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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if I could get some critiques from you all about how our socialization is going. Dakota is 13 weeks old, 14 weeks on Monday. She has had only two of her immunizations so far, so I am being careful about exposure to dogs I don't know. I haven't taken her walking in areas where I know a lot of other dogs walk. Please feel free to point out holes you see in our "program" so far. Thank you in advance!
Our home has a 7 year old boxer, who has been fantastic with her (so proud of my boy!) and they play 3-4 hours a day. I supervise, he is great, will tell her when she gets too much with a growl, but has been very tolerant with her. They eat together and she has learned she only gets to check out his bowl after he walks away.
We have two children, 8 and 11. She has been way less mouthy with them then our boxer was when we got him as a puppy! My kids know rules about puppies and what not to do. So far we have had a sleepover with two other children, good calm interactions with Dakota, and a slumber party of 7 little girls, all good interactions as well (I supervised all of these).
We had a family party at our house, grandparents, parents and my nieces and nephews, she was friendly with all.
Neighbors came over and met her, elementary school boy and jr high boy.
My friend with her small children (3 and 1). Dakota was very nervous about this, hid from them, so we did it again the next day and this time the 3 year old gave her tiny pieces of cheese and Dakota seemed much more relaxed.
Two of my girlfriends came over for dinner one night, we took her to a bbq at a friend's house another night. They have a yard that has never had dogs in it! She met about 14 adults (men and women), positive interactions.
Had another two girlfriends over one night (different two), had another family over for dinner (2 men, 3 women and a baby, Dakota sniffed the baby a little then was not interested).
My parents have come over and stayed with her and the kids one night while we were out and then my husband's parents another night.
Last week we met our friends who have a cane corso at our church. We took the dogs for a walk around the church parking lot for awhile, then let the dogs play supervised. This went really well. At one point our friend took Dakota and the corso for a short walk by themselves, they did great.

So...thank you for reading my novel! I am really focused on socialization because I know it is so very important with a breed like dobermans. Suggestions? Thanks again!
 

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this suggestion is for if you don't have on already but does she have a crate so that when you have that many people over she has a place of her own she can go to that is her space that no one is allowed.

there will be a difference between being nervous and hiding versus being tired and wanting to go lay down some where she knows no one is going to bother her until she has had a nap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She is crate trained, but it is in our bedroom and because we have baby gates up, she can't really just go get in it when people are over. When she was nervous the one time, she went under our fireplace bench-thing to hide. Because we have been working on potty training I have her in just the living room and kitchen when she is not in her crate. During the times we had large groups over, I let her interact for awhile and then put her in her crate for awhile so she wouldn't get overwhelmed. Do you think that is sufficient?
 

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What you've done is excellent. What you've written is fairly detailed... if you have included everything, than it seems that Dakota has had a fair amount of experience in your home, but very little outside of it.

If you consider that, statistically, the single largest health risk a dog faces is euthanization due to behavioral issues, than I would be more liberal with the other risks she faces being out in the world.

How old was she when she was last vaccinated? This is more pertinant than how many vaccines have been given. While not wholly safe, I suppose, I have taken puppies anywhere and everywhere after about 12 weeks. The window of opportunity during which incorporating new experience is easy begins to close at about 14 weeks... I want puppies EVERYWHERE before then, and to have seen and interacted with as much stuff as I can find. I strongly believe that puppies should have daily outings to as many places as you can think to take them. My most bomb-proof dog had been to pet stores, people parks, dog parks, strip malls, street fairs, people's houses, training facilities, etc. starting at 12 weeks and before he was 14 weeks old... when I took him through the WAE, the evaluator said that he was supposed to evaluate the dogs on their recovery and he wasn't sure what to do about my dog since he had nothing to recover from.

Having said I did this, I will also say I held my breath in fear that it would end up being a dangerous decision for him. It wasn't, but it could have been. I considered the risk more acceptable than blowing by the window of opportunity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What you've done is excellent. What you've written is fairly detailed... if you have included everything, than it seems that Dakota has had a fair amount of experience in your home, but very little outside of it.
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This is very true, most of it has been inside of our house and it has been "parvo fear" that has motivated this. Thank you for the input, as a very stable dog is what I am looking for.
Her first vaccination was 9/3, her second was this past Wednesday. I feel like that 14 week window is closing, so I think we may take her out a bunch this weekend. I was already planning on sitting outside of Starbucks for a bit tomorrow, but perhaps we will make this "super socialization weekend!"
 

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What you've done is excellent. What you've written is fairly detailed... if you have included everything, than it seems that Dakota has had a fair amount of experience in your home, but very little outside of it.

If you consider that, statistically, the single largest health risk a dog faces is euthanization due to behavioral issues, than I would be more liberal with the other risks she faces being out in the world.

