I have always wondered what order you should go in to socialize your dog....Unfortunately, Napolean has limited socialization...he has snapped at dogs a couple of times (only because of me though...I had nervous energy, the leash was tight, etc) but have not gotten into any fights. He asserts dominance but knows his place at the right times...most times meeting other dogs he approaches head high, tail up (nub up), and standing ridge...other times he just completely ignores the other dog. He's very well trainable and can easily be socialized if I train him enough. I was wondering: What steps do(did) you take to socialize your pup? Also, how do you know if it's playful play and not something totally different? How do you read your dog? Did you train walking by other dogs first then greeting? He mostly has a problem at greeting. Thanks ahead of time!

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How old is Napolean? Usually the majority of what we think of as socialization is done as a puppy. It is sometimes possible to train a adult dog to be more accepting of other dogs, but you can't really change their temperament. I personally would not allow my dogs to greet another dog if they had their tail and hackles up. That usually means they're uncomfortable, on edge, and/or over excited. I would make him sit and calm down before I allowed the dogs to meet.

Yea, I know it's pretty late >.< He's turning five in November. Back then I did not know that so all the puppy training was pretty basic. I understand. Usually Napolean meets fine and then when he starts sniffing he begins to get all rigid.

How long are the "introductions"? I believe you should keep them very short, maybe 10 seconds and then move on. When you see him start to get rigid I would immediately try to get his attention and move away from the other dog.

Socializing a dog takes place in the critical window of a puppy's life until the 16 week mark. It is roughly at this point in time when all necessary precautions to get a bomb-proof, well-adjusted dog in society should be done. But for an adult dog, I suppose you could make him more "tolerant" of other dogs. But he'll probably never be crazy about them, if he isn't already.

I'd start off with asking for a "down" before he is allowed to approach other dogs. You want to break that crescendo of anxiety he displays in the form of a stiff neck, erect tail, and hackles up. Yawn, lick your lips, blink slowly, gradually turn your head away while asking him to look at you. These are all calming signals that tell the dog, "We're chilling". If someone's dog comes barreling towards you on a leash, ask the person to please give your dog some space so he is calm and steady before greeting the other. I'd avoid dog parks while you are trying to get him to be cooler about other dogs, oddly enough, because off-leash areas tend to reward poorly mannered dogs. They're allowed to run willy-nilly into others' faces, and often instigate a startled reaction.

When a dog wants to just play, it's VERY obvious in their body language. They do play bows, their tail wiggles from side to side and is not necessarily carried erect. Their "energy" just crackles with happiness, and it's very infectious. I'm not sure how to describe it. When Ace sees a poorly socialized dog straining at the end of its leash, he knows it's not for play, and I have come to know it too. He actually avoids such head cases. But when he sees a dog he would like to engage in play, he circles around the dog, and they break the "face off" with play bows from each other.

Ace had a problem with greeting other dogs for a while at the 5 month mark, as he was SO overcome with excitement to see them, that he'd start barking and snorting and standing up on his hind legs. Basically, he was an out of control puppy on the end of his leash. I first didn't let him approach ANY dog, just walk past them. Once he could walk past them properly, I started approaching the calmest dogs. The fat neighborhood lab, the ancient Yorkshire were all good candidates for this. Ace learned to come up to them in the proper way actually quite naturally. Like they say, practice makes perfect. Dogs speak each other's language. There are just various levels of fluency and willingness to talk. Ace had all the tools, he was just too flustered to properly introduce himself. Now, though, he is an incredible judge of other dogs' characters and I trust him implicitly to behave himself appropriately no matter what dog we're faced with!

Yes, I just want him tolerant...actually he is VERY playful like Ace...I can't really read him. At times he is dominant, others he is WAY too crazy (as you described Ace), and other times he just ignores the other dog...I'm not sure what goes through his mind. Maybe he is able to read the other dog and determine if one is a challenge (he should dominant), playful (so he should jump all over them to play), or shy (so he ignores them in return). Okay, what about face sniffing and mouthing? Is that a sign of dominance or play? Napolean reacts a lot based on how I feel and the other dog. He really doesn't have his OWN way of reacting xP I can't really say he's okay walking by other dogs because at times he is and other times he's not...I guess I will have to train him constantly until every reaction is the same right? Then I can do the same meeting other dogs..? Thanks for the advice! Ace sounds a lot like Napolean (except probably a little calmer).

I too have an unsocial Corgi. Chase is about 8 months old now, I did not socialize him properly. It is completely my fault.
He does not accept other dogs, he doesn't even greet them. He just barks and growls at them. I have to find a way to solve this and completely socialize him because my fiance and I are planning on getting another dog, maybe two, in the future. I believe he can be socialized I am just not sure how to teach this.

I am not sure what to do at this point. I realize now that I should have socialized him more with people and dogs because he really barks at strangers too. We are working on that. He has met new people friends and successfully made friends with them. I just have to first explain the No talk, No touch, No eye contact rule to visitors. And find people who are calm enough to help me introduce him to new people.
I will be watching this post to see what others say. You are not alone!

