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I took Oona to the vet today for a sudden onset, suspected (now confirmed) UTI. This booked-today-in-a-panic appointment was 5 days short of what would have been her 12 week vax appointment and first checkup with her vet. They are not allowing us in with the animals, instead they meet us in the parking lot and bring the pet inside.

Oona was quite worried about being taken away, and needed me to walk with her to the door, and then apparently needed a lot of coaxing with treats to warm up, as reported by the vet on the phone and the receptionist when she brought her back out to my car,and the vet told me they included a website to check out links about socializing your puppy ("I know it's hard with the pandemic", she said).

We've been taking her for walks and letting her meet all kinds of people, and if they want we have let them give her treats. She's met a few friends of ours, including their kids, outside in our yard and in one of their yards, and at the park. She has met a handful of neighborhood dogs and has initiated playful bowing and nipping with several of them. She's generally pretty brave and curious (shies away from folks trying to pat her head from above but otherwise is happy to see everyone including and especially kids) and we haven't been worried about her behaving undersocialized. The only thing we have not been able to do is bring her to places indoors like other people's homes, or the inside of the vet office - because of the pandemic. We are signed up for a puppy class that starts in a couple of weeks.

Isn't it pretty normal for a puppy to be scared about being taken into a strange new place by strangers? I'm pretty confident she would have been quiet but fine if I had been allowed to accompany her. It was a weird morning to begin with for both of us (I had to cram her into her almost-outgrown puppy crate since I had to take her by myself in the car, for instance, and she was uncomfortable and constantly peeing.) I am probably being over sensitive about the socialization comment from the vet - maybe they reference this info with all new patients - but like - I literally don't know what more I could be doing at this point?
 

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My bet is they are seeing a lot of under socialized puppies from covid. It does sound like Oona is on the shy side, but from the vet's perspective they don't know if that's just her nature or if it's because she hasn't been taken out much. So they are probably just proactively trying to make sure owners know about proper socialization. If you had been able to go in you could have talked more about it, so I wouldn't take it too personally. I think any puppy would be a little nervous to be taken away by strangers, and especially a puppy that is naturally more cautious.

As I've mentioned before, many shy puppies do come out of their shells with gentle socialization so there is a good chance she won't always be shy the way she is now as long as you keep up the work with her. :)

When there wasn't covid around, I'd say a good idea would be to stop by the vet occasionally for "happy visits" so she has a chance to go in, say hello to the receptionist, get a treat, and leave with nothing bad happening. They may or may not be allowing this to happen currently. But if you ask, they may let you bring her and have a tech take her in, give her a cookie, weigh her, and bring her back out to you. Quick happy visits like that can help to build confidence.
 

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I think her nervousness at the vet sounds pretty normal. A lot of adult dogs are freaked out by the covid procedures, too.

But you've only got a month or so left in that key early socialization window, so I understand the vet's concern. Were you already working through a checklist on your own? It's so much more than just meeting people and other dogs, although it sounds like you're doing a great job there (A lot of dog owners don't.)

At 9 weeks, Peggy was super spooked by her first vet visit. Luckily, we were able to get her back there a week later for a happy visit: Lots of treats, a mock exam, etc. I do think it's important you recreate today's experience in a more positive way as soon as possible.
 

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I like to take my pups to places like Rona, or other home reno stores or auto supply places, etc.
At least where I am, dogs are allowed but not common so it's quite safe.
A good resource to check out, if you are on FB, is the Pandemic Puppy Raising Support Group. Lots of good ideas there, and they have units on many different topics.
As far as how typical? Lots of puppies that are 12 weeks and under are quite outgoing and friendly to anybody, even if they will not eventually be that way as adults. I work in a vet clinic, and generally speaking, the 8-12 week pups are fearless and fun (although there is a usually a fear period in there for most dogs, so we do sometimes see that). Of course these pups have only been with their owners for a few weeks at most by this point. At the 16 week point we are more likely to see attachment to the owner over other people.
Otoh, probably the most common breeds are Labs, Goldens, and Shih Tzu. All are bred to be friendly and outgoing. It's possible that seeing pups like that a lot makes it harder to accept different breed personalities as normal.
 

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Were you already working through a checklist on your own? It's so much more than just meeting people and other dogs, although it sounds like you're doing a great job there (A lot of dog owners don't.)
I wasn't working with a specific list, but just now having checked out a couple, she has been exposed to a lot of things on the outdoor exposures. We live in a medium-traffic area near a hospital, school, busy walking trail/bike path, so she's getting to experience lots of noises, school bells, big construction vehicles, bikes, strollers, skateboards, wheelchairs, different surfaces in the house and outdoors and she has handled most of these things pretty well. Most of the time she sits and calmly eats a treat (with bikes and runners etc). I will look for an onling pandemic puppy group to find out how people are managing workarounds for indoor stuff and interactions.
 

