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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I need help. I've been a bad mom for the past 5 months or so. I lived in an apartment for some of those months and never got a chance to socialize Bear except for with the Beagle my ex-boyfriend had. I moved out of the apartment in Feb, and moved in with my mom who also has a beagle and a mix. Other than that, he really hasn't been around other dogs. I want to take him places, but I am afraid that he will not take well to it.

Am I overreacting or do I have reason to believe this? Extenuating circumstances (ie not having a car for a month or two, mom having cancer and Me trying to run the household, things like that) kind of prevented me from enrolling him in puppy classes or taking him to dog parks etc

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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It's never too late to enroll in class. And it's never too late to socialize.
 

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And it's never too late to socialize
I disagree with Dani and Brigetta's Mom. (Usually I agree with Dani but on this I must differ.)

There are "criticial periods" in the early development of dogs -- brief windows open during which certain social experiences with other dogs or people MUST occur or the dog will be ever deficient. (In later decades these have been called "sensitive periods" recognizing that some partial modifications can sometimes be made given enough practice.)

Scott & Fuller defined these periods in their EXCELLENT, MOST SIGNIFICANT OF ALL RESEARCH STUDIES ON DOGS EVER DONE OR EVER WILL BE (a 20? year longitudinal study on 5 dog breeds, "Genetics & the Social Behavior of Dogs"). IMO, it was so important because it --
-- was a major factor in helping sway Psychology from its obsession with Learning/Experience as being the primary influence of behavior
-- brought developmental phases into prominence in understanding behavior
-- contributed ENORMOUSLY to an understanding of how to raise puppies during their first 6 months of life

I think there's a good (but not guaranteed) possibility that your Lab's experience with the Beagle may have helped him gain some socialization skills that MAYBE can be drawn on to expand the capacity for socialization.

Let me quote from S&F:

"In the period of socialization there are two basic rules for producing a well-balanced and well-adjusted dog. The first of these is that the ideal time to produce a close social relationship between a puppy and his master occurs between 6 and 8 weeks of age. This is the optimal time to remove a puppy from the litter and make it into a house pet. If this is done earlier, especially at 4 weeks or before, the puppy has little opportunity to form close relationships with other dogs. It will form close relaionships with people but may have difficulty adjusting to its own kind even in mating or caring for puppies. On the other hand, if primary socialization with people is put off to a much later period (the outside limit being about 12 weeks), the social relationship with other dogs may be very good ....[providing the puppy has had those socialization experiences]....but he will tend to be timid and lack confidence with people.

Since S&F's monumental work, later studies have defined the phases/periods slightly better but the overall pattern has withstood the test of 50+ years of scientific scrutiny and been validated.

Of all people, I should have known of this before buying Bess at 5 weeks age. I was the graduate lab instructor for comparative psychology and my principle professor for my PhD was a comparative psychologist. I'd been very excited by the work of Tinbergen, Lorenz, von Frisch, Hess, and Scott & Fuller. BUT 5 years later, when it came to buying a Lab pup, Bess, none of that registered.

Bess DID have a little relation with another dog in our home when she was about 6 months old but "Jumper" (a Boxer mix) met an untimely death collding with a car after several months.

But for the rest of her life, Bess never played with other dogs or expressed interest in them. She totally ignored them and I'm quite sure she thought she was a person and that dogs (other than Bess) were an alien species.

Currently, at our weekly Saturday afternoon LabFests (2-3 PM) altogether we've had maybe 40-50 Labs trickle through.

Those Labs which have NOT had early experiences with other pups during the proper phase for dog socialization do NOT know HOW to play with other Labs. Typically they stand around and bark at other Labs -- as if asking "play with ME?" -- but they don't know how to engage with the other.

IF the dog has not had the proper socialization experiences during the desired critical times then remedial experiences AFTER those phases may help some/a little but never will be as effective as those experienced within the proper phases.
 

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Yes, they say there are critical periods in the development of dogs. Here was my experience, though, for what it's worth to you:

We had to wait for a puppy class until mine was 16 weeks (about 4 mos). The only other dog mine had any contact with was our daughter's boxer, up until that time. He'd follow her around, and play, when she allowed it. ;) During puppy classes, he was around the other puppies once a week for the 1-2 hours the class lasted.

After the 6-8 weeks of puppy classes, he wasn't around any other dogs for some months. But since about the age of 1 year or so, he plays with the two neighbor dogs most days, and when he's around other dogs, plays great. He's always played with these dogs just as labs do, bitey face and all.

He has a great, friendly, playful temperament with all dogs he meets. So even though yours may be getting a late start, he may do fine.
 

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I suggest you look for socialble, friendly dogs (Labs being the first but not the only candidates) and let your Lab play with them.

Then judge what's needed from those experiences.
 

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Bob, I love ya, and my experience has also proven otherwise.

The example of the breeding kennel that we got all of those dogs from last year....17 of them. Lived their lives in kennels. Only had contact with the owners of the kennel. Only time they had contact with each other was through the chain fence inbetween the runs or when they were put together for breeding.

