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Thread: Help! Anti-social puppy!

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  1. #1
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    Default Help! Anti-social puppy!

    Sprinkles started obedience classes last week and I've noticed a huge problem. She isn't actually a fan of other dogs.

    Now to describe Sprinkles in a nutshell... Anyone who has ever watched Glee, Sprinkles would be the dog version of Brittany. I can't think of a better comparison. haha.

    Anyway back to my problem. She turned 6 months old on January 17. She is constantly around 5 other dogs (Lexie and my moms 3 Chihuahuas and 1 Cavalier). She is always a complete angel with them, very playful and friendly. We until the end of November had puppy play dates with her litter mates as well and there was never a problem.

    Unfortunately here in Lexington it has snowed the entire months of December and January so the leash walking and socialization took a backseat. I figured it was okay though since she is ALWAYS playing with one of the other dogs in our large fenced in backyard or house.

    Fast forward to her first day at obedience classes. All she does is bark constantly at the other dogs. They were all quite a bit larger than her so she would cower down to them or back away when she got close to them. She did a really great job paying attention in class the whole first class and the barking had stopped within the 1st 10 minutes. I thought maybe she was just intimidated by the larger dogs and she'd get used to it.

    Yesterday was our 2nd obedience class. I went in completely confident that she would behave herself, especially since her littermate/sister was going to be there. Needless to say, I was WRONG. The second she saw her sister she turned into an evil demon! I was so embarrassed. I felt like I didn't even know the dog she had turned into. I spent the whole class trying to restrain and quiet her. Her sister is really timid and would bark and growl but not approach Sprinkles. Sprinkles on the other hand would try and lunge at her. The trainer acted like this was common and worked a little on socializing the two but overall it was disastrous. I felt like crying.

    So today I took Sprinkles along with Lexie to Petsmart to try and work on behavior. Lexie has always been extremely friendly to other dogs and while she does bark occasionally at them, she is always friendly and NEVER aggressive (to continue with my Glee comparison, she's kind of like Quinn...nice to your face but probably not so much behind your back haha). I thought maybe if Sprinkles saw Lexie behave she'd catch on. Biggest mistake ever. Sprinkles constant barking made Lexie protective and bark constantly at all the other dogs. While Lexie never got aggressive they were both chasing down every dog in the store to bark at and we ended up just leaving frustrated!

    Now I'm just at a loss. Clearly I've done something terribly wrong with Sprinkles socialization but I have no idea how to change it! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated...Thanks!
    Mommy to: Lexie the Princess Pup & Sprinkles the Baby Dog

    "When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone"

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by LexieAndSprinkles View Post
    Now I'm just at a loss. Clearly I've done something terribly wrong with Sprinkles socialization but I have no idea how to change it! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated...Thanks!
    Lucky and Sparky are both a bit like that, and in addition, whenever in a new situation or one that is over-stimulating Sparky barks like crazy. (his nickname is Barky for that reason!)

    To help him get better socialized, I started Sparky a basic obedience class (even though he's already been through one). At first he barked and was obviously very excited, but now we're about 5 weeks in and he's chilled out considerably. I have to say I know how you felt because I was very embarrassed the first couple weeks, but he is a lot better now. Hopefully once Sprinkles gets used to the other dogs and the new environment she'll relax a little.

    Have you spoken with the Trainer about Sprinkles behavior? I would think she could offer some tips or at least assure you that the behavior will get better in time.
    Lani
    (a.k.a. Lucky's & Sparky's mom!)

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    Agree with Lani! And Mindysmom -- that example of the dog is EXACTLY what a good trainer should do with someone trying to manage this as that is where the dog needs to start out... BTW many trainers also recommend two dogs from the same home take separate classes for the reason you encountered -- the dogs very often are more interested in each other and it can be hard even with two of you holding them at opposite ends of the room.

