Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab? (UPDATE on 11-14)
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Thread: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab? (UPDATE on 11-14)

  1. #1
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultAny suggestions on socializing an adult Lab? (UPDATE on 11-14)

    We have a weekly LabFest (Saturdays, 2-3 PM, Topeka, KS) at which we have 2 to 13 Labs attending to play and socialize.

    Recently I met Beverly, a woman who's newly moved here with her Lab, Pearl. Puff and I met with them for an hour or so one afternoon and I showed her our summer LabFest location plus we and our Labs walked some of the trails in the nearby nature preserve. Pearl & Puff got along okay -- not instantly best buds with a lot of playing, but sociable enough.

    Last Saturday, Beverly & Pearl came for the first time to our group and we had about 7 dogs. Pearl acted defensively and aggressive, continually snarling and snapping at other dogs. I think she might have been overwhelmed and possibly frightened at being around so many dogs. She had to leave after about 10 minutes of trying to settle her but with repeating incidents (no injuries).

    I'm thinking of maybe bringing my fabric collapsible crate and suggesting to Beverly that she bring some bedding Pearl is familiar with so that she can let Pearl stay inside the crate with the door open, giving Pearl the freedom to come out when/if she wishes. Or we can zip the door shut if Pearl tries to come out and be aggressive -- on the possibility that repeated exposure to the other dogs might reduce her anxiety.

    Any reasons not to try that?

    Any other suggestions to try?

    We've occasionally had other Labs attend in the past which have never learned to play with other dogs. I remember one which was not aggressive and I think he wanted very much to play with others but didn't know how -- he just barked at the others as if saying, "play with me, now, I want to play, too" but he didn't know how to act or what to do. It was sad and his owner stopped coming after a few weeks.
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab?

    Bob if she's crate trained that might be a good idea. It couldn't hurt to try anyway.

    Maybe if Pearl likes to play fetch Beverly could play fetch with her to get her to relax into the area a bit and distract her? I know the first couple of times I took Billie to the DP I played a lot of fetch with her to get her used to the area, and keep her focused on the fact that she didn't HAVE to be in the middle of all the dogs. She's ball obsessed though. It wasn't too hard to get her attention once I had the chuk-it out. ;D

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab?

    I'd start her with one other labrador that isn't interested in rough housing. Get them to take turns fetching, or just let them explore and wander about. Then one more, laid back dog can be added.

    I don't think a crate will really help much -as the other dogs will be curious about it, and her, and she may feel confined and trapped, and thus more defensive

    Is she spayed?

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab?

    kaytris asked:
    Is she spayed?
    No, she isn't -- sorry, I meant to include that since it might be a factor. (Puff is spayed as are all of our other females.)

    BillieIsMyKid, yes, she does fetch but isn't obesessed about it. A few of our Labs ARE obsessed and compete (non-aggressively)

    BTW, I sent you a PM with my e-mail asking you to contact me so I can give you the location of our winter LabFests. Very easy to get to from the turnpike, I-70. If you didn't get it (look at the first line below Hello, BillieIsMyKid at the top of the page) let me know and I'll send it again.


    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    HersheyK's Dad's Avatar
    HersheyK's Dad is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab?

    So were the others dogs already there when you arrived, or were you the first?

    HK is definitely accustomed to dog parks and lots of other dogs. I know she reacts differently, especially on arrival, if she is met by a bunch of other dogs (3 or more) verses 1 or 2.

    You might try getting there early enough such that you are first, and let the others arrive as they normally would. This dog would then be a greeter rather than a greetee??
    Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.

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    DefaultRe: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab?

    Sounds like fear aggression, especially if she did okay with the one on one. Was she leashed? If so, that makes them even more fearful. I like the fetch idea...try not to let her be overtaken by so many dogs at once.

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    DefaultRe: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Pr.
    kaytris asked:
    Is she spayed?
    No, she isn't -- sorry, I meant to include that since it might be a factor. (Puff is spayed as are all of our other females.)

    BillieIsMyKid, yes, she does fetch but isn't obesessed about it. A few of our Labs ARE obsessed and compete (non-aggressively)

    BTW, I sent you a PM with my e-mail asking you to contact me so I can give you the location of our winter LabFests. Very easy to get to from the turnpike, I-70. If you didn't get it (look at the first line below Hello, BillieIsMyKid at the top of the page) let me know and I'll send it again.


    Thanks Bob...I sent you an email but I guess you didn't get it. I'll send it again right now.

  10. #8
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab?

    The other dogs might be reacting to her, being a bit more 'pushy' in sniffing hello, and she might be more sensitive to approaches because she's not spayed - those out there with unspayed females might be able to advise more, but hormones often trigger all kinds of behaviour, good and bad.

    I'd encourage her to have one on one time with selected dogs, or keep her dog off to one side playing fetch or whatever.

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Any suggestions on socializing an adult Lab?

    Endofile said:
    So were the others dogs already there when you arrived, or were you the first?....You might try getting there early enough such that you are first, and let the others arrive as they normally would. This dog would then be a greeter rather than a greetee??
    Thanks to all of you for your ideas. I'll see if Beverly is willing to try any of them with Pearl.

    BillieIsMyKid -- I sent you an e-mail with directions. Send me an e-mail or call me when you're coming.
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  12. #10
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultUPDATE/explanation

    I sent Beverly a link to this thread and offered to help try out any of the suggestions she'd wish to try. She sent back an e-mail that contained this:

    I checked out the justlab website....Well, the problem with Pearl is that she came into heat a couple days after our last encounter. Call it PMS or whatever, I guess that she just wasn't in the mood to play...So we're going to sit out 4-6 weeks and then we'll try it again.

    Thought that might well explain much of Pearl's behavior.
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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