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The Importance of Socializing Your Dog

Once your dog has learned how to handle being in a public environment and how to behave, he can then be introduced slowly to other dogs and allowed to make other canine friends by allowing them to smell and greet each other (this is best done with both dogs on leashes so that you can quickly pull them back if one or the other becomes aggressive or displays dominant behavior. You may know the behavior and temperament of your own dog, but you might not necessarily know that of the other dog).


Be sure that your dog and any other that he comes into contact with are current on all vaccines, including Rabies, Bordetella (for kennel cough. note –(Keep in mind that, like the flu virus for humans, the vaccine is designed to prevent against the most common strain, of which there many.) and all DHLPP shots. This will minimize his and other dogs health risks if one or both becomes sick. Remember that, just like people, a dog’s personality comes in all varieties, some dogs may never be able to get along together because and they just aren’t compatible with others. If the first few tries are unsuccessful, take heart, it doesn’t mean the end of the road. Keep trying until a match is found that gets along well together.


Not giving a dog the opportunity to play and interact with other dogs is like having a child and not allowing them to play with other children. This can create behavior problems later in life as they have never been given the opportunity to develop social skills. There are some dogs that just can’t figure out how to socialize and play with others and in this case, they may do best by themselves. You can assist this type of dog and encourage him to play and interact by getting involved in the play yourself. Silly though it may sound, I’ve gotten it to work. One way to assist the shy or fearful dog is through daycare, again, this is not foolproof and some dogs just cannot seem to develop social skills, but at least you would have attempted and hopefully brought him out of his shell. Ideally to be able to take your dog to dog parks and watch them play, socialize and make new friends of their own kind would be great.


They can wear each other out so that you won’t have a hyper or destructive dog on your hands when you get home or if you ever have to leave them home alone. There are young dogs of certain breeds that can mingle comfortably with plenty of others with no problem, but not all dogs are capable of such sociability. When dogs hit maturity, some are no longer comfortable mingling with unfamiliar dogs. Dogs use body language for communicating. Being taken from their mothers early, dogs are left to learn these skills from us humans, unfortunately we don’t communicate in the same ways, which leaves them to figure it out on their own, making it more difficult for them to learn. This is why we need to use caution in allowing our dogs to greet a new potential playmate or friend. The younger the dog the more friendly and pliable he is.


Close supervision will always be needed when he is learning to form new relationships with other dogs. A good parent would initially keep close watch on their young children as they meet new friends for the first time and observe the situation, monitoring closely for problems so that they could intervene when they sense a problem. Imagine being a mom or dad who is looking out for your kids while gradually loosening the leash of freedom. If your dog is being picked on or seems uncomfortable, you may need to come to his rescue. If he’s behaving badly toward others, you may need to remove him from the situation or use a brief “time out” if corrective action doesn’t work. When a puppy is scared to be around others, it shouldn’t be forced, however repeated attempts may bring success as we’ve learned from experience.


A dog that gets too excited and overwhelms others may need to be pulled aside for a brief period, in order to calm down. When playing, some dogs may appear to be fighting and it can often be difficult to interpret. Conflicting misunderstanding may lead to fights if close watch is not kept to keep both dogs in check. Some breeds tend to use growling in their play and others will full on wrestle while some just like to play chasing games and barking can also be a part of play. Crashing and running into each other is a means of play for some while other dogs don’t quite know what to make of it and may feel uncomfortable or threatened by this. Some will use greetings that others may find overwhelming or uncomfortable or even intimidating and threatening, like rushing to greet others and jumping, climbing and licking others, barking at them, or they may exhibit complete fear.


Mounting and other displays of dominance like holding his head above another dog’s head or biting the back of the other dog’s neck are undesirable behaviors and acts of power play and should be corrected immediately. On the flip side, some may show submissiveness in greeting such as lying down or rolling onto their back to show the other dog that they aren’t a threat. So many different temperaments in each individual dog, is why allowing our dogs to simply charge out and greet others may in fact be dangerous to one or both dogs, and why a slow cautious approach is best.

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