Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation plan

Use this area to seek or offer guidance on specific training or behavioural matters.
Post Reply
Posts: 2
Joined: 11 Feb 2016, 21:16

Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation plan

Post by Rogue » 11 Feb 2016, 23:02

Hi everyone, we picked up a 5 month old doodle puppy on Monday and slowly beginning to realise that we may have our work cut out for us... as reading everywhere that doodles are a 'closed door' after 12 weeks and now seriously concerned she will have missed out on the vital socialisation that she needs. For background, we have an existing 10 year old dog, 2 1 yr old bengal cats, 2 children (5 and 10) and 3 adults in the house.

She was living with other dogs, a cat and kids, so in fact she is quite dog, cat and human friendly, if a little timid to begin with, but soon warms up if faced with positive voices and affection. She comes across as a very 'calm' puppy 95% of the time but I am hoping that this is down to not being settled in.

We have so far had good success at a lot of things... she sleeps very well at night in her crate providing she is in our bedroom (she reacted very badly to being left downstairs in a crate with our other dog in the room with her and howled continuously, so we brought her up into a crate in our room and she immediately settled). She is happy to be left alone for an hour or two during the day in the company of our dog, providing she is not in the crate, in fact I think she would be fine at night not in the crate and downstairs, but as she is not house trained I won't risk that. She has already pretty well learnt the command 'Leave', and now does not try to approach our cats when told to leave. She plays well on her own. If I am completely 'on the ball' then she does not have accidents in the house, the last two days she has not had an accident but today we had a couple as I have not been able to be as 'all attentive', my fault. I have been playing a cd of 'socialisation noises' this evening and she coped well with all except a barking dog one, the rest she either ignored or simply listened actively to but no shaking or fear.

It's very early days - I appreciate that completely, but I am concerned having done a lot of reading that I must start socialising her with everything, and right now. I really really don't want a fearful adult if I can do anything to help it. She is booked in to a puppy training class starting the end of February (she is just within the age limit), but I had hoped to get somewhere with basic training before then. At the moment I am struggling to find her motivation, I have never had a puppy be so 'meh' about food or treats - even liver gets a lacklustre response! I try with toys, she won't play with me (too early days I guess, she must be on edge). She is fearful of the lead, but has accepted wearing a harness. She is fearful of the car, but has gone from panting and excessive drooling to only minor drooling in a few days of being taken out each day. I'm slightly concerned about a habit she has of barking and growling if someone walks in a room suddenly, or if she hears voices coming from behind a closed door. Maybe these things are all just because she has only been here a few days.

I guess what I'm hopeful for is that someone has been through similar and can advise on where to go first! And maybe a bit of reassurance that I haven't just made a mistake by not getting a 'proper' puppy, I will be really sad as I had great hopes of doing something like agility and taking her away on doggy friendly holidays and if she is nervy that might put paid to that, as well as making her life so much more restricted :(

Any advice would be gratefully received :)

Posts: 5011
Joined: 30 Oct 2007, 11:25
Location: Newton Abbot Devon

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by linny » 12 Feb 2016, 00:04

Considering you only picked her up on Monday it sounds as if she is coping really well for a pup of just 5 months ! :)
My advice would be stay relaxed, be consistent, and just love her. Doods are very clever so I'm sure she will soon settle and become one of the family.
We have had many rescue dogs over the years and no matter what age they were when they arrived love and consistent handling overcame most difficulties.
Now.... you are obliged to post pics here :) ...and we would love to know her name
Welcome !