That's good to know that my corgi isn't the only one :O He's okay at the moment but I need to teach him for pay attention to ME. He tends to just wander of into doggie wonder land or something (he won't listen to me and sometimes even if I have a treat...when I don't have a treat maan there is no way I'm getting his attention). I would suggest for Chase that you just expose him more to socialization. Start by walking by or just seeing a distraction and once he realizes there is no threat or need to react you can move from there :)

This definitely sounds familiar - we adopted Chewey when he was approx 9-12 mos old (not sure) and although in general he was good with other dogs off-leash on-leash was a _completely_ different story.  He would lunge/bark/growl at pretty much every dog that went by (sometimes he would do it with people walking by as well).  

Fortunately we found a trainer who had owned/showed Corgi's before and who was familiar with the breed's quirks... The other saving grace was that Chewey is very food motivated.  Basically it boiled down to using food to get his attention long before he started to "zero" in on the other dog.  As soon as I would see another dog off in the distance I would tell tell him to watch me (bringing a treat up to my forehead helped with that particular exercise ;->) and then as we got closer I would keep his attention and tell him to leave it, making sure that he saw the treat in my hand, even if I had to stick it in front of his nose and lure him with it.   If he successfully walked by the other dog without lunging/growling I would praise him lavishly and give him the treat.    We went through a lot of string cheese  (aka "corgi crack") during that period  ;->

It took a lot of time and practice (well over 6 mos I'd guess) and I suspect I'll always have to be somewhat vigilant, although now I can typically just tell him to leave it without having to go through too many hoops.  The only time that it's usually a problem now is if the other dog makes an aggressive move towards him (or stares at him a bit too intently).


When I took my pup (6 months back then) to the puppy class, there were a few unsociable adult dogs. What the trainer suggested us was to practices "Passing dog". (It is actually very good for the puppy as well) It is very similar as Diane said --- Feed the treat when a dog is passing.

I will add some points here:

- RELAX YOURSELF! Dogs will sense the energy from you (creepy...) Sometimes I would do the same thing as you do --- holding the leash too tight, as I don't want the dog to jump on people or dogs. But sometimes unintentionally, I let it loose , I found the dog becomes calmer when approaching and less jumping. Maybe because the target is in her reach so she doesn't need to jump or rush into it.

- If you are working on passing dogs, you must use the HIGHEST value treat which is the treat your dog will take in ANY circumstances. Any that treat will only be given when you practice this. (Later, when your dog gets the idea to pay attention to you when there is a dog passing, you could gradually lower the value of the treat) For an adult dog, it might take a little longer to change the behavior, just hang in there.

- Put one treat in your mouth, b/w your lips. You probably need to use a treat in your hand at first to lure the dog to pay attention to you. You could give the treat from you hand and hopefully you dog will look at you and ask for more, then you give another treat from your lips (use your hand of course...);

OR, if your dog will not look at you after having the treat from your hand, you could try to lure the dog (move the treat slowly toward your face so the dog will follow the movement of the treat)  with the treat in your hand. when you get the eye contact with the dog, give the treat from your hand. If he keeps his attention to you, give the other treat b/w your lips.

- Instead of walking, you might just want to sit/stand somewhere. So, YOU could be prepared when there is a dog approaching. You also could do some crazy baby talks to keep your dog attention, or keep feeding your dog high value treats if he looks at you when other dogs are approaching.

- Gentle leader might help to calm the dog down. I don't know whether you dog use Gentle Leader (head halter).  'Cause the gentle leader will sending the calming signal to your dog so that you could easily get your dog attention in those distracted environment. However, let your dog get used to the gentle leader is another story (Neither my dog nor myself will really like it. BUT, IT HELPS!) --- Try without the gentle leader if you are not using it, and go from there.

Start from small and build up gradually. Check different ways! Good luck:-)

Oh yeah, I forgot about the gentle leader... that actually worked well  for us in combination with the treats, etc.  We don't have to use it any more but it was very effective when he was at his worst.  And as Nora said just having your dog sit (and focus on you) while other dogs pass by is definitely good practice.   Lots of practice in different situations is very key.    I don't know that he'll ever be great about saying "hello" to another dog when he's on leash but at least we can walk by more or less normally now...

Thanks for the suggestions!! It helps a lot :) I used the put the treat to my face method to get him to pay attention. I'm surprised he knows his recall so well! At one point he pulled toward a dog but I used the recall and turned back :D Thanks again!

The critical socialization period ends at 4 mos. of age. However, socialization should continue throughout the dog's life. There is no "order" of socialization, but the period of socialization that follows leaving the litter at 8 weeks is primarily the human socialization period. Puppies should meet 100 new people in the first 90 days of life and then another 100, according to veterinarian, Dr. Ian Dunbar. They should also meet other animals, including dogs and puppies under controlled circumstances. A good rule of thumb is to never force your dog into any situations in which he feels uneasy. Doing so can make him more fearful or aggressive. It's impossible to write a complete response here on how to read your dog but watch your puppy's response. If he runs away and tries to hide he is not enjoying himself. Tucked tail and ears back means he's afraid. Yawning and lick licking means he's uncertain. Training and socialization go hand in hand. Teach your dog/puppy how to do polite greetings - I recommend clicker training.


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