New to site! Looking for socializing advice!

4 replies [Last post]
crshelton's picture
Offline
Joined: 2016-08-15

Pet Profiles

Hi, I'm Chelsea, and my dobie-mix is Melo (Mee-lo). We've had him since he was 12 wks and he is currently 2 yrs. He loves people he knows, but is very wary of strangers. I would love for him to be less anxious and bark less when we have new people over. Even though he is the one scared, he has a deep bark and puts alot of guests on edge, which in turn makes him suspicious why the new people are on edge. He takes a few minutes to get over this, but will still jump and bark later on if the new guests make a movement he didn't anticipate. This takes him a day or two to get over before he decides that the people are trustworthy. Luckily our guests have been patient so far, but not everyone is that way so I worry about bringing him out in public sometimes. 

Unfortunately, I know part of this problem is my and my husband's fault. We didn't know how much training it took to socialize dobies when he was a young pup. We both work from home and live a pretty quiet life, so he just isn't used to alot of new people. Mostly we have the same friends over. But I see him reacting this way with people we meet in the park on walks, etc. Especially kids (we don't have any children yet) and this worries me since we plan to have kids. I know that continuing to not bring him out in public situations will only make it worse, but I don't want my neighbors at the park to be the unwitting subjects of my experiments.

To be clear, he is fine if people go about their own business (like when we pass people walking in the park, on hikes) but reacts when they acknowledge him (even if they are speaking in a sweet, calm voice). The reason its worse with kids is because they just run up to pet him without asking. (PSA: Parents, teach your kids not to approach strange dogs!!)

I should mention that according to my dogsitter and vet he is less anxious when I'm not in the room (I guess his suspiciousness is to protect me, in his mind). 

So my question is, how can I successfully get him used to kind strangers approaching him, or even just get him to not be so anxious and bark when they walk up to us? Any tips for socializing him in a healthy way would be appreciated!! 

 

cmcrowder's picture
Offline
Joined: 2016-07-30

Pet Profiles

OMG - he is so cute.  He reminds me a little of my Sally.  Sorry, no advice to offer.  Sally has never met a human, small or large who she doesn't love.

AresMyDobie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-02-28

Pet Profiles

What kind of training does he have ?

crshelton's picture
Offline
Joined: 2016-08-15

Pet Profiles

We completed the beginner's training course at Petsmart, but that is his only formal training. One of the things they practice in that course it letting friendly people in the petsmart come up and pet him. He was never able to do that. He walks around the store fine, but when someone approaches him he growls or barks and then hides behind my legs. The training teacher was nice enough to let him pass anyway because he did everything else without issue.  

AresMyDobie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-02-28

Pet Profiles

What are you using to walk him on ? I would get a tool like a prong collar or a slip leash and give him a correction right before the behavior starts. Start walking with other people with you. This way he will understand that other people you invite are fine. Do not let him walk way out in front of you, keep him by your side, time your corrections properly and eventually it will register. I would look into a different trainer though.