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Like Raindrops said, it's likely that they're seeing a lot of under socialized puppies right now and want to bite any future problems in the rear. It's also very possible that they're just handing this information out to all puppy owners right now because of that, so A+ thinking on their part if that is the case.
 

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When there wasn't covid around, I'd say a good idea would be to stop by the vet occasionally for "happy visits" so she has a chance to go in, say hello to the receptionist, get a treat, and leave with nothing bad happening. They may or may not be allowing this to happen currently. But if you ask, they may let you bring her and have a tech take her in, give her a cookie, weigh her, and bring her back out to you. Quick happy visits like that can help to build confidence.
I don't think that will be possible at the vet's, but there is a pet store in the same plaza that I'm sure they will be happy to have her come for a fun visit.
 

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...the vet told me they included a website to check out links about socializing your puppy...
Ha-ha-ha, Oona must have turned that place out. Her attitude is nobody is stealing her from you without her resisting. Good for her. Last thing you want is a dog who will walk off with any stranger.

If I sound edgy, well tough for the vet. They set the rules you couldn't be in there, that's his/her job to deal with it, and no kidding, we're in a pandemic. Don't waste another 5 seconds feeling "pandemic dog-owner shamed". I guess that's a new thing, eh? Lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Did anything painful happen to her at this vet visit? If so, it might be worth asking if you can bring her back for a quick visit to the waiting room for treats.

The smell of a veterinary clinic is pretty hard to replicate elsewhere.
Yeah I'm slightly worried about this, but other than being scared and uncomfortable I don't think she had anything painful done to her - as far as I heard, they looked her over, and fed her lots of treats which they said she enjoyed, while waiting for her to warm up and give them some drops of pee. They also photographed her bite to refer her to the dental vet (that's for another post, blarg). No shots or handling we haven't already been doing happily (feet, mouth, ears, butt, teeth) except maybe palpating her (I don't know if they did that but pediatricians always do, lol)
 

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We are going back in a week-ish for her vaccines (delayed a few days until her antibiotics are done), but I will maybe call and ask if I can bring her for a fun treat visit once in the meantime. I bet the receptionists would oblige even if I can't go in. I expect she will respond well to that because there is a little coffee shop outpost on the trail we walk on, and the first week we had Oona, one of the staff ran out to meet her and fed her a cookie, and now every time we walk past she wants to stop there for visits.
 

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Last thing you want is a dog who will walk off with any stranger.
Lol. Peggy walks away from us at the vet without a backward glance. But I consider that a win after her early apprehension. I suspect she won't go so willingly once she's experienced any sort of real trauma there.

Oona's human, in addition to the treat visit, maybe do some fun "exams" on a bare table at home. This was part of Peggy's puppy classes and I think it really helped. The retired vet tech who did this part of the class would even wear a witch's hat sometimes, to make it extra weird.

So cute that Oona remembers that one happy time at the coffee shop. :) Peggy's the same with drive-thrus, because every once in a while someone will offer her a dog biscuit through the window. A poodle never forgets!
 

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It's one thing to take a puppy to the pet store where you walk in with them, you let them pick out a toy, you interact with people & the puppy can feed off of or read your level of comfort & be okay. If the pup is bothered by something, the handler can address it to build confidence. But it's another to be taken off from a parking lot into a vet clinic by a stranger, to enter in where things smell weird, sounds are unsettling (if there's an animal in there in pain), & if they're going to get stuck, poked, moved around this is not a fun place. I don't see that being so unusual for a pup to be resistant to that. Some breeds/individuals do really well, others don't do strangers so well. They do better with the handler there so long as the handler has the pup's development in mind.

As Vita said, I don't want mine going off with just anyone so mine all have a phrase that they know they are to go with the person.

If you feel there is truly an issue. Take someone you know & trust to help you but that the pup doesn't know so much. Go to a hardware store or some place that has a lot of space, allows dogs, & that you won't disrupt business. Have the person meet you at (predetermined isle) & you walk up, greet them (for my dogs a certain way of greeting has meaning to them) & hand them the leash. Tell your pup, "it's okay, go with" & have them take her a few steps & then return to you. Next time have them go further. Always come back before she panics (have a code word - my guys know when I say, 'that's it" that this means they are to stop or return the pup). Then you repeat. Use the move closer, stay longer way of things. You build up the pup's tolerance. Finally get to where the pup can go to the end of the isle or even the next isle before she's brought back to you. If you do this well, the pup will learn that someone taking her out of your sight will do no harm or not be scary. (Of course, be mindful of where you are as you want to be a good steward of the dog in a dog friendly business). But if you do it well the pup should have an easier time.
 

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I personally think it's pretty much impossible to do enough socialization in those first pre -16 weeks old days... So we just do what we can. Having a dog who ended up with seperation anxiety, I would make sure you are practicing leaving her. If you have a pet loving friend, an hour play date at their house, with you leaving for a bit, is a good opportunity.