    Anyway was just going to make similar points. The trainer in the class should be helping you with this but that said -- she is quite young and hasn't been socialised to other dogs (meeting the same small group isn't really socialising except to the same familiar group -- you want her out and meeting lots of different dogs, which the training class will help you to do! It's like the difference between your child being friendly with her siblings then suddenly going to kindergarten and needing to interact with lots of new people -- it's intimidating and exciting and frightening all at once). You haven;t done anything wrong; she is still young and hasn't had the chance to mix yet and now you are doing that with her. But some dogs are just more of a challenge (just like kids are different! There are the polite ones and the ones who act up or get overexcited ).

    The trainer should be able to help you both in class to manage her and reassure you as to how common an issue this is for a young slightly undersocialised dog just attending her first class and also give you tips for trips outside where you might meet other dogs. If the trainer isn't able to do this, I'd look for a different class -- look for one with a CCPDT or ADPT certified instructor.

    I have attended lots and lots of classes with my rescue dogs and own dogs and sat in on many as well over the years, and no matter the level of class, there is ALWAYS at least one dog that is a bit reactive and barky. The whole point of a class is to have experienced trainers help you work on this.

    It does tend to quickly settle over the course of a class and the more friendly dogs she meets, the less overexcited and inappropriate she will be. I still have a reactive dog -- as anyone knows whose dog has met my Lily! She is much much better now than she was at first and it is all initial bluster then she is quickly indifferent but can be embarrassing and annoying. Teaching your dog a look command so she can always turn to focus on you and not look at other dogs is how you start to address this BTW but a good trainer will help you teach her to do other things -- sit and look at you for example -- so she isn't so reactive.

    Basically -- don't worry too much and just keep getting her socialised. But maybe avoid flooding her with too much at once -- eg a trip to Petsmart -- until she can be controlled first in small situations then slowly introduce more distractions.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  4. #4
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    Thanks so much everyone! I feel a lot better reading these responses. The trainer is having her come in 15 minutes early for the next class (along with her litter mate) to see if she can get the two of them socialized a little better together. She also worked on walking them both together on a leash with her.

    The Petsmart experience today with Lexie was exactly why like you all I said I made sure that this class was something I did with just Sprinkles. The two of them together can be quite the handful.

    And Karlin it's definitely like you said, they are like children... totally different from one another. Lexie has always been a social butterfly without much effort. I definitely made the mistake with Sprinkles thinking she'd be easily socialized like Lexie. I'm just glad I started this now and not when she was older. \

    Thanks again everyone!
    Mommy to: Lexie the Princess Pup & Sprinkles the Baby Dog

    "When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone"

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    Don't be hard on yourself; many dogs fit right in at 6 months and some bond closely with their pals then can find strange dogs or new places just totally overwhelming and overstimulating. They learn to be calm by gradually realising it's all no big deal.

    That's great that your trainer is having them come early.

    If you haven't downloaded Ian Dunbar's free book, After You Get Your Puppy, definitely do as it is full of advice and guidance on socialising and these kinds of situations and all that you will want to do with a young dog. BTW he really likes cavaliers too and pictures feature throughout the book!

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/files/AF...ur%20Puppy.pdf
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  6. #6
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    Just thought I would give everyone an update who read this. Sprinkles is now ALMOST perfect with other dogs (minus the occasional reactive slip up) and is 1/2 was through her ADVANCED class
    Mommy to: Lexie the Princess Pup & Sprinkles the Baby Dog

    "When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone"

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    In Rylie's second set of obedience classes there was a Shiba Inu who screamed (I can't describe it any other way) throughout the entire class. On the trainer's suggestion the owner totally forgot about trying to give her any of the skills (and she probably had them anyway) and backed her off far enough that she could be calm and rewarded her well for being calm. By the last session of class she could even sometimes participate.

