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Layla and Bauer's Mommy
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Discussion Starter #1
Bauer is almost 4 months old and just finished his vaccinations, so as a fun family event, Chris and I decided to take the pups to hike up Kennesaw Mountain. To our surprise, Bauer barked and growled at people and other dogs, like he was scared. Also, if someone approached him to pet him, he would duck his head and back away. He did this with us as well when we first met him, but he loves us to death now. This was Bauer's first time being out with us (with the exception of the vet) so I guess he has to get used to other people and dogs, but I was a little embarrassed.

Does anyone have any advice on how to calm him and get him to be more open and friendly with people and other dogs? Layla is just the sweetest with people, children and other dogs and I want Bauer to behave more like she does.

Just because posts are better with pictures, I've attached a picture of my little man as well as a picture of Layla and Bauer on Kennesaw Mountain. :)



 

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He probably just needs to be socialized a little more and is nervous around other people/dogs. Enroll him in a puppy kindergarten class.

Your photograph is beautiful. They look like blood brothers!
 

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He needs LOTS of good experiences. You're going to be playing a bit of catch up since he's over 16 weeks now, but if you really work hard at it, he should come around. Treats and nice, quiet people should help.
 
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Dog Lover for Life
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I would take really good treats along on walks like Cheese, boiled Chicken (I'm not into Hot dogs and very salty treats it gives them the runs) and take him places.
It's good that your older girl is outgoing and confident it might give Bauer some confidence. Puppies take alot of ques from the older sibling.
You can also take him to beginner obedience class for puppies where he meets and sees other dogs and people.
In our class we would go to each others dogs and treat for sitting and meeting not so familiar people.
Don't be embarrassed about his behavior help him be upbeat and like there is nothing to worry about.
He seems to be a shy pup anyway he needs gentle socialisation.
 

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Jill -- Maisie's "Mom"
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Maisie's Still Shy, too

At just over 5 months, Maisie's still a bit shy, too, especially with men, and especially if they're large or tall. Her trainer has given us the assignment to go to the neighborhood library and grocery store (even though we're in the city, this is a sort of small town experience) and meet at least 5 new people every day. Whenever possible she wants them to give Maisie a yummy treat first and then immediately pet her so she associates strangers with something good.

I don't know if it's true of your pup, but Maisie's also skittish with some new objects, especially metals things like pots that clang and mylar balloons. So I'm also introducing her to at least 5 new things every day -- putting treats in, on and around muffin tins and old pots, etc.

I started all this about a week ago and it's already making a difference. She's much less shy with people -- very little backing up or hiding behind me or even ducking her head. She sometimes still grumbles or yips at the objects though.
 

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Layla and Bauer's Mommy
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all the responses! I will try everything! I just want my little guy to be comfortable with the outside world because he is just the sweetest thing to Chris and me. :)

I'll be sure to give updates!! Thank you!
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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With Coop he was a bit offish with groups of unknown people. Puppy classes helped but our trainer suggested I do more. We found an elementry school that had a high wall just down the street. Every day I would take him and we sat high on the wall and watched the kids come out, cars/trucks come to pick up their children, traffic, the man who helps the kids cross (wears a bright orange tag). Many sites and sounds. At first Coop would hide behind me, but eventually he would sit on my lap and watch. Soon he would walk along the hill we sat on and try to get closer to the kids. I gave the children who stopped by each day a treat to give him with an easy scratch under his chin. He LOVED this. We moved next to a smaller construction site where big machines, loud noise happened all day. We just stayed way away for a bit and each day moved closer. He was treated when he would quietly watch and not hide behind me. This took about 2 weeks each and now nothing bothers Coop, not people nor things, in fact I have posts here complaining because he is so calm, doesn't retrieve either! He is one calm boy now.

Thanksgiving was our hardest challenge. New people and gobs of dogs. Coop was excited, but never showed any fear. Played so hard and slept the night through. Success! But socializing is an everyday thing we work on each day because both of us work. Classes are #1 in my book for helping get the pups more socialized and you introducing things each day will help.

For metal things they might be afraid of....FEED them in these things. Kye was scared of our metal bucket at the farm. It made a noise she was not familiar with. I started putting kibble in it and letting her build confidence to stick her head in to eat. Worked, also worked on the metal sign in our flowerbed. I pulled it out and laid it on the ground and put kibble on it. Once she ate and smelled, with her standing there I pushed it back in the soil...she watched...no more worries and now likes to rub against it to give her scratches.

My trainer at class said to try to give them 100 things new a week to explore, if problems, center on this and find a way to let them see it will not harm them. People, just keep introducing to new ones of all colors and shapes all you can. Sit outside a dog store and watch the people. Have strangers give him/her treats and a pat. More the better. Kye was 4 1/2 mo when we got her. I pretended she was an 8 wk old pup and started from scratch. We were in puppy kindergarden classes with pups much younger than she. She looked like a horse among pigmies, but each day we learned. They are never too old and her classmates were wonderful with us and understood.
 
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OK, going to be a bit critical here as I think it is important.