How old was she when she was last vaccinated? This is more pertinant than how many vaccines have been given. While not wholly safe, I suppose, I have taken puppies anywhere and everywhere after about 12 weeks. The window of opportunity during which incorporating new experience is easy begins to close at about 14 weeks... I want puppies EVERYWHERE before then, and to have seen and interacted with as much stuff as I can find. I strongly believe that puppies should have daily outings to as many places as you can think to take them. My most bomb-proof dog had been to pet stores, people parks, dog parks, strip malls, street fairs, people's houses, training facilities, etc. starting at 12 weeks and before he was 14 weeks old... when I took him through the WAE, the evaluator said that he was supposed to evaluate the dogs on their recovery and he wasn't sure what to do about my dog since he had nothing to recover from.

Having said I did this, I will also say I held my breath in fear that it would end up being a dangerous decision for him. It wasn't, but it could have been. I considered the risk more acceptable than blowing by the window of opportunity.
I agree with this. I also had Kyrah out very early. Safer places before her second set of shots. But after the second set everywhere I could take her.
 

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My pup is 12 weeks and I have had him interact with dogs I know are up to date with their shots. He has interacted with them in open fields and outside my house. I have introduced him to all types of people big, small, different ethnicity ect.

I have taken him on an elevator, an escalator (be watchful of his feet and that they don't get pinched at the end) to a lake, to a beach, taken him on a walk on a busy street where loud buses and cars would go by. If I was worried about being somewhere I carried wipes with me and wipe him down afterwords.

I have turned on a vacuum near him dropped pots and pans, so when he gets scared he isn't a fearful scared he just gets startled and has that look wow what was that? and then goes back to sleep.

I have been touching his feet his tail and opening his mouth, kinda what a toddler might do if the toddler knew how to be gentle with a puppy so that he knows what to expect so if his tail gets pulled or they force him into a shake or anything like that.
 

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This is very true, most of it has been inside of our house and it has been "parvo fear" that has motivated this. Thank you for the input, as a very stable dog is what I am looking for.
Her first vaccination was 9/3, her second was this past Wednesday. I feel like that 14 week window is closing, so I think we may take her out a bunch this weekend. I was already planning on sitting outside of Starbucks for a bit tomorrow, but perhaps we will make this "super socialization weekend!"
I know... parvo scares the crap out of me, too. It is hard that you cannot be sure your decision is a good one until after the fact.

I like your plan for this weekend... Starbucks should be great... I wish there had been one when I was raising my last pup, but I have filed that idea away for the next one!

Take a bunch of teeny, most excellent treats with you... ask anyone who notices her if they would like to give her a treat. No discipline for your first outings... I would much rather let a puppy jump on someone (and apologize, of course<vbg>) than to have the presence of people predict the puppy is going to be in trouble for something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have taken him on an elevator, an escalator (be watchful of his feet and that they don't get pinched at the end) to a lake, to a beach, taken him on a walk on a busy street where loud buses and cars would go by. If I was worried about being somewhere I carried wipes with me and wipe him down afterwords.

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Oh, that is a great idea! I didn't think about really busy streets. We have a super busy street we could walk up and down on the sidewalks. The greatest part, I don't think I have EVER seen a dog walking on that street. It isn't close to residential neighborhoods at all, but I could drive to a store there and park and then walk up and down. On the schedule for Saturday!
 

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It sounds like your pup is going to be very well socialized, assuming the rest of her interactions are positive.

The whole "window of socialization" thing is pretty scary, and there are just so many things to introduce pups to before that critical time is over. shadowolf touched on some things, like vaccuums, loud noises, elevators. Here are some more things to get her used to in a positive way: hats, umbrellas, bulky coats, sunglasses, strollers, wheelchairs, walkers/canes, car rides, nail trims, teeth/mouth examinations, pretty much full body examinations... I'm sure there are a hundred more things, but there's only so much time in the world. :)
 

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Her first vaccination was 9/3, her second was this past Wednesday.
Oh... I missed saying something here. If this was my pup, I would consider her series of puppy vaccines complete at this point. If I was feeling a bit paranoid around the edges, I could have parvo and distemper titers run. My current dog arrived unvaccinated by the breeder, and (after getting permission from the breeder, who did not initially want me to vaccinate at all) was vaccinated at 11 and 14 weeks. My next pup I will probably run titers on before vaccinating at all, and will vaccinate only if necessary.
 

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Excellent writeup (detailed) and great advise given...I will share, a few more:

Treat training with house noises - vac & dishwasher, are the biggies.
I took my puppy (over my shoulder) into any store I was shopping at - that was not posted (no pets)...first month.

Took puppy:
- into woodlot and hid from her / then practiced come command on a loud whistle
- local Saturday night cruise night / outside car show
- on a closed main street walk (1 weekend in summer) with bands playing, carnival rides, etc.
- Park trip on 4th of July, walking past 1000's of people during firework's (noisy, lights & darkness)
(met many people, of all ages, and some will dogs on a leash)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It sounds like your pup is going to be very well socialized, assuming the rest of her interactions are positive.

