Need help with socializing my scared/ outgoing puppy

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/fc7nqu/need_help_with_socializing_my_scared_outgoing/

Here`s another great article:

I need advice on my scared/outgoing dog lol

(This is sort of long but I want to give all details to get the best advice and do what’s best for my puppy)

Hello.

I have 5 month old black lab/pit bull/ golden shepherd mix puppy that we’ve had since 8 weeks. Since even meeting her at the shelter she was always more scared of newer things than the other puppies at the shelter. We had to hold her while she was shaking until she realized she was okay and then went crazy and started playing lol. When she’s not nervous she’s such an outgoing, needs to be the center of attention dog. We socialized her with a ton of people and as many dogs as we could without her vaccinations. She LOVES people, will run up to anyone with the wiggle butts to give kisses and love, but dogs are a different story.

Every dog we’ve introduced her too she would shake and run on our lap. We wouldn’t try to force it but wouldn’t pick her up and take her away. She always warmed up by the second time and would play and jump all over them, but would have these crying whimpers but look so excited so we thought it was from excitement it was because she was so young it’s normal. (Remember the crying) When we got her fully vaccinated at 4 months, we decided to take her to doggy day care for 2 days a week because my husband works day, and I work nights and I needed to start sleeping during the day. The vet thought it was a great idea and help burn puppy energy and get her more socialized. We knew she could get a little scared but she was getting better with dogs, not shaking but wouldn’t run up to them but butt up in the air wanting to play. I was more nervous that she though I’d be abandoning her since she’s so bonded with me than anything else.

Our first day, she runs right for the daycare counselors wiggle butts and all didn’t even care that they took her away from me. At this camp the first day they want you to wait 30 minutes to see how they react before leaving. They put her with the small dogs since at 4 months she was 28 pounds and a puppy. She absolutely hated it. She hid behind the daycare counselor and was cowering and shaking with her tail in between her legs. After 20 mins, the daycare counselor brought her back to me and she lit up like a firecracker and gave everyone kisses. They told us to bring her back the next day really early so she could be one of the first dogs and then she could be introduced to the dogs one by one. We thought okay she’s just a puppy this was the first time around a lot of dogs and it might be all the barking making her nervous. We took her home, she got the stress relief zoomies, and was a happy dog the rest of the day. The next day we took her early. She did better, still nervous but tail in the air, sniffing other dogs, but she was glued to the counselor (the daycare has a webcam we can watch). Followed her everywhere, she was acting like she wanted to play with the other dogs. Her tail would go crazy and she would jump at them and when they would jump back she ran away to the counselor and jump on her excited. I was getting kind of annoyed with the counselor because she wasn’t encouraging her to play with the other dogs. She really didn’t play with a dog up until the first hour when an energetic dog didn’t let up on her and she realized that he wasn’t going to hurt her and then she played like a crazy lady ONLY with this dog. She would continue to want to play with the other dogs but get scared but then keep going by them to play and running away. We took her to camp another time that week and she did a lot better, playing with multiple dogs and we thought that she was finally getting over this fear.

The next time we waited five days to take her since I was on a vacation from work. I still socialized her with other new dogs on hikes (did fine). Then took her back to day care 5 days after the last one and she was scared again, running away from the other dogs with her tail in between her legs and glued to the counselor. Finally started to warm up a little by doing the I wanna play thing but run away and then come back to play and run away, by the end of the camp she was playing with multiple dogs, I thought ok she just needs to get used to it again and we need to keep socializing.

That brings us to today, it’s been 2 days since that last daycare day and it was a really nice day, so my two friends and their dogs met my dog and I up at the dog park. This was her first time at the dog park so I did expect her to be nervous, but she’s comfortable around my friends two dog so I was like ok atleast she has them. She acted very confusing to me. She would run up to the other dogs (who were bigger than her) with her tail in between her legs trying to play and crying, when the dog would play back she would engage but her tail was still in between her legs and she was like crying for the first hour. She was even crying when she was playing with my friends dog. She wasn’t shaking or cowering and was actively running after the dogs and would play but still with her tail in between her legs crying but keep jumping on them to play. So at this point, I didn’t think she was super terrified, I’ve seen that with the hiding/cowering/ and shaking. I just was like I think I need to just let her plan and warm up and just let her know I’m here. It was the other dog moms that I would tell “oh she’s okay, she’s just getting used to playing but she keeps jumping at your dog to play so she wants to” but they would think that she’s scared bc of the crying. These other dog moms would say “oh she’s doing so well for the first time at the park and being around all these dogs, it’s normal for her to be scared” and try to put the dogs in time out from one another. I would then explain that this isn’t her first time around a lot of dogs, she goes to dog daycare which can have up to 20 dogs and just needs to warm up because she does this at daycare too. I was trying to avoid spacing them away if they were playing so she would get used to it despite the crying, since I think she needs to just be around the dogs and learn to be comfortable and I know my dog if she was scared I’d take her out of the situation. She didn’t want to be out of it because she kept running after the dog lol. Finally, after an hour of being there she was having the time of her life no crying, no tail between the legs, and was trying to play with Great Danes. She met a German shepherd energetic friend that matched her energy she was playing with and she didn’t want to leave lol. The rest of the day she’s been a happy but exhausted doggy.

So I need advice…. am I doing it wrong trying to let her just get over the initial fear in the beginning since she keeps trying to play even though she’s crying? Is there a better way to do this or has anyone experienced this? And how do I tell other dog moms to stop reassuring my dog when she’s crying or acting like that because then she thinks it’s okay. Should I have taken her out of the park sooner and given space or did I push her too much? I don’t want to coddle my dog but I don’t want to push her too much. thank you for reading all of this!

babygirl sleeping after camp

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