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Hi guys,

I have posted on here before about our Rescue, Kinzie. We have had her just over a month now and she is finally starting to settle/get comfortable in her new home. We have her in obedience training, where she is progressing well.

Our biggest challenge is socialization. She is about a year and a half years old and it is very clear she was not socialized with other dogs as a puppy. She came into the shelter as a stray, so not much is known about her other then that she has had at least 1 litter of puppies and is a bit of a nervous dog. She is fine around people (will bark when she first meets them, but then calms right down). Her issue is other dogs. When she sees a dog on walk, she will make this almost "screaming"/ howl noise and bark. (We live in a busy neighborhood, so as soon as she makes this noise everyone stares at us- as if we are hurting our dog! It's embarrassing to be honest). When we watch her body behaviour, her tail and bum are wagging excitedly- not aggressive. It seems that she wants to meet the other dog, but gets overwhelmed/nervous and doesn't know what to do. We are still working on her focusing on us or distracting her, but it's sometimes difficult to break her out of her reactive state. We have also been trying to counter condition her as well- so giving her a high value treat when she sees the other dog, but she wont accept food in these moments. Once we move away from the dog, she will calm down again. Most of the dogs she is seeing are from a far distance- at least 10-15 feet away.

Does anyone have any tips/advice on how we should approach socializing her when she gets so overwhelmed in the presence of another dog. We want her to see that other dogs are her pals! :)
 

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Is there a way you can organize a meeting with a calm, friendly, stable dog? Maybe having them go for walks together will give her the "fix" she needs to settle in the future.
 

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@timber We were hoping to start doing something like this. My parents in law have a dog and they are willing to work with us. They cant do daily walks with us, but they said they could do "meetings" once a week. I'm hoping this will help!
 

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That's definitely a start. How does she react when she sees dogs in the obedience class? Maybe you can strike up a conversation with other owners in your class or the instructor and see if anyone is interested in going for frequent walks together.
 

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10-15 ft isn't too bad as far as distance goes. You could try working with her from that distance and do things like LAT for awhile, then give her a chance to just move away and leave (make it fun for her to leave, though, lots of treats and excitement). As she gets better, you can get closer.

When she sees the other dog, keep an eye on her. Let her look for a couple of seconds, then get her attention back to you and treat. This will mean you need to be at whatever distance she needs to accomplish this. If it looks like she's getting ready to bark, get her attention, and if you have to start to run away (she'll most likely follow).

Best of luck! Some of this stuff I've done before with my dog, but we've just started working with a trainer so some is totally new to me as well :)
 
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