Doodle Dee
Posts: 3346
Joined: 30 Dec 2012, 13:50
Location: Waltham Abbey

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Doodle Dee » 12 Feb 2016, 08:24

Agreed with Kinney. You are both doing remarkably well

Just by way of note Lulu was not a rescue but for months she was so not interest in food or treats.(other than enjoying the cats poo. But she eventually went off that. Yuck) That may have been the poodle in her but around 6 months she switched to being a Labrador !!!!
Lulu & Dx


Posts: 543
Joined: 22 Aug 2013, 20:05

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by We5Kings » 12 Feb 2016, 12:19

I just want to say what a brilliant start! It's so clear that you really care and want the v best for this pup. She's v lucky to have found your family.
As regards nervousness, I would say just keep calm and continue to reassure her. We got Dude at 8weeks, knowing that he was the quiet puppy of a litter of 11. We followed all the socialisation"rules"but there are still things that spook him. He's two and a half now and I think of him as "friendly but shy". He loves people and children BUT not too many at one time! ( he hides if we have more than 3guests :roll: ) He's terrified of fireworks and hates unexpected loud noises( particularly the glass recycling men!)Some people would find him "clingy",but for me he's perfect! We have accepted his quirks because he's a wonderful companion, brilliant on long off lead walks, gentle, patient and a one off :D
I would love to see pix of your pup, what's her name?Anny and Dude

Posts: 848
Joined: 11 Jan 2012, 20:22
Location: Swindon.

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Oscar2011 » 12 Feb 2016, 16:57


Certainly think you need to socialize as much as possible, but maybe in a more controlled environment if your worried. I know our vets does group dog walks with a behaviorist once a month, so maybe something like that.

Oscar & hoomans.

Mens sana in corpore sano.

Crazy flying dog,

Life of a Labradoodle,

Posts: 30
Joined: 04 Nov 2015, 19:05

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Debby » 12 Feb 2016, 17:47

I would agree with all the other comments
It sounds like you have already done a lot and are sensitive to her needs and it is early days for all of you
It sounds like a lot for her to adjust to

With my pup Willow from about 3 months she spent time at a diggy day care mixing with a pack of dogs initially just for the morning
She has loved the interaction with the other dogs

Perhaps it's worth looking into something like that for her
Good luck

Posts: 3307
Joined: 09 May 2013, 00:38
Location: N. E. Derbyshire

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Ianto! » 13 Feb 2016, 00:55

Hello Rogue, welcome to the forum! I just wanted to say Congratulations to you and your puppy - to you for adopting a wee dood in need, and to your dood for finding herself a loving and caring family.

I think you've done amazingly well already in just four or five days. If you think about it, she's had three homes within five months - she must be a little confused. Thankfully (although she won't realise it just yet) she's found her forever home this time... :)

Believe me, some of us (me!) who had a 'proper' puppy spent time wondering whether we had done the right thing! :oops: It may take a little while for her to settle down and for her true character to come out, but it sounds as if you have the love, and patience, she'll need to adapt.

Reading articles on the internet can be frightening - I've seen ones which suggest that, having missed vital windows, your dog is 'doomed'... you have the perfect opportunity to prove them wrong. Besides, it sounds as if your pup wasn't totally deprived of socialisation - humans (adults & children), dogs and a cat will all have helped. For instance, my doods have very limited access to children (you can't exactly ask to borrow them - especially for 'training purposes'!)

The fact that she's picked up house-training and 'Leave' so quickly shows that the door hasn't closed, she will learn to play with you and your family given time... She must already feel safe with you as she settled when allowed to sleep in your room.

I've been checking out some articles and videos by Ian Dunbar (recommended to another forum member by Bid) and have been working on my younger dood who has just started to be reactive with (some) dogs when we are walking. We've had a few successes in the past two days - so there is hope! Perhaps try not to flood her with new experiences until she's had a chance to settle?

Have you tried livercake, rather than liver, as a treat? Neither of mine can resist it... (although, tbh, Ianto finds it difficult to resist anything, not all of it food :roll: )

I adopted an 11 year old dog (not a doodle), who had rather a lot of 'issues' - but I can honestly say that by the time we lost him to old age four years later, he had completely stolen my heart... sometimes it's the dogs that we have to put the extra effort in with that give us the greatest rewards. So, no, I don't think you've made a mistake - the fact that you are asking advice/reassurance is proof that you already care about her enough to do whatever it takes to help her live her life to the full. :D

Oh yes, and another vote for photos here, too! :roll:
Anne, Ianto & Wyre x

Posts: 2099
Joined: 07 Oct 2012, 15:22

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Liz!! » 15 Feb 2016, 13:04

Sounds like all is going very well, considering! She must be very confused at leaving one family and finding herself in another.

