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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bonnie recently turned 5 months old. About a week ago, we tried taking her to PetSmart, to learn about the kind of classes they offered.

Not fun, for her or me.

She was shy with the people (not terribly afraid or withdrawn, just a bit nervous), and mortified of other dogs. She spent most of the time hiding behind me because of dogs running up to her and scaring her to pieces.

I was wondering if anyone knew of some good places to take a dog to socialize them with people, and maybe with other dogs. She is fine with calm, well-mannered dogs, and likes to play; but rude, young, unruly dogs terrify her.
 

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How come she is so fearful???? Did you just get her?

I wouldn't try anything to the magnitude of going to PetSmart or the like. Socialize her with other dogs that you know and trust to be good communicators with other dogs. Do this in a quiet and familiar place at first to minimize her stress level. Dont have her on leash for introductions but have the other dog on leash. This way she can "escape" and approach at her own comfort level. Slowly add more dogs in and in different environments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've had her for a month. All of the dogs she has met so far have been relatively well-behaved or have been on-lead. She like play time with dogs who have manners. But in her old home, her brother and their owners JRT pretty much terrorized her. She's got scars on her nose and ears from them.

The dogs at Petsmart were all rude with no doggy-manners at all, and one was on an unlocked Flexi-lead so we had a hard time getting away. His owner just kept saying "He's friendly!" It was awful. I want to take her to meet people where she doesn't have to deal with that, and from now on until she's more confident, she'll only meet dogs I know can behave.
 

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My Popi is the same way, eventually she will come around, but when it comes to overly rambunctious dogs (especially big ones) she will usually hide behind me and beg for me to save her. She's gotten better over the years but she will never do a complete 180, and all of a sudden start running up to everyone.

You can have her be around a few new people or one new (prefferably calm) dog at a time. If possible don't give her 10mins with the new person/dog, let her have an hour+ to warm up to them. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My Popi is the same way, eventually she will come around, but when it comes to overly rambunctious dogs (especially big ones) she will usually hide behind me and beg for me to save her. She's gotten better over the years but she will never do a complete 180, and all of a sudden start running up to everyone.

You can have her be around a few new people or one new (prefferably calm) dog at a time. If possible don't give her 10mins with the new person/dog, let her have an hour+ to warm up to them. Just my two cents.
I agree. I'm not sure where to get a calm dog that she doesn't already know, though... She's met my neighbor's dog Chevy, my sister's dogs (one is pretty wild but she loved him anyways... I don't know why), a few of my mom's friends' dogs, and a very shy stray that's pretty much the whole neighborhood's dog. She was fine with most of them after a while, but now I've pretty much run out of dogs for her to meet.
 

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find some dogs that are calm and have
a play date (several) at your house. invite
lots of people to visit so they can treat and pet your dog.
you can also teach your dog how to greet people and dogs
when they visit.
 

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Many trainers in my area offer socialization classes. Some of them are on a drop-in basis, to ensure that you meet different dogs on different weeks.
 

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You could do some training classes as well as it sounds like she is lacking in all round confidence a bit. That way she can meet new dogs in a controlled environment and as you and she make other friends you can set up play dates together. Mine did her manners class 3 times, purely to keep her meeting new, different dogs.
 

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One thing is for certain, you need to work on it now before it gets worse! It's great that you've started....just need to take it to the next level.

Maybe have the dogs that she know well and gets along with to a quiet public park where no one else is at and have them "unexpectedly" meet each other. Make sure their greeting is correct and polite. Remember that you as the person can radiate a lot of emotion down through the leash....I really recommend the book to any dog owner:

The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs:Amazon:Books

I would definitely take your dog to a trainer/behaviorist now while she's still young and impressionable and more open to learning new things. It would be good to get a behaviorists opinion because they can tell you exactly what is going on and how to fix it. Sometimes people have the best intentions at heart but end up doing more damage than good when trying to do things on their own.
 

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I was wondering if anyone knew of some good places to take a dog to socialize them with people, and maybe with other dogs. She is fine with calm, well-mannered dogs, and likes to play; but rude, young, unruly dogs terrify her.
PetsMart can be overwhelming to many dogs when they first go. I had two dogs like that. They were OK most places but were overwhelmed at PetsMart. They would pull on the leash mainly trying to get to everything in the store ... food, treats, toys, people, dogs. All the sights, sounds, and smells were just too much for them.

Take them to places with fewer distractions to meet people and dogs. Maybe the parking lot outside PetsMart. After a period of time you will be able to work yourself into going inside with a well behaved dog but it takes practice.

Little story: My two goldens were the ones I was talking about. Later I became a trainer at the 2nd busiest PetsMart in the country. By that time, my dogs were more mature. After a while of taking them there, I would take them to class as demo dogs. I would walk in the store with one of them, drop the leash and she would follow me around wherever I went in the store. People were always walking up to me with questions, sometimes with dogs and sometimes without. I would go over to my "stand" and do some paper work, she would lay down by the stand and wait until I was through. Then I would go back to my area and get ready for class and she would walk with me. At no time did I touch the leash. She only drug it around because PetsMart had a rule about all dogs being on leash, so technically she was. :smile:

During class she would sit quiety as I taught other dogs. When I needed her for a demo, I would call her name and she would come over and we would demonstrate different things. Then she would go back and and lay down and have the proudest look on her face. :smile:

One of my favorite demos was showing loose leash walking AND stay AND come. We would be walking down the isle with her right at my side among 10 or 12 other dogs. After we made a few laps, we would be walking and I would tell her to stay as I dropped the leash and never stopped walking myself. She would freeze in place as I walked on down the isle. When I got to the end of the isle, I would stop, turn around and look at her standing there waiting for her next cue. I would hesitate about 5 seconds or so and then call her to me at which time she came running. WHen she got to me, she would slide to a stop in a sitting position right in front of me. hehe ... this ALWAYS impressed the class. They would always ask, "will my dog be able to do that at the end of the class?" Of course I would say, "No, but with practice, you will have the knowledge to teach your dog to do the same thing."

Anyway, at the end of that exercise, I was very proud of whichever dog I had used that night. I still miss both of those dogs very much.

Well the point I am making is that depending on how your dog acts other times when not in PetsMart, don't worry too much if she was a little out of control. Part of that was because of all the new stimuli. The more the place becomes ordinary and routine to her, the better she will behave there. As I said, start off outside the store and socialize her out there a few times before you go closer and closer to the store. After several visits, you will be right outside the door. Work there a few times, then move right inside the door and work w/ socialization. Soon it will become commonplace for her and she will be ok anywhere in the store AND once you have her behaving in Petsmart, this dog will behave anywhere else in the world. :biggrin:
 

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Maybe try going to an outdoor coffee shop or lunch place. I often see people there with their dogs and after talking to them they are doing exactly what you want to do. It's more to get them used to people but it seems there are also several dogs coming around too.
 
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