is fab in the car and on the bus and going through the town etc however he was never socialised regarding animals he is agresive towards dogs and over exited with cats and birds however hes ok with my chooks and cats when they go near him he just cries as he wants to play love him.
     
  11. grandad

    grandad PetForums VIP

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    Perhaps the socialsiaton period from 8 - 16 weeks is the most important and continuing the socialisation on and into the first year is also, just as important as the young dog grows into adulthood
     
  12. Sausagedog

    Sausagedog PetForums Newbie

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    Aha! Well I had my pup from 8 weeks and we spent much time before 16 weeks sat outside a grocery shop with a layby where lorries and vans would park and strange men would get out. We waited in the park for joggers and cyclists to pass at close range, I have taken my pup in and out of her crate before she had finished her jabs to school playground at home-time, kids clubs, daily trips in the car, along train tracks, to shopping centres, through town, by busy roads distracted by squeaky toys, under bridges, over bridges, you name it, puppy play dates with my friends puppy in an enclosed garden.......

    And the end result? My pup is still nervous and easily overwhelmed! She is fine with cyclists and joggers and all kinds of adults but children and dogs continue to freak her out. I think she is actually worse since she had her first season (is now 10months). In retrospect it is not necessarily enough to simply expose pups to new things, it needs to be controlled according to the response of the dog. I think my pup has acted overly submissive when I thought she was OK because her tail was wagging. My tick list doesn't seem to have been enough for my pup, I think there may be more to socialisation for some pups. I only know this now in retrospect.

    But we are working on it though!

    Sausage Dog
    x
     
  13. Helbo

    Helbo PetForums VIP

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    Yes - you have to be careful with socialisation.

    You need to make all exposure to things positive experiences, as well as keeping in mind to only go as fast as your puppy can cope with.

    All pups are different and some would need to see a jogger from across a field for example and work up to going closer day by day before being comfortable enough to have one pass them, others come across them straight away and don't care.
     
  14. London Dogwalker

    London Dogwalker PetForums Senior

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    I think socialisation is an ongoing process and never really stops. :)

    Puppy socialisation is very important and I wish that more people actually looked at position statements by official veterinary bodies rather than blindly follow what the Vet said because that's what the vaccine makers told him. :rolleyes:

    Get your pup out there and enjoying the world, the risk of your pup catching disease is far outweighed by the behavioural advantages of good early socialisation. :cool:
     
  15. lucylastic

    lucylastic PetForums VIP

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    I believe that socialisation is ongoing throughout a dog's life. The period up to 16 weeks is often described as the critical period because that is when pups are most impressionable to new experiences. As they get older they take progressively longer to habituate to new experiences. Not impossible by any means to socialise an older dog, but definitely takes a lot more time and effort and careful planning. A check list for a puppy is a good idea but can be equally useful for older dogs. My dog spent her critical socialisation period and far beyond it, in rescue kennels, and the effect of that is still evident 3 years later. Is she a lost cause? No! definitely not. Her lack of early socialisation is still very evident at times but I never stop working at it.
     
  16. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    That is my opinion. I think far too many people work hard at socialisation up to 16 weeks then think 'job done', neglect it and encounter problems later.
     
  17. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    One issue with habituating to the new experiences, is the tie in with fear periods. You can follow advice and still end up needing to do counter-programming, after the 16 weeks stage.

    Again on socialisation, quality of experience matters, both playful dogs and dog loving people can act counter-productively.

    The spring born pups have it easier I feel, as there's more puppies and activity about in the open, than in winter, so there's more opportunities and more experiences available to them.
     
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