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I've only had my 3 month old Aussie for a week and he's been great with sleeping on his own, toilet training etc but he throws a fit when he sees another dog. He'll bark, run around the dog, smell them, whine and bark some more. I can't see any signs of aggression or playfulness, he just looks really unsure. I'm doing my best to socialize him but he's just as bad at puppy school too.

Has anyone here had a similar issue? How can I socialize him properly?
 

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Do you have a trainer at the puppy school? What does s/he advise?

I'd start by keeping interactions to a minimum - at first. Just have him sit at a distance from the dog where he is calm. This could be as much as 50+ ft away or at little as 3 ft away. When he looks at the dog, give him a really yummy treat. As he catches on to the game, move a foot closer. Then again, and again. If he appears to go over his threshold (barking, whining, etc.) move back again.

As you start to move closer, watch his behavior. My dog is reactive, but these methods can help even if your dog is unsure. Here's a really simplified sequence that we do:
1) Let the dog move toward the trigger (in this case, the strange dogs) at his own pace.

2) Watch body language closely.
-- Reward good behavior heavily (wagging tail, quick looks, sniffing, happy posture, etc.)
-- Redirect potential "bad" behavior signs (stiff posture, planting the back legs, staring down the trigger, etc.) before he gets a chance to blow up and start barking/growling/whining by simply calling your pup back to you and rewarding heavily when he returns.

3) If, for some reason, your dog does go over threshold, simply say "let's go" and jog away with your dog.


Since your puppy is young and not totally reactive, you'll probably progress really quickly through this, but it's a good foundation to have in case you ever need it and it does a good job of teaching your puppy what to do in stressful situations (check it out, if it's too overwhelming, return to you).

As your puppy meets these new dogs, again, reward any positive behaviors with these dogs heavily. Make meeting dogs the greatest thing in the world.

The important thing to remember is not to push it. Forcing interactions he's not comfortable with won't help and if it ends up being a bad interaction, it can solidify fear and make the problem worse.

Also - keep interactions between trusted dogs that you know are going to be kind and not scary to your puppy. Everything needs to be positive!
 

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Thanks for the help! The redirecting seems to be working really well and he's getting better at ignoring other dogs :)
 
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