Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by Pia Lagotto, Apr 7, 2014.
Can that has been socialized become unsocialized if they are all of a sudden put in a shelter?
I don't think it would happen that quickly, but it really depends on the shelter. Some are so busy, they don't have time to walk all the dogs and offer them play time with people on a daily basis. The trauma of being placed in a shelter might set a dogs socialization back a bit, but I would think they would bounce back once they are rehomed.
I think it'd depend largely on the dog. A dog like Evie, who is super sensitive, I think probably could become 'unsocialised'. Once Evie has a bad experience it can take months and I'd be willing to say even years for her to over come it.
For example. Evie hates her nails being trimmed. One day I put her harness on, put her in the car and then trimmed her toe nails in the car (only way I could get her to sit still enough). That was just under a year ago now... and to this day she still gets really sad and unsure when I got to put her harness on her, even though she wears it daily to go out and do fun things. Before the bad experience she got really excited when I got it out as she knew it meant we were going to do something.
So long story short; I think yes. If the dog is sensitive enough, and has a bad enough experience (whether because it genuinely was a bad experience or if they just escalated it in their minds) I think they could become unsocialised.
I agree w/ this. I think it is very much dependent upon the individual dog, their experiences and their perception of their experiences. Veronica also is very sensitive, reactive and genetically prone to anxiety...she most definitley would not bounce back quickly if at all from a shelter experience. Honestly, if it were long enough and bad enough, it might completely break her.
Like Brody's mom said, I also don't think the dog would suddenly become unsocialized. However, with time, the shelter could definitely set back the dog's social skills.
Unfortunately, shelters can be very stressful on dogs, with all the noise, animals and people coming and going, etc. The dogs may or may not get exercise, and they may or may not get any opportunities to play with other dogs appropriately. If they don't get to interact with dogs regularly, some may start to lose some of their social skills, but I do think many of them can learn to be social again with time, patience and training.
I agree, it does depend a lot on the dog, also the type of Shelter as Lindsay said. With Leaf, she's sensitive and came from an abusive background. Fortunately she along with her siblings and Mom were rescued at a young age (22 weeks Mom was around 6 mths) and placed immediately in a wonderful foster home. But had she gone into a Shelter, then I think it would have taken much longer to get her over her timidity.
No matter how good the Shelter is, i.e. providing socialization time, walks etc. they're definitely not a place for any dog. Nothing replaces a good home.
All my dogs have been rescue dogs. And my experience has been that some have taken a while to socialize, whilst others have been fine straight away. It depends too on what history, if it's known, the dog has, what reason the dog has been placed in a Shelter. For example, some dogs end up in Shelters because their humans have been unable to look after them, due to sickness or death for example, and these dogs, if well socialized in the first place, do not suffer if their stay in the Shelter is short. However, a prolonged stay does appear to affect all dogs to greater or lesser extent.
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