The whole "window of socialization" thing is pretty scary, and there are just so many things to introduce pups to before that critical time is over. shadowolf touched on some things, like vaccuums, loud noises, elevators. Here are some more things to get her used to in a positive way: hats, umbrellas, bulky coats, sunglasses, strollers, wheelchairs, walkers/canes, car rides, nail trims, teeth/mouth examinations, pretty much full body examinations... I'm sure there are a hundred more things, but there's only so much time in the world. :)
Yeah, it feels like an hourglass with the sand running out! I have done lots of body touching, gentle ear and tail tugging, full body massages (spoiled puppy!) and nail trims (clip a nail, get a treat :) ) I took out my steam cleaner a couple of days ago and cleaned the kitchen floor, she was surprisingly uninterested. We have a vitamix and I make smoothies every morning. But we haven't done escalators and elevators, people in wheelchairs, etc... hmmm.... more planning to be done. Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Excellent writeup (detailed) and great advise given...I will share, a few more:

Treat training with house noises - vac & dishwasher, are the biggies.
I took my puppy (over my shoulder) into any store I was shopping at - that was not posted (no pets)...first month.

Took puppy:
- into woodlot and hid from her / then practiced come command on a loud whistle
- local Saturday night cruise night / outside car show
- on a closed main street walk (1 weekend in summer) with bands playing, carnival rides, etc.
- Park trip on 4th of July, walking past 1000's of people during firework's (noisy, lights & darkness)
(met many people, of all ages, and some will dogs on a leash)
July was a great time to get a puppy for socialization! That is a good idea about taking the puppy into the store. At 29lbs, Dakota is difficult for me to carry easily...puppy in the baby stroller....? :)
 

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coco77 - Yea / Dakota is now to big to fit over your shoulder.
- I throw it out here, for very early socialization / just to share with everyone reading

True Story / Funny1:
Amy and I did this from 8 - 12 weeks old....then, she was getting to be like carrying a bag of potatoes...lol
Store clerks & shoppers would go nuts & fuss all over her.
One lady took Amy in her arms for hugs & kisses...and my 9 week old puppy FRENCH KISSED her (with her long tongue).
- she said YUCK, I have never been french kissed by a dog / everyone had a good laugh...it was priceless.

When I took her to the "firework show" we would go early and walk for 1.5 hours between the crowd's of people.
I wasn't even there to take in the show much / just watching & talking to my dog, keeping her calm.
Daytime turned to night time, than the sparklers & loud noises started.
Probably one of the best distraction (on so many levels), I could think of.
 

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I cannot even tell you how happy I am to see your posting. Bravo to you for really focusing on socialization!
I do not blame people for being scared of parvo. But, I am the parvo queen with my $10K parvo survivor Jewell, and having lost an entire litter to parvo, and still I never let it stop me from socializing. I personally believe there is not one more important thing for a doberman no matter what you plan on doing with the puppy later.
Do not forget to take her out at night, early mornings, etc.
 

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I agree...get her out more! We took Nina EVERYWHERE with us when she was that age and younger. While we avoided dog heavy parks, if there was sidewalk....we were there on it. We ate out with her, did starbucks with her, invited doggy friends over to play in our yard (1 at a time) and she went to the vet clinic I worked at and socialized there. We went to fall festivals where they had apple orchards etc. At this time her risk is relatively low, especially if you avoid high dog traffic, grassed areas.
You've done a great job so far...keep it up! We have a VERY well-balanced girl who is safe in every situation, and that's due to all her socialization as a puppy more so than anything else we did.
 

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coco77 thank you for starting this thread!

Now I am questioning my little guy's socialization routine. We've also been nervous about parvo as well as other health issues he could pick up from wildlife in our area (we've got everything from deer to bears and bobcats around here). He's had 2 rounds of vaccines including one Lepto since deer are known to carry it.

We take him out for walks in the neighborhood, he's met about 15-16 different people in our house at different times (small child through elderly adults). All positive interactions. He goes to his first puppy class for obedience tomorrow. But I've avoided taking him in very public places (ie. Starbucks or Petco) for fear of disease.

He's 13 weeks today, and we've had him for 1 week as of tomorrow...am I losing valuable time not taking him into public more?

Thanks for feedback! This forum is so helpful
 

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He's 13 weeks today, and we've had him for 1 week as of tomorrow...am I losing valuable time not taking him into public more?
Yes. I'd get him out as much as possible. I take my dogs out after the 2nd shot at 9-10 weeks. We go to Starbucks, outdoor shopping malls (sometimes we just sit on a blanket and let peopel come up to us).
 

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Your puppy is older than what's recommended in the Rule of Seven, but it's a great place to start (Properly Socialized by Pat Schaap. Socializing by the rule of 7's). I would make sure the pup meets lots of types of people: different races, different sizes, in wheelchairs and walkers, kids, people in hats or with hoods up, people who move funny. I'd also recommend lots of meetings with safe, stable adult dogs, or other puppies who are vaccinated and play appropriately. A puppy kindergarten class, if run by a great instructor, can be very beneficial here. I'd make sure to ride in cars, on a boat if you can, in elevators, go up and down stairs, walk on as many types of surfaces as possible (and urinate/defecate on lots of surfaces so the pup isn't picky later).

My trainer has a list of 230 ideas for places/things to socialize puppies to here: Raising K9: Socialization Ideas. She's amazing, and I recommend this as another resource.
 
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