Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Proper Way To Socialize Puppy?

by Heather
(Pittsburgh)

I have a 3 month old Mini Aussie and need advice on socializing. He is ok with people but scared of other dogs. I found a dog park near our house and have started taking him there. When other dogs come up to him he curls his butt down and tries to hide behind or between my legs or tries to climb them. What is the proper way to respond and get him more relaxed?

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Socialize puppy
by: jcrply

You will probably hear from a lot of people who love dog parks, but here's a reply from someone who does not. I tried them but had too many unpleasant and some even dangerous experiences, so now I avoid them. If you know someone with a nice calm dog, plan visits with that person and dog. Puppy classes are very helpful, especially if you can find one that allows some off-leash playtime. This is a safe, controlled environment. Walking in a downtown area allows for safe interaction with other people and dogs and exposes the pup to new sounds and surfaces. Check meetup.com to see if there are any puppy playgroups in your area that meet at members' houses specifically for socializing pups. If there are not any, maybe you could start one.

Too much too soon
by: Anonymous

Your dog is telling you that he is afraid. It's probably overwhelming for him, much the same as if you were forced to go into a room full of spiders and they started crawling on you.

You need to build up his confidence in other areas so that he has a solid foundation of experiences unrelated to the park. Teaching him to target is one way, but don't teach him at the park. In fact, don't take him to the park until his confidence has improved.

There are hundreds of suggestions in Puppy Socialization -- An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness which you can get here as a Kindle book or here as a paperback.

Good luck!

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