I would definitely concentrate on her for at least one whole week - if only to get the house training done. With lola, we bought a little bell and hing it from a screw in the back door, on a long ribbon ending at nose height. I took her out to the loo when I knew her times were (with your pup, that is still going to be after excitement, after food, every couple of hours) and each time I went past the bell i'd push her nose against it so it rang and said the gouing to the loo words - go wee, or go poo. Then as she went in the garden I'd say them again. Every time, so the action gets associated with the words.

This routine is invaluable - eventually the dog dings the bell when it wants to 'go' and you don't have to worry about 'missing' signs like looking at the door. And when you want to go out, or want the dog to go so you can leave for an hour or so without worrying, you can take t into the garden and say the words and it will go.

But this does take concentrations and repeating and you being very consistent. But once done - it's such a brilliant thing!

Your dog is only 5 months - very young, and can be trained to do anything with some persistence and love and understanding, I think you will be fine, taking her to socialisation etc. you do have to remember though that she has had a huge upheaval i that her loved ones are now lost, she is bound to be a bit senstitive, and for all you know she was locked in a crate for extended periods.
Lola is a UK Assistance Dog, trained to alert me for low blood sugar by Medical Detection Dogs (

User avatar
Posts: 352
Joined: 06 Jan 2013, 15:03

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by doodleted » 15 Feb 2016, 14:03

Hi. What a great start. Your pup seems to have fallen on their paws. Hope it continues. Dont know if this will be any help to you. We re homed Mabel almost 18 mths ago. She was 4 at the time. Also at the time we had Patch (Jack Russell cross age 11) and Ted (labradoodle age 3). Mabel was nervous of everything, she hadn't been mistreated but due to a massive change in her previous family's circumstances she was a bit neglected being left on her own up to 11 hours a day.The first few walks with her were a bit of a nightmare she barked at people. ran off got distracted by sniffs didnt like loud noises cowered at bikes pushchairs and men in hats. Ted was brilliant he bonded with her almost from the start, our dog walking friends didnt fuss her but let her go to them in her own time. We just kept taking her into situations that were a bit out of her comfort zone and rewarding her all the time.
Your puppy is very young perhaps you could go to training classes or go lots of places were there are other dog walkers. Also having another dog will help.
All I can say is We still have a few bad days with Mabel but everyone tells us she is a much more confident and relaxed dog then when we first got her and she is such a love. Sadly we lost Patch so she has become even more closely bonded with Ted and we couldn't ask for more. I would recommend taking a rescue dog to anybody.
To me you sound like you are doing a brilliant job .
Its not easy but oh so rewarding.
Good luck.
Ted doodle

Posts: 2
Joined: 11 Feb 2016, 21:16

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Rogue » 15 Feb 2016, 20:10

Hi everyone thanks for your replies - it's been an intense few days since I posted and haven't been able to reply but have been reading your responses. It's still early days here, toilet training is still going well, crate training now down to a fine art - she will go in her crate with no fuss whether she is downstairs or upstairs now.

Other things aren't so easy, as she settles in she becomes more difficult in some ways and better in others. She is scared of the lead still (not when it is just on and she is dragging it around, but as soon as you pick it up she 'clocks out' and won't move) which is making it difficult with toilet training - until now she has come outside with me not on a lead and wasn't settled enough to wander so she would quite quickly go toilet, now she is settled and not on a lead she wanders, and loses focus, we have quite a big garden. I put her on a lead and she won't move from where it gets put on, without of course forcing her which will defeat the objective. So I have to let her wander until she decides it's time to go, I am freezing my backside off and aware that it is teaching her that she can do whatever she fancies and I have no choice. I am not sure how to fix this one unless she becomes ok with the lead!

Still struggling to find the golden treat with which to train her, so struggling with training in other areas also. Can't seem to captivate her attention at all!

She is playing more now, but in quite an aloof manner, if you get into it too much, again, she clocks out as though you are too intense for her and she's un-nerved, so trying to play with her for only a short period at a time and I clock out before she does, if you see what I mean!