Why did he get to 4 months old without being regularly socialized with other people and dogs? Every puppy book on the planet goes to great lengths to stress the importance of this part of their development from 8 weeks onwards. Was there a medical reason this advice was not taken?

Well you now have to do some serious catch-up which of course is much harder now that he is a bit older. Puppy classes would be a good first step.
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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Aviator, sometimes events, our lives or when you received your dog makes it different. I am sure LaylaBauer did and is doing the best they can to cover areas they see are lacking in the development of their pup and have come here to ask.

I would not be quick to judge until you have walked where and been where these people live and see their situations. Many do not find this forum until later and come here to get advise to help their babes/dogs. Think we should all offer ideas to help at the point they ask, not condone..we have all been there and done that at some time in our dogs lives. We all need help along our path.

Socialization is of utmost importance, but when it is started, no matter the age, it should be continued & expanded to benefit the all round dog you hope your pet will be. Lets keep this upbeat and possitive in our comments...please. We all want to learn and come here with our hearts and dogs in our hands asking for help and not worry about hearing negative views and what we should have done. Be a kind teacher and help us all be receivers and eventually mentors of good ideas and points of view to the new ones.
 
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Layla and Bauer's Mommy
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Discussion Starter #10
OK, going to be a bit critical here as I think it is important.

Why did he get to 4 months old without being regularly socialized with other people and dogs? Every puppy book on the planet goes to great lengths to stress the importance of this part of their development from 8 weeks onwards. Was there a medical reason this advice was not taken?

Well you now have to do some serious catch-up which of course is much harder now that he is a bit older. Puppy classes would be a good first step.
I should have said this before to preface the explanation. Bauer is 4 months and that WAS his first time out in a high traffic dog area. This is because our vet advised us not to take him to dog friendly places because of the many cases of PARVO she has seen this Fall season. We were just taking her advice- I'd much rather have a little unsocialized pup than he get sick from taking him out.

However, Bauer has had experiences with some other people and some other dogs. I didn't mean to make it seem like he's been living in a cave or something. He often plays with 2 fully grown Golden-Great Pyreness mixes (Chris's parents' dogs) and he also plays with Layla (Our other Golden puppy) every day!! He comes to my place and plays with my roommate's two dogs (30-40 lbs each) and he doesn't bark at these dogs, rather plays with them like they're his litter mates. As for people, he has grown up with many people around him- Chris's parents, my parents, my roommates, their boyfriends, other people that come to our place, etc. So we socialize him as much as we possibly can.

I have to say, I wasn't posting this for criticism- just advice, as we have done all we can to SAFELY socialize him without exposing him to disease his little body can't handle without shots. Trust me, I research every chance I get on how to give my dogs a great life which is why I am on this forum!
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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I am with you. We are in Tx so parvo everywhere. Sounds to me like you have done all you could. Now over the winter you can up the socialization and hopefully find some puppy classes to start. (They are such fun, almost seem like play instead of work). Just keep introducing him to new things each day...many new things and if scared, center on the problem and work out a solution that makes sense to you and your boy. Have fun and be prepared to try to keep one step ahead. Having Layla will help with a lot of the things that Bauer will hit.
 
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Layla and Bauer's Mommy
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Discussion Starter #12
He needs LOTS of good experiences. You're going to be playing a bit of catch up since he's over 16 weeks now, but if you really work hard at it, he should come around. Treats and nice, quiet people should help.
I'm curious. Why do we have to play "catch up" with him? He has had proper socialization so far with Layla, Chris's parents' dogs and my roommate's dogs but we thought that was all we should do until he got his last set of shots. What did you do with your puppies up to 16 weeks before they had shots?

All I meant by this was his first time out with us was that it was his first time around a lot of other dogs and people. We occasionally would bring them to Petsmart or Petco to pick up dog food, but where else are you supposed to socialize him that doesn't expose him to disease? This past weekend was just the first time we noticed him acting scared and timid. Which is why I posted my question.

Sorry, I guess I just didn't post my question in an understandable way. :)
 

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Penny was a puppy in an era where pups didn't socialize until they had their shots (at least that's what our vet told us at the time) and except for being a little shy with other dogs, she turned out just fine. I wouldn't worry about that aspect of it.

I used to take Penny to the grocery store. Penny's Dad would go in and I would wait outside with her. She got used to the automatic door, shopping carts going by, lots of people, lots of pats from the kids. It was a great, easy way to show her some of the world. Later on,when obedience classes called for work with distractions, we'd go to the strip mall to work on healing, sits, downs and stays (on leash).
 

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Weeks 8 through 16 are a very critical period for pups. Here is a short article below


http://www.dogspelledforward.com/what-are-the-most-important-things-you-can-do-for-your-puppy-part-2-socialization/

"Dr. Ian Dunbar says that your puppy should meet at least 100 new people before he is three months old."


Not only should the dogs meet as many different people as possible they should also experience as many nouns, places and things.

