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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a one year old lab, he will do triples, blind retrieves, force to a pile, good obedience but.................is scared to death of people. I've shot over him and hes fine but I'm a guide and I need a dog that's good around people. I just want know is it worth trying to keep him and just try and socialize more or give up. I would of socialized him more but I lost my last pup to parvo and I was scared to bring to my park. Opinions??

Kelly
 

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Kelly,
You need to give more info. Describe how he acts when people come around. What people desensitizing things have you tried so far that have not worked? He is a year now and healthy, you should not have to worry about parvo anymore with this dog. I understand your concern after loosing your other dog.
He sounds very talented if he is doing triples and blind retrieves at one year old, you have obviously spent a lot of time training him for hunting. He must learn fast. If you trained him to do all of the skills for a finished hunting dog, it seems like you should be able to train him worldly people skills. I do not think that in general a year is too old to do all of the hard work to socialize him now. You are going to have to patient, start with nice people and treats that really just ignore him at first. Let him go up to the people, do not have people overwhelm him, they can throw treats on the floor. It is going to be more difficult than if he isa little pup, but he sounds like he is worth a try. Unless of course there is some major detail about him that you left out of your post.
Just pretend that it is another skill of hunt dog training that he has to learn that he is not talented in, so he needs remedial help and lots of patience and understanding.
Colleen
 

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There are very specific techniques to use with unsocialized dogs to get them over this fear. Doing it wrong only causes further problems. Nothing is for sure either.

I doubt you will ever get this dog to be what you need as a hunting guide gun dog. Better to use another dog for that task.

This dog would be just fine as a personal hunting dog for one or two people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've been throwing bumpers with people around, walking him on leash around the park. I'm just getting to the point of give up. Is there any success out there?

Kelly
 

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I don't know that I would give up yet. You might try to find a really good obedience trainer that gives group classes and sign up - that gives you a weekly supply of 'strangers' and an instructor that can hopefully help. Be patient but don't reinforce the dog's fearfulness either. We do rehabilitate shy rescued dogs pretty often, some w/ more success than others - it takes time and committment.
 

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I would not give up on him. Where are you located? Might look to a retriever club, someone who knows dogs more than just fluffy at the park. Even a good animal behaviorist would be a good try since the dog is already at an operational level for your job it wouldn't hurt to invest a little in him to fix the issue.

Did he act like that when he was in training?
 

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We have daycare at the kennel where I work. People will bring in their dogs from 1 to 5 days a week to socialize with other dogs and people. I have seen some great turnarounds from dogs with lots of fear and insecurity to dogs that are happy to see everyone. You want to find a boarding or daycare center that will spend the time with your dog that is needed not just stick him in a kennel or a crate for the day. Best of luck to you, it sounds like the dog is worth the effort.
 

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Not sure if you have taken him to a vet. Does he have a thyroid problem?
 

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Not sure if you have taken him to a vet. Does he have a thyroid problem?
Good point!!! The thyroid is a tricky gland. If there are no health issues and the dogs was socialized properly his whole life, I would be concerned.

I have a wonderful bitch that I knew from the whelping box, she had a temperament issue. Namely shy of people and situations. I was bound and determined to train her to deal with her issue. It worked sorta. The boogie man will always be in the closet and will appear out of the blue. Now having said that I tried venues with her that were jammed packed with people. Agility and obedience, plus her field work. She now finally likes men, strange women and different environments,,, I'm still working on children.

So long story short... You can NOT change temperament. You can only hope that the dog has a big enough heart that they will try to manage their shortcomings through their training. It's a lot, and I mean a lot of work. Fortunately for Amy I was gaga over her enough and her clownish personality that I felt the effort was worth it. Not to mention she's drop dead gorgeous and has very good type.

Her thyroid was low normal and with drug therapy she clinically did improve.

Good luck!!! Try another venue for a while. It could be the ticket.

Angie
 

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I'd sell her to a hunter and buy another pup.

Life is to short to put up with a head case. I had a German Wirehair Pointer who was spooky with people and places from the git go. She got better with time but was never good. She died at 9 and I bought my first lab. I wouldn't go through that again. With your job, you can't have it.
 

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It's a tough call and only the person who has raised the pup knows every thing that is going on now and from the begining. I have a 12 year old that was a lonner from the get go, would go and hide in the other room as a puppy, very selective on what strangers she trusted ( in our home) on a hunting trip she would hunt for anyone, very relaxed in a setting she wasn't familar with. Had her spayed, but went through a few puppys and she turned the corner, today loves everyone that comes through the door, but still to this day trains much better if it is a small group that she knows, gets real nevous in large groups, except hunting..

On the other hand we had a yellow male that was VERY well soc. with other dogs and ALL ages of humans. Around 6 monthes of age he started to develope a really bad fear aggression with people he didn't know. It was sad but we tried everything and ended up re homeing him to a single family/hunting home. The new owner was a single male that Cooper took to right away and the new owner though he won the lottery.