She is booked onto a puppy course from the 24th February, I don't know if it will do any good if she is scared of the lead and I can't find a good treat for her before then!! Not sure what livercake is, but will google it!

Thanks again to everyone for the welcomes, I will try and post a photo from my phone!

Posts: 2099
Joined: 07 Oct 2012, 15:22

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Liz!! » 16 Feb 2016, 01:02

The way you get over a fear is by small steps. You could try wearing a lead slung over your shoulder. Don't use it - just wear it. Perhaps when a walk is not on the cards, at night while watching TV? Give her the occasional treat. Or a ball game. Or tummy rub. But don't touch the lead.

Leave one on the floor next to fun things, don't touch it, just have it there. Put one near her food bowls. Try and make a lead something that is around, and non-threatening.

i think when you eventually put one on, you must not ever pull on it - very hard if she is pulling away - it might be an idea to buy a harness, a light one, and attach the lead to a part where she can't feel it, and try and keep the lead as loose as possible. It might be she was hit with a lead, or pulled strongly by the neck.

that is a hard one..
Lola is a UK Assistance Dog, trained to alert me for low blood sugar by Medical Detection Dogs (

Olly's Mum
Posts: 36
Joined: 10 Oct 2014, 18:01

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Olly's Mum » 18 Feb 2016, 20:43

Sounds to me like you are doing an amazing job, you will look back in 6 months time and forget all this, trust me! We rescued Olly at 7 months old. He was an absolute nervous wreck when we went to see him. His owner took ages to catch him, he was that frightened of the lead. We took him a little walk with our whippet and saw a different side to him and knew that we had to give him a decent home. He was amazing with his old owners 3 children, as that was all he knew. He was scared stiff of the lead, cars, other dogs really freaked him out. I took him to our local supermarket and just sat on a bench. I didn't encourage anyone to fuss him, only if he approached them, then I allowed it. I now (Olly is 28 months old) have a dog that loves people and absolutely adores other dogs. He has gone from cowering in a hedge bottom, when any dog approached him, to running off after any dog he sees, to engage in play! Try training her with small pieces of chicken breast or cheese and try and train when she is hungry, it does make a difference. Good advice given about attaching the lead, leave a small one on her all the time, but without a loop on the end. You don't want it catching on anything. Pick it up, let it go, over and over again. Olly still freezes when we get the lead out, although he loves his walks. It's the head collar that he really hates, but it is soon forgotten once I have coaxed him gently out of the door! Have fun and carry on the good work.


User avatar
Posts: 18722
Joined: 03 Nov 2006, 20:30
Location: South Dorset

Re: Adopted 5 month puppy, help needed with socialisation pl

Post by Bid » 19 Feb 2016, 09:10

I assume that at 5 months she is all vaccinated? You mention all the work you are doing at home, which is great, but she needs to get out and about as soon as possible. You need to treat her the same as you would a younger puppy, as she has the same limits and experiences. Her fear of the car is fairly typical of a young pup who hasn't had many car trips, and it sounds as though you are doing the right things there. It is hard when you haven't found what she really loves - might it just be cuddles with you for the time being? If you can think of a behaviour you can ask for and reward (most people would use "sit" and treat but if the treat isn't working it is a little harder) then you can take her to all sorts of places and use that as a distraction if she gets worried. As she was fine with children, maybe a playground would be a good place to go. Do a little training a distance away but within earshot, and gradually move closer as she relaxes. If that goes well then you can branch out to other places. I used to take my pups to the town pedestrian precinct, sit on a bench and do all sorts of training, but they need to be happy with people for that, as they do attract people!

It is worth trying to get her interested in a ball (balls on ropes are best imo). One of mine is not food oriented at all, and the greatest reward in the world for her is to throw a ball. I use that at agility training to get her hyped up and the reward her. It would also help with the lead problem - if the ball hangs with the lead, and the two come out together, the lead will start to mean the promise of something good.

GOod luck - do keep us updated with your progress :D
Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices - Byron

Post Reply