The questions from me just keep coming... 18 week old Ella has not been in the car much except for vet visits. So she hadn't been in the car since she was about 13 weeks. I tried to take her somewhere yesterday and she was pretty frightened to get in or out. I tried enticing her with a treat but she would not climb in or out. Needless to say, I do not look forward to picking her up and putting her in when she weighs 70 pounds. She also will not go up stairs or anywhere near the pool even though we gave her a small splash pool when we got her at 8 weeks.
I know all of these are socializing behaviors and should have been accomplished by about 8 weeks. Can we still socialize her to these behaviors and if so, HOW!!!????? She has a very even tempered personality... she knows what she wants and is not agressive but assertive and is not a nervous dog. However, ??? she is very nervous when we get in the pool and won't come near it. I have tried enticing with treats with all of these things I have asked of her but she will not budge.
She is still young, Jager did that when he was about the same age, she will grow out of it especially when the bond between you 2 has grown full size, maybe trust issues, maybe she doesn't have enough experience with those environments right now to be fully comfortable. What ever her reasons, at some point she will realize she wants to be with you. Time!
Your puppy may seem "all grown up" to you, but remember it's a big, new world for her with unfamiliar things around every corner. Give her time to adjust and expect her to need gentle encouragement and reassurance at many, many new experiences now and yet to come. You're doing great by encouraging her, keep up the good work. It's almost never "too late" to get a dog comfortable with a new situation. Just give her plenty of time and space to find her comfort zones.
Everyone expects a lab to run into the lake and swim at the first glance of water, but it didn't happen that way for my Piper. She was almost 2 years old before she discovered the joy of swimming, not due to lack of chances. She was just intimidated. It took many, many hikes to the lake (no swimming, her choice) and lots of playing in the sprinkler and baby pool and jumping in puddles before she caught the "water bug". Now you can barely hold her back. Ella will get it, all in good time. Take joy in sharing the things she loves right now. Don't get all bound up in the "shoulds" of socialization, just keep plugging along at her pace.
As a puppy Hershey didn't like going in the car at first either but I was able to take her with me quite often and it got to where if she knew that I was leaving to go somewhere--she was right there wanting to go too. When she was really little I would pick her up and put her in the car and when it was time for her to get back out I would squat down outside the car, next to the seat, so that she could use my lap for a step stool. It wasn't long before she was hopping in and out by herself.
When I first picked up murphy from the breeder, he was excited, and running around the truck checking everything out not even acknowledging he was in a moving car. Then the first vet visit came and he was scared and trembling the whole time. This lasted for a few rides to the vet, class, other places but then after about the 5th or 6th car ride, he doesnt mind it at all. he wont get into the car, I always have to pick him up, and he seems to rush to get out when the door opens, but he seems to enjoy checking everything out, and just sitting there looking out the window. I think you should just take ella in the car every couple of days just to get her used to it. Once she realizes that there is nothing to worry about she wont mind.
This might sound dumb but you might want to try to take her to places you know she is going to like for the next couple of weeks. ie get her in the car and take her to the local dog park or to play dates with other dogs or places like pet smart. Dogs will associate the car with going places fun and then want to go for rides atleast that is what we did for one of my cousins dogs and it worked really well. As for the water Nala is just now getting in and I plan on stealing my sisters lab who loves the water to teach her what to do. Nala gets in but can't figure out what to do so she just stands there. Hopefully a water lab will lead the way.