Shy and fearfull are two different animals...
 

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my friend had a dog like this, i tried like you to bring him around more people, took him to a small shopping area(on a short lead), people walking by steady. at the time he was about 82 pound handsome fit lab. People use to the friendly old labrador retriever would approach and want to pet him. He wanted no part of that and I thought it was creating a habit of being fearful of people. And also I was afraid, based on the intelligence of some people, that one may get to close, and get bit. what you have to do is create a [U]controlled[/U] situation where your dog is relaxed and having fun while meeting someone new. maybe have them thro a fun bumper or something the dog enjoys, use different people (but people that know what you are doing)
good luck

t
 

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Sell this one to a hunting family. Buy a dog and take it everywhere you go for the first few weeks. Oh, and by the way if you are a guide why wasn't the dog with you at camp the whole time hanging around with all sorts of new and different folks while you were there. Sometimes what we see as a problem with the dog is a problem with how we have handled or worked with the dog in the past.
 

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Sell this one to a hunting family. Buy a dog and take it everywhere you go for the first few weeks. Oh, and by the way if you are a guide why wasn't the dog with you at camp the whole time hanging around with all sorts of new and different folks while you were there. Sometimes what we see as a problem with the dog is a problem with how we have handled or worked with the dog in the past.
Good point!!!

Angie
 

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I'd sell her to a hunter and buy another pup.

Life is to short to put up with a head case. I had a German Wirehair Pointer who was spooky with people and places from the git go. She got better with time but was never good. She died at 9 and I bought my first lab. I wouldn't go through that again. With your job, you can't have it.
For reel's???? I don't get it. Are hunters the best alternative to kicking a dog to the curb?

To me, that shows attitude, and hierarchy. Got one with some of the same issues, socialization was/is not the problem. For the record, I will put a conservation (meat dog) ahead of FT dogs, (playing the games) for obvious reasons. The connotation to sell to "hunter" does not rest well with me. It appears to be very condescending. Why would you want to sell this skiddish dog to to a hunter?

Howard,

Just a different perspective--from a meat dawg guy.


I do appreciate all of your posts.


John
 

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I've only been a part of this forum for a very short period of time and I've about had it with the people on here. The guy has a very sincere question. The negativity, worst case scenario, pessamists really bother me.

To the Op, you can do everything right and dogs will inherently have issues. Some people can do everything wrong and still have great dogs.

I have no idea how to handle your situation but I know there is almost always ways to make it better....the question you have to ask is how much time and effort will you put into it.

Some of the posts here sounded like they gave you some positive advice and at least a direction.

In the end it sounds like you have a heck of a great dog that will be perfect even if it means you only get to take him out when you finally get the time to hunt by yourself or with your closest buds.
 

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For reel's???? I don't get it. Are hunters the best alternative to kicking a dog to the curb?

To me, that shows attitude, and hierarchy. Got one with some of the same issues, socialization was/is not the problem. For the record, I will put a conservation (meat dog) ahead of FT dogs, (playing the games) for obvious reasons. The connotation to sell to "hunter" does not rest well with me. It appears to be very condescending. Why would you want to sell this skiddish dog to to a hunter?

Howard,

Just a different perspective--from a meat dawg guy.


I do appreciate all of your posts.


John
I think the best place for this dog is with a hunter. Probably one who hunts alone or with just a small group. No need to waste his talent, drive, and training.

I don't think a fearful dog will do well at trials even if talented enough or hunt tests as these are people events with lots of people around and bird boys out in the field. This does depend on the amount of fearfulness in the dog. If it can handle being near judges, honor dogs and people, and running near a bird boy then go for it. But I thought if the dog could handle that then it would be alright being around a guide's clients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, I didn't say this but ever since duck season ended we have trained on.different things everyday, There is no days off. Hes a type two, would pee or run away. I guess I'm spoiled because most my dogs have been ready to hunt by 6 months and have never had socialization problems. So I'm in this weird embarrassing situation, I mean my username is kellygunner, Kelly is my name, gunner was my favorite dog ever. We were inseparable, hell he hiked mount Whitney with me. So this pup,Skillet, loves me but I cant even take to the park without him freaking out. Its not a matter of if I willing to do the effort cause like today we trained twice, so I'm willing to do whatever it takes. But its not a case if it doesn't work out oh well, no I HAVE to have a dog that runs.
Btw- the why didn't leave him at the "camp" , we don't have a lodge yet. Another idea I had was to let my boss watch him for a couple of weeks just to get the focus off me and start trusting a stranger. Plus he has two other labs. Thoughts?

Kelly
 

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The dog in my post runs at a master level, took him out last day of duck season cuz
my dog was prego.........he did well..............dont give up on your dog, he won't give up on you
 
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