    I took an obedience class with the dogs last winter that ended up being a disaster. I thought it would be a good family thing to do and convinced hubby that he should come along and we could take both dogs. Well - I am the one who does 99.9% of the training with both dogs so both of them looked at me throughout the entire class. Rylie (who had been through two sessions of class already and was a perfect angel) was mortally offended that he could not play with Max whenever he wanted and made sure the entire world knew how badly he was being mistreated. A few times I took him out of the room to work on our own because he was being such a stinker. Then Max would just whine and watch the door until I came back. *sigh* I made Rylie write an apology letter to the trainer (well I wrote - he dictated) and she said more or less the same thing as yours did - it happens all the time and it was good for the other dogs to learn to work with distractions........ Moral of the story is that I won't have them in the same class again. I would say get what you can out of the class even if you end up training something entirely different (like just being calm around other dogs).

    In all the classes I have taken with my guys the only class they were encouraged to actually interact with the other dogs was the initial puppy class - after that they are pretty much expected to focus on the handler and leave the other dogs alone to do the same.
    Mindy Tri - Feb/97
    Max - Ruby - Sep/08
    Rylie - B&T - June/09

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LexieAndSprinkles View Post
    Sprinkles started obedience classes last week and I've noticed a huge problem. She isn't actually a fan of other dogs.

    Now to describe Sprinkles in a nutshell... Anyone who has ever watched Glee, Sprinkles would be the dog version of Brittany. I can't think of a better comparison. haha.

    Anyway back to my problem. She turned 6 months old on January 17. She is constantly around 5 other dogs (Lexie and my moms 3 Chihuahuas and 1 Cavalier). She is always a complete angel with them, very playful and friendly. We until the end of November had puppy play dates with her litter mates as well and there was never a problem.

    Unfortunately here in Lexington it has snowed the entire months of December and January so the leash walking and socialization took a backseat. I figured it was okay though since she is ALWAYS playing with one of the other dogs in our large fenced in backyard or house.

    Fast forward to her first day at obedience classes. All she does is bark constantly at the other dogs. They were all quite a bit larger than her so she would cower down to them or back away when she got close to them. She did a really great job paying attention in class the whole first class and the barking had stopped within the 1st 10 minutes. I thought maybe she was just intimidated by the larger dogs and she'd get used to it.

    Yesterday was our 2nd obedience class. I went in completely confident that she would behave herself, especially since her littermate/sister was going to be there. Needless to say, I was WRONG. The second she saw her sister she turned into an evil demon! I was so embarrassed. I felt like I didn't even know the dog she had turned into. I spent the whole class trying to restrain and quiet her. Her sister is really timid and would bark and growl but not approach Sprinkles. Sprinkles on the other hand would try and lunge at her. The trainer acted like this was common and worked a little on socializing the two but overall it was disastrous. I felt like crying.

    So today I took Sprinkles along with Lexie to Petsmart to try and work on behavior. Lexie has always been extremely friendly to other dogs and while she does bark occasionally at them, she is always friendly and NEVER aggressive (to continue with my Glee comparison, she's kind of like Quinn...nice to your face but probably not so much behind your back haha). I thought maybe if Sprinkles saw Lexie behave she'd catch on. Biggest mistake ever. Sprinkles constant barking made Lexie protective and bark constantly at all the other dogs. While Lexie never got aggressive they were both chasing down every dog in the store to bark at and we ended up just leaving frustrated!

    Now I'm just at a loss. Clearly I've done something terribly wrong with Sprinkles socialization but I have no idea how to change it! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated...Thanks!
    Maybe she would be better with just one or two other dogs, perhaps a pack overwhelms her and she feels insecure and threatened.

  9. #9
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    Maybe she would be better with just one or two other dogs, perhaps a pack overwhelms her and she feels insecure and threatened.
    NB the original post you responded to was actually from last January. If you read thru the thread, you'll see the most recent post was an update to say Sprinkles is now doing very well in group obedience classes.

    Great news about Sprinkles!!
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  10. #10
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    that is great news indeed, what a relief for you!
    Desrae, guardian of two tri-coloured cavaliers, Belle 3 years old and Bobby 1 year/8 months.

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