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Thread: Socializing Dogs

  1. #1
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Socializing Dogs

    I am hoping someone here can give me some pointers about my dogs. We recently moved from an area where we knew very few people and rarely had other people in the house. Our two dogs (one bulldog mix and one chihuahua mix) are sweet and lovable when it's just DH and I in the house, but when family arrives the dogs bark and growl. This scares the grandkids. What I'm hoping is that someone can give me some pointers about socializing older dogs so they'll be nice when we have company.
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    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    When we first got our Rottweiler, we took him to classes. These were puppy classes, but I would think they could have them for older dogs as well. Try calling the local vet, or check the phone book for places that have training classes.
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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    yes, this needs to be addressed quickly. when family visits for now, put the dogs elsewhere. Good luck. Things should work out but they do need to change. (())

  4. #4
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    I would have large cages to put them in for when company comes for now. If you can get them into obedience school do so. You just can't take a chance with children and dogs that are protecting their territory.

  5. #5
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    It will be well worth your while, to enroll the dogs (with you and your DH attending) in an obedience class. Something's we inadvertently reinforce negative behavior.

    In the meantime, read up on NILIF (Nothing in Life Is Free) dog training. It's a very dog-friendly way, to establish your alpha position.
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  6. #6
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Also if you have any dog parks in your area where they can run free with other dogs, it really helps them with other dogs and their owners.

  7. #7
    Super Member Cam's gram's Avatar
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    Classes would help meanwhile, keep a collar or harness on them and when someone comes, hook up a leash. When the start barking at the person, turn them around and walk them away. Wait a minute and then go back. If they bark repeat. Our dachshund got out of control and I started this. If DH was here I let him deal with whoever stopped. If I was by myself, after two tries and she doesn't behave, she is put in a bedroom. When she took the puppy classes, she didn't bark at people at the door. They tried to get her to bark but all she would do is look at the door and then at me. My son's dog taught her to bark at people when we were at the cottage after the classes were done. Think I'm taking her back this winter for training.

  8. #8
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    Training is the best option but if you can't get them there, try this. It's a matter of patience and understanding your dog. If your dog has some obedience training to start, then have them sit when the kids first come over. It's best to keep them on a lease so no accidents happen. Ask the kids to enter the house quietly and sit down. You might even try putting something you wear over the kids laps, so doggie smells you on the kids. Give the kids some dog treats and take the dogs to the children. Have the kids put out their hands, flat with a treat. If doggies learn that the kids are a source of goodies they might come to accept them as family. Never leave the children alone with the dogs. And remind the kids not to pull ears or tails and to have good manners around the dogs.
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    we put our rat terrier and min pin in their big walk around kennels in the basement because they don't quit barking. We have had kids mess with them so it is safer for dogs and kids to have them in kennels.

  10. #10
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I suggest finding a good trainer that specializes in behavior modification ... similar to what Cesar Millan does. Not just an ordinary dog obedience (and especially not the ones offered at pet stores). If the dogs do not react the same to people when away from your home, you might need a trainer willing to come to your home. Research the trainers credentials first. Below is a link of how to look for the right trainer.

    https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtu...fessional-help

    Hope this helps your dogs enjoy the whole family!
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    I hope things go differently for you, but I heard that dogs have to be socialized while a puppy. I didn't realize it, and pretty soon, he was too old. Although we tried, he never did get to the point of accepting anyone but us. We just put him in the bedroom when the kids' friends visited.

  12. #12
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    I agree with DogHouseMom. Since we don't know where you live, you could probably check with your local animal shelter. They deal with re-socializing animals all the time. My grandmother had a pekinese that hated my sisters and me. My grandfather hated the dog because it would come after the three of us. He never had patience for the animal so he would put it in the basement whenever we came over. Finally my grandmother got rid of it.

    I loved watching "The Dog Whisperer" show and I hope someone will be able to help you. Your family and the dogs will be much happier.

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    Our dogs bark like fools at anyone walking by and/or walking up to our front door. As soon as you get in the house they stop barking and are just very sniffy and want to be petted and recognized. While they are extremely friendly and just want to play and be recognized I don't like them being quite that forward with guests. 'Hello' is much calmer when the person is already in the house and the dogs are re-entering from the yard. It's a much quicker and calmer 'hello' for the guest at that point.