Such as different types of walking surfaces
be exposed to different types of transportation
wheel chairs, umbrellas, funny hats, canes, crutches anything you can think of the puppy will meet in real life.

http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/puppy%20socialization.pdf

Veterinarians specializing in behavior recommend that owners take advantage of every safe opportunity to expose young puppies to the great variety of stimuli that they will experience in their lives. Enrolling in puppy classes prior to three months of age can be an excellent means of improving training, strengthening the human-animal bond, and socializing puppies in an environment where risk of illness can be minimized.
 

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I'd much rather have a little unsocialized pup than he get sick from taking him out.
2-3 months is a critical time to puppy development, when they build very important social skills to be used for the rest of their life. The risk of not getting properly socialized by keeping puppy withing the home bounds is much higher than possibility to get infected from walking around.
Most of the dogs nowdays are vaccinated and if you are following the simple safety rules, you'll reduce the risk to a minimum. Of course there is still a risk, so every owner makes their own decision.
I wouldn't delay his socialization any longer and start meeting other dogs and people regularly. Since your dog is a little shy, you'll have to make sure this new experience is a positive one. Give the people you'll meet on a trail some treats, so they can feed your pup and give him lots of praises. Try to bring some well knows dogs for a play date and let them play in safely place. Good luck!
 

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Layla and Bauer's Mommy
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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks everyone! I didn't mean to diminish the importance of socialization! I've just been told by my vet that Parvo is really popping up here in Georgia and me being the overly worried puppy mom I am, just never want to see either puppy with it. Maybe I'm a little too cautious.

We will absolutely take him out more and get people to give him treats and I'll be taking this advice. Don't get me wrong, he has been out- we've taken him with us to Petsmart to pick up toys and his dog food (once a week or so), as well as taken him on walks on the Georgia Tech campus down the street. He has met MANY new people. I can't count the number of times we've been asked if Layla is Bauer's mother. :) And they do get an insane amount of attention in these places. I've taken him to socialize with the 4 year olds I nanny for and so on. Kennesaw Mountain was just the first time we noticed how timid he was around other bigger dogs and some people.

So thank you for all the input- I will put it to good use!
 

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Dog Lover for Life
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But you knew that you have a shy puppy on your hands right from the get go since he was at the first meeting at the breeder a shy pup.
How were the other puppies? How did Mom act around you was she shy?
I don't have a problem with shyness with my young pup he is more of a "hopla watch out here I come" kind of pup and he thinks everyone should be his friend.
 

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I'm curious. Why do we have to play "catch up" with him? He has had proper socialization so far with Layla, Chris's parents' dogs and my roommate's dogs but we thought that was all we should do until he got his last set of shots. What did you do with your puppies up to 16 weeks before they had shots?

All I meant by this was his first time out with us was that it was his first time around a lot of other dogs and people. We occasionally would bring them to Petsmart or Petco to pick up dog food, but where else are you supposed to socialize him that doesn't expose him to disease? This past weekend was just the first time we noticed him acting scared and timid. Which is why I posted my question.

Sorry, I guess I just didn't post my question in an understandable way. :)

I went to dog shows (carried her out to potty far from where other dogs were pottying), agility trials, puppy classes. The places you need to stay away from are PetCo/PetSmart (they let in anybody!), parks, etc. where you have no idea what kind of dogs have been there. I meant "play catch up" because in your OP it sounded like he hadn't been out because you were waiting to finish the vaccines. It's actually been shown that dogs are more at risk of dying from lack of socialization (aka be put to sleep for behavior problems) than they are to die from parvo, etc. so the current recommendations are to take puppies out to class, etc. as much as possible during those critical first 16 weeks. After 16 weeks, they are not as open to socialization and it is much harder.
 

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Layla and Bauer's Mommy
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Discussion Starter #19
Yes, we did know he was a more timid puppy of the bunch but he warmed up to us and other people he knows pretty quickly! His mother (also named Layla :)) was not shy at all and enjoyed being loved on by us. The other pups seemed to be outgoing! The other male puppy was the opposite of Bauer- very energetic, explorative and didn't like to be held for more than a few seconds. Where as when Bauer warmed up to us, he would just come and lay in our laps. We thought the more reserved puppy was better for our lifestyle and for our other GR puppy, Layla, who is a very calm puppy herself.

I'm thinking it will just take some practice, rewarding and what advice people have given to make him feel better. All I want is for him to be comfortable and have fun going out with us! I'm sure over the next few weeks with training, he will realize that other dogs and people are (most of the time) fun!! :) I'll certainly give updates along the way!
 

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Jill -- Maisie's "Mom"
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And for Maisie

As for Maisie, she didn't come to us until she was a little short of 3 months old and didn't finish her first round of puppy shots until 4 months (that's her vet's standard practice). Until she came home with us, she had limited contact with men, although lots of contact with women and children. So I think that explains her shyness with men. She was in and out of a house and around a barn, so I don't know why she's spooked by certain objects -- we just keep working on those.

I agree about putting treats and kibble in unfamiliar objects. For items she's really skittish with, I even make a trail of treats leading up to the object (not a new idea, I'm sure).

Another great place for visiting if you have one near-by is a firehouse. We have one within walking distance and the firefighters there are super-friendly. They even keep their own stash of dog treats. Since most of ours are men, that's a bonus in socializing Maisie.
 
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