Socializing Suggestions?

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Socializing Suggestions?

This is a discussion on Socializing Suggestions? within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I have a 5mo old pup who is a central asian shepherd, caucasian shepherd mix... She's fine generally with new places, loud noises (perfectly fine ...

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Old 11-25-2013, 10:17 AM
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Socializing Suggestions?

I have a 5mo old pup who is a central asian shepherd, caucasian shepherd mix... She's fine generally with new places, loud noises (perfectly fine hanging out at a mechanic shop all day) new smells, ect... but whenever I walk her and she encounters a new person or new dog, her hackles go straight up and she falls over either onto me or behind me. She's fine with watching people walk past the house (though she's always very suspicious of them lol) or getting used to people who come in every now and then.. but god is she ever terrified of strangers! That goes for strange dogs too. She warms up easily but how do I teach her that strangers are not something to be terrified of?
I know now she looks cute and timid but I can't imagine when she's over 100lbs that she wont try any fear biting or anything and Id like her to be calm before she's oversized.. but I dont know what to do anymore. Im there for her when she's afraid, but I worry about coddling her too much and teaching her that its okay to be afraid...

Any suggestions? I kinda live in a small town too so she doesnt get much exposure to strangers.
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Old 12-06-2013, 02:20 PM
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Have you thought about seeing a behavior specialist? Or at least contacting one for ideas?
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:30 PM
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This sounds like she is very reactive towards people and dogs. Check out the stickies on the topic and look up LAT and BAT type of games.

If you're really that nervous, you can always get a basket muzzle and start getting her used to it (for vets offices or whatever) so that as an emergency she doesn't feel scared or trapped by the muzzle.
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Old 12-06-2013, 08:50 PM
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You can try conditioning her behavior with rewards. Have a friend whom the dog finds scary and introduce them from 50 feet away. If she shows positive behavior treat her. Have the trigger move five feet closer. Treat her again and so on. Find the dogs threshold right before he quits. Do the exercise another day. You want the dog focused on you and ignoring the trigger.
I do this exercise using diced chicken breast. She is aware of the trigger but wants the food more. Eventually I will cut back on treats until she is conditioned to sit or stand and wait. Your not training the dog out of it's fears just training them to learn how to develop coping mechanisms. The desire for the food is her current coping device when you slowly with hold treating the dog they will have to discover how to cope it's just conditioning the dog.
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Old 12-07-2013, 06:36 AM
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I believe both breeds you mentioned (central asian shepherd and caucasian shepherd) are guardian-type, possibly more primitive in nature than most pet dogs. You might PM Ruthcatrin of TMsam. Both are experienced with guardian and primitive breeds, and I suspect will have valuable advice for you.
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:27 AM
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Yeah the only problem with treats is that she isnt very food driven. I guess I just have to keep trying different things until I find something she cant resist. Another issue is the other dog in the household who usually joins us for walks barks A LOT at other dogs and can be very domineering. I remember when I first got her and took her to the park, though she was intimidated by other dogs, her reactions werent as severe and she generally would just lay down and let them sniff her and be on her way.
Thanks for all your suggestions. I really gotta work at this. Luckily she still hasnt shown any signs of aggression yet but I know that can change quickly with fear.
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