  14. #14
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thimblebug6000 View Post
    Also if you have any dog parks in your area where they can run free with other dogs, it really helps them with other dogs and their owners.
    No way would i let my dogs run free in a dog park. Too much risk to people and other dogs. How will you handle your dogs in a large group of strangers...canine and human? Nope.

    Yes, get into an obedience class. The class trains the HUMANS. Walk those dogs on lead. Perhaps have a dog owner friend come to visit and oractice the knocks on the door, etc. Your dogs sound dangerous to me. They are reacting fearfully which transfers to fearful humans. Get proffessional help, please.
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    Another thing to keep in mind if you do end up going to a dog park at some point....have them vaccinated for kennel cough. A lot of that going around here according to a friend of ours and the vet.

  16. #16
    Super Member MarionsQuilts's Avatar
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    Dog questions on a quilting site! I love it!!!! I've worked with dogs for years and years and years and have always had a huge passion for them.

    Couple of myths to dispell:
    - it is NEVER to late to resocialize a dog - it might just take longer
    - having your child give the dog food to accept the dog - NOPE - all you are teaching the dog is that child is willing to negotiate - come see me I'll give you a cookie ... THEN, what do you do when the child doesn't have a cookie and the dog goes up to child looking for one ... or worse ... the child is eating their cookie and the dog comes up and takes it because hey, that's what it's been taught.

    You don't necessarily need a behaviourist, but you definitely need to up the training.

    These dogs need a rock solid / bomb proof DOWN / STAY. By this I mean you put them in a down stay and they do not MOVE unless you tell them to ... you should be able to leave the room, leave the house (for a couple of minutes and come right back in) and they haven't budged.

    If you have tried this and it isn't really successful (i.e. the dogs break their stay all the time) use a new command called PLACE. Using a towel or a mat, and having the dog on leash, walk the dog over the mat until he is standing on it and say PLACE. Wait a couple of seconds - the dog should NOT be moving. Then walk off about 20 steps, and come back and do the same thing. Repeat this about 20-30 times in a row.

    Give the dog a 10-15 minute break - play with it, etc. Don't just ignore him.

    Next, bring the dog back to the mat (still on leash) and say place and wait for the dog to lie down. You might have to wait 1/2 an hour or just 2 minutes. When the dog lays down WAIT for him to exhale. You'll hear it LOL ... it's the dog saying I accept this - I am relaxed.

    Drop the leash and back away about 5 feet. Your dog should NOT move. If he does, a quick NO / eh eh to get him to lay back down, or walk back towards him. As soon as he lays down, back away again. Keep the dog in place for about a minute, go over pick up the leash and say let's go and walk away. Repeat this. (It won't take as long as the first time for the dog to lay down I promise).

    Keep doing this until you can increase the time to 10-15 minutes of the dog not moving and start leaving the room. I.e. if you're in the living room, go into the kitchen for about 30 seconds and come back in. The dog is NOT allowed to move. Correct and put back in position if he does.

    While working on the down / stay or place command and if the children are over, I would highly recommend one of two of things: crates in the room where the kids are so the dogs can see them, get their scent, watch everything that is going on, hear the noises, etc. OR if you can't crate, put them in another room. Having them on a harness / leash while the kids are in the same room, if they are hyper is NOT a good idea. Yes, the dogs are leashed, but you really can't control the dog 100% if the kids get too wound up and get too close to the dog's space.

    I have a working line German Shepherd who is 3.5 years old and I started the place command (to teach her that this is CALM and QUIET time outside of her crate) when she was 18 months old. It took me about a month to get her totally bomb proofed in this command. To the point, that I can put her in place on a towel in the front yard off leash, in front of squirrels, rabbits and running and screaming kids and she simply lays there and watches them. Sometimes she even sleeps.

    The whole concept for this is that while your dog is in the place command on their mat they are SAFE from anyone and everything. So you need to make sure that the kids understand that the dogs are in place, and they are NOT allowed to go near them, until you release them.

    It sounds like a lot of work, but once you get the hang of it after the first couple of days, it's a breeze!!!!

    I've done this with 8 month old puppies (took longer LOL) and a 10 year old dog aggressive dog (just last month). It took me 2 weeks to get the 10-year old dog to just lay there calmly in place while 15 other dogs walked within 5 feet of him. Three weeks before the training, this same dog had ripped the neck apart on another dog because it got too close to his space (which was a 20-foot radius!)