It sounds to me like Oona, like my Annie, may have a less confident temperment. I would definitely focus on the physical things. Weird surfaces that move (floating docks are good for this), slippery floors, weird stairs, elevators, etc. I love Dr. Sophia Yin's checklist, which, if I recall focuses on both having an experience and rating the quality of experience to see what you need to work on.

The groomers is another place you can practice leaving her.

I got Annie at 12 weeks, so the first month was all socialization (people, cats, and tons of new places, car rides, etc), and the breeder extensively socialized her as well. She went pet store shopping, to a groomers (even though I home groom), Canadian Tire shopping, car dealership, bus stations, downtown, etc, in the first month, often in my arms indoors as she was an excited pee-er. We kept up socialization, and by 5 months she had been on her first camping trip, her first hike, and left with a grad student friend to attend university for a day. No regrets, she has ended up the most bomb proof, confident in new situations dog I have ever had, which makes it really easy to take her places with me. I really did notice that things I hadn't introduced her to in the first month were harder- for example, going into a forest the first time at maybe 4.5 months was scary. As was her first walk under a bridge. But, she now flies through the forest, and calmly goes into underground parking garages.
 

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If you feel there is truly an issue. Take someone you know & trust to help you but that the pup doesn't know so much. Go to a hardware store or some place that has a lot of space, allows dogs, & that you won't disrupt business. Have the person meet you at (predetermined isle) & you walk up, greet them (for my dogs a certain way of greeting has meaning to them) & hand them the leash. Tell your pup, "it's okay, go with" & have them take her a few steps & then return to you. Next time have them go further. Always come back before she panics (have a code word - my guys know when I say, 'that's it" that this means they are to stop or return the pup). Then you repeat. Use the move closer, stay longer way of things. You build up the pup's tolerance. Finally get to where the pup can go to the end of the isle or even the next isle before she's brought back to you. If you do this well, the pup will learn that someone taking her out of your sight will do no harm or not be scary. (Of course, be mindful of where you are as you want to be a good steward of the dog in a dog friendly business). But if you do it well the pup should have an easier time.
This is a good idea. We don't have a lot of people in that category with free time but we'll start with visiting the pet store and hardware store and see how she does in the new spaces from there.
 

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Normie hates to be groomed. So when the groomer comes to the door, he sits down and refuses to walk. But in general, he's friendly, loves strangers and children. But to quote him "he's not dumb. He hates the sound of the dryers and who wants to have their ear hair tweezed?"

Oona's not dumb either. The vet's office carries the scent of dogs in fear and pain. Of course, she doesn't want to go in.

You're doing the best you can in a difficult time.
 

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I second the suggestions about environmental socialization. People often don't think about these experiences as much but they are super important. I did a lot of environmental socialization with Misha when he was a pup and he has zero fear of any noise or surface. Some ideas:

-noises and sights of gardening equipment: mowers, blowers, edgers
-noises of large vehicles like 18 wheelers and buses (they make loud noises when they start to move)
-wobbly surfaces (docks are good, I also regularly put Misha on a swing and treated him, and you can create a wobbly surface by taking a board and putting something small under it to make it wobble and having them walk over it or sit on it)
-confidence being up high (I did grooming up high so this happened pretty quick)
-bicycles, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades etc.
-hats, umbrellas, coats, sunglasses etc. (just play dress up!)

Misha and I have always played a game when on walks where we try to find the strangest things for him to hop onto and sit. This has created a very adventurous dog.

Just take things at Oona's pace. If she is nervous, do multiple short minor exposures to the thing, treating each time, and she should improve gradually.
 

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I personally think it's pretty much impossible to do enough socialization in those first pre -16 weeks old days... So we just do what we can.
This is very true. And despite your best efforts, you'll always look back and think "I wish we'd done __." And vow to do it with your next pup.

I think puppies raised in urban environments have an advantage. Every potty break for Gracie was a socialization adventure because we lived in the hustle and bustle of Toronto. Honking horns, loud construction, weird smells, people of all shapes and sizes... Confidence around that stimuli translated to confidence in other situations she didn't experience until later in her life.

On the other hand, if you live in a house on a 1/4 acre lot in a suburban area, you have to work harder to create those exposure opportunities.

I think the #1 thing is confidence-building: A puppy who believes the world is a fun and friendly place, and who knows she can count on her human to always have her back, is going to be okay....even if you don't make it all the way through a checklist before 16 weeks.
 

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I am training Asta to go to another person as part of my bipolar conditioning. I drop the lead and off he goes to my helper and leads them back to me (he does wear a sign that says "If I am alone ,my human needs help, Follow me)
We have only tried this at home because of the covid. We are teaching Asta a part of each command, then we will merge them as one command. Good advice here about socializing pups but our SD's may need another focus.
My boy has been confident since I brought him home - That confidence remains today He does very well with learning- sometimes Asta is smarter then me.
 
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