Puppy window for socializing is closing. What can I do?

  1. Get in the car, drive to a busy parking lot or park. And sit there in the car and let her watch everything. Give her treats when she’s calm. After she looks at something scary and decides to look at you instead. Every time she checks in with you. That is one of the easiest ways you can socialize.

  2. I got my pup at 4 months with zero socialisation. I ended up getting a behaviourist. 2 things that helped majorly.

  3. Puppy classes are a great idea! As more and more research is being done into socialization the perspective of “the window closes at 12 weeks” is losing ground. Yes, it’s a critical socialization period and you should do whatever you can to make use of it, but the good news is that socialization is a continuous process until at least adulthood (18-24 months depending on breed size and individual factors), and possibly beyond. Try finding a controlled setting for your pup to interact off-leash with stable dogs. If she’s scared of new people, one thing you can do in the house is put a bowl of treats by the front door and ask people that come in to take a few and spread them on the ground in front of them when they enter. Outside, you can ask strangers to not approach but let the pup go to them, and if she does give some treats for the strangers to spread on the ground for the pup, that way, she gets to interact at her own pace. Your window is not closed, so don’t panic, and focus on doing what you can together with your pup, going at her pace at all times!

  4. Thank you so much. That’s good info I’m just freaking out I guess. I love her very much and I know she’s a good girl but I won’t be able to keep her if we can’t move past this eventually because it can be a risk to my god daughter who lives with me. And I don’t want to be a bad dog mom :(

  5. Socialisation is an ongoing thing. I got my rescue greyhound when he was 3 and had to teach him all about pet life: stairs, meeting people, all different dogs, all his training and obedience. I've had him for almost two years today and this morning a hot air balloon came down at our local dog park and he was so excited to explore it (granted we got super lucky with a dog whose first response is curiosity and not fear and it's a major reason why we foster failed) but encouraging calm curiosity and letting him take his time with anything and rewarding him for exploring (e.g. A motorbike parked on the footpath was initially scary and now he doesn't blink twice.

  6. The socialization window is not hard and fast and “socialization” should be viewed as more of a continuous process. She is already demonstrating signs of discomfort around other people and dogs so you know you’ll have to be more proactive about it. The dog park is likely too much for her especially at this age. It’s better to have a few positive interactions with one to two friendly adult dogs often, than meeting a bunch of dogs at once at the dog park. You want variety in the dogs she meets, variety in size, age, “style” (fluffy, smooth coated, playful, aloof). I’d definitely sign up for the puppy class in January. Even if you just counter-condition while she hangs out around other dogs, it’ll be good for her. Taking her to the dog park but counter-conditioning her while standing outside it will be better for her than going in, right now.

  7. I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but that’s what I do! Our dog park is NEVER busy and I was worried about scaring her too much so when there’s no dogs there I let her walk around to get used to a variety of smells and when people come with their dogs I just stand outside with her and let her meet some of them one on one before they go in/after they come out. And I went to talk to a trainer just now and HOPEFULLY she will be in a class within a week or two. I was able to find someone who is willing and able to work with my work schedule

  8. The "window" isn't a specific thing that starts at (A) and ends right at (B). Just socialize anyway. Dogs have the ability to learn skills at any time in life. Even if tendencies develop during crucial periods those tendencies are still malleable. You are okay. Just try to socialize. The fact that you are asking this question at all tells me you are more cognizant than the average person and your dog is going to be fine.

  9. Remember socialization is about more than playing nice with other dogs, it’s also about being exposed to lots of things in a safe and positive way.

  10. That’s what I’m working on currently 😅 I think I just get freaked out because since she is mostly pit there’s already a lot of stigma around her so the reaction people have when she barks/growls is a LOT different than what they would have if it were another dog. At least where I live that’s the case

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