All of them very afraid of collars, leashes, and lots of activities. Of the 17, we had to put down 3 for beyond modification fear and aggressiveness. 2 (including Tatum) are still working through issues of being extremely shy. The remaining 11 dogs are all well socialized house dogs now. They are great around other dogs, kids and people.

While I don't know it's possible to do this with all dogs, I saw it happen in this case and several other foster cases. Just my experience.
 

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Do you not meet dogs on your walks? I don't see why you cannot go to any parks (even if its' not completely fenced in and you need to keep your pup on a long leash) or classes?

What about going to your vet's? Not for an apt but I'm sure they would not mind you going and just sitting in the waiting room.

I live in an apt and have no car. But we meet lots of dogs on our walks. I had to cab to some classes last summer but did manage to find at least an obedience class that was a 20min walk.

For flyball Rocky could not handle the long roller blade there (and then actually running in the class) so I cabbed. After awhile I was able to hitch a ride back home. Now I have a steady ride for flyball. The only reason I was able to get these contacts was going the extra mile and spending the money the first two classes (either walking to or cabbing to and from)
 

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Bob Pr. said:
Let me quote from S&F:
"In the period of socialization there are two basic rules for producing a well-balanced and well-adjusted dog. The first of these is that the ideal time to produce a close social relationship between a puppy and his master occurs between 6 and 8 weeks of age. This is the optimal time to remove a puppy from the litter and make it into a house pet. If this is done earlier, especially at 4 weeks or before, the puppy has little opportunity to form close relationships with other dogs. It will form close relaionships with people but may have difficulty adjusting to its own kind even in mating or caring for puppies. On the other hand, if primary socialization with people is put off to a much later period (the outside limit being about 12 weeks), the social relationship with other dogs may be very good ....[providing the puppy has had those socialization experiences]....but he will tend to be timid and lack confidence with people.
I do agree with this, and believe this to be an ideal situation. However, I still believe that it is possible for a dog to gain socialization skills at later times in their lives. It is a lot of work in some cases and may not come as easily to them.
Brigetta, for expample was found at about 14 weeks, from what I've been able to find out, she was living on her own in the complex for about two weeks. Before that, who knows. She was afraid of everything. I started introducing her to dogs slowly. My own dog first of course, then my sister's, then I took her to a daycare at about 5 1/2-6 months (only after talking extensively to the owner (who also runs a rescue) about Brigetta's situation). I would never put a dog without socialization into that situation without someone with experience there to help. They introduced her to one dog at a time and told me that at first she didn't really know what to do. Over time she came out of her shell and now her favorite thing is being around other dogs. For months I looked for a trainer that had a background with dogs like Brigetta. I started basic training at home myself. Eventually I started corresponding with a trainer who works with national and local rescues, founded a Delta Society affiliate group in our area and served as the President of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Brigetta was 10 months before she began classes. I will be the first to admit that Brigetta has a long, long way to go. But as far as socialization with other dogs, she does beautifully now. People are a little more of a challenge, but she has come far in that area as well. This is just my personal experience.
 

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Labs, although being a breed with common characteristics, nevertheless has many individuals showing remarkably different properties.

For example, while most AKC Labs are gluttons, my Puff self-regulates the amount of food she eats. Most Labs (like ducks) take instantly to water; my Puff had to be gradually trained to swim. Most Labs are exceptionally friendly and sociable with people; my Puff (sadly) is more shy and skittish.

My point is that there are a LOT of differences within a breed.

I'm DELIGHTED for any/every exception to the early experience rule and sad for each confirmation.

But I would not abandon the rule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tanya said:
Do you not meet dogs on your walks? I don't see why you cannot go to any parks (even if its' not completely fenced in and you need to keep your pup on a long leash) or classes?
No we don't meet many other dogs, as I have moved in with my mother to take care of her, it is in a neighborhood in which if you have dogs, you either tie them out, or have a large fenced yard so the owner's don't have to walk them.
What about going to your vet's? Not for an apt but I'm sure they would not mind you going and just sitting in the waiting room.
I haven't found a vet I like yet, mostly we are going to the mobile clinic that we have that does shots/ checkups. He doesn't do well there, since the other dogs seem to lean toward aggressive behavior.

I live in an apt and have no car. But we meet lots of dogs on our walks. I had to cab to some classes last summer but did manage to find at least an obedience class that was a 20min walk.
I live in the "country" We don't live in town, but not in the sticks, and there are a couple of places, but I have not had time to fully research them while working full-time and taking care of mom/household that also includes my dad, sister and grandfather, plus 2 other dogs.
For flyball Rocky could not handle the long roller blade there (and then actually running in the class) so I cabbed. After awhile I was able to hitch a ride back home. Now I have a steady ride for flyball. The only reason I was able to get these contacts was going the extra mile and spending the money the first two classes (either walking to or cabbing to and from)

Like I said, he got along fine with my ex's dog, and gets along fine with the 2 here.. There are 2 dogs, whose owner's we know, who have gotten loose a time or two and have come over. He hasn't had a problem with them either. Now that I think about it, most of the time he is ever "aggressive" is if he is on leash and another dog starts growling/barking like at the vet, or if some thing/one unknown comes along.. I bet he would be fine off leash at a park


Thanks guys :)
 
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