    Lots of luck, and remember the key thing when working with your dogs PATIENCE. Most people give in and crack because the dog will outwait them!!!!

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    First off, take the dogs on a leash where there are people who are not too close (like a park or a parking lot) and let them figure out that the people are not going to hurt them. At home put them in a kennel when strangers come. Let the kids talk to them but not touch them and then after they get used to that, give them small treats through the kennel door. This is going to take some time so don't rush it. Let the dogs tell you when they want to be closer to people. Don't scold or make a big fuss when they bark but quietly shhhh them. Get on the internet and look up tips for socializing dogs.

  18. #18
    Super Member RugosaB's Avatar
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    All I have to add, besides agreeing with the crate idea, is if you end up putting them in another room, put them in a crate in there.
    Dogs can get in distress if put somewhere away from where they want to be, and make a mess or destroy things they can reach.

    (maybe this is basenji only advice)

    More advice maybe 'only basenjis'
    I would never leave the dogs with the kids, no matter how well trained. You may not get prefect behavior from the kids or dogs, every time, and keeping them separated would avert any disaster.
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    When we adopted our dogs, we introduced them to the rest of the family at the park. Neutral ground. I took no treats. Their reward was a hug and good pat on the back and nothing but encouragement. We spent about 2 hours. When we got home they all went out to the far end of the yard and found their "business" area. The new one was actually escorted. When the new one was introduced to anyone else he followed the others example. Guests were always forewarned about the new arrival and new how to "behave". Our dogs have never been allowed to jump on anyone. I hate when I go to a friends house and they still allow their dogs to jump on guests. They don't do it to me though. They know what will happen. All I have to do is say "NO" and Hello, Ladies". I can't stand dogs or cats jumping on people or furniture. Sorry not allowed on my furniture. When they meet children, I instruct the children not to look them in the eye. I have the dogs onleash when they are first introduced. I often kennel my dogs when we get anyone with children. Parents don't know how to make them behave. ANother thing, you had better let me know if you're bringing your pet. DO NOT surprise me. You will be directed to go some where else.

  20. #20
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    when I went to my friend's house they would say they weren't sure why the ladies didn't jump on me. I told them I just brought my knee up to their chest to stop them. I never hurt them I just stopped them and they knew not to jump. I got tired of torn pants and scratches on my legs with bruising and muddy pants.

  21. #21
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neesie View Post
    It will be well worth your while, to enroll the dogs (with you and your DH attending) in an obedience class. Something's we inadvertently reinforce negative behavior.

    In the meantime, read up on NILIF (Nothing in Life Is Free) dog training. It's a very dog-friendly way, to establish your alpha position.
    "Something's"??? What the heck does that mean? I meant to write SOMETIMES!
    Neesie


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    Marionsquilts....excellent information......going to have my daughter/weim work on PLACE

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    You can teach an old dog new tricks! Yes, get some professional help and like everything else in life, practice makes perfect. Training a dog is very time consuming and it takes a lot of patience from the owners. Be consistent, even when you're tired or it's raining outside. Put the leash on and go for the walk, practice the commands that you want your dog to obey and you get the dog to behave the way you want it to be. Think about all the things service dogs can do. Your dogs can be trained to do cool things also.

  24. #24
    Super Member MarionsQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geri B View Post
    Marionsquilts....excellent information......going to have my daughter/weim work on PLACE
    GerriB - it is an amazing training tool!!!! It does take lots of work and TONS of patience, but the benefits are unbelievable.

    For people with those super hyper dogs that never seem to calm down, this is the best command ever!!!!! (And, yes, I have one of those, which is why place is such an important part of Kyleigh's life LOL)

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    I have a lhasa opsa and a yorkie and I am taking care of my DD's 3 cats (I feel like I live at a zoo). Whenever my DGS's come over, one is 14 but the other one is 6 and as soon as they hear his voice, every single animal disappears, it's like the Bermuda Triangle. What's sad is people want to hide from him. He is sooooo active and never sits down. Last night my DD gave him his bath and put him to bed at 9:00. My Son In law woke up at 1:00 a.m. and my DGS was playing on his tablet and his Ipad.

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