How Social is My Dog with Other Dogs?

How Social is My Dog?

Just like people, dogs have different levels of tolerance for other dogs. As a dog matures, he or she will often naturally become less social and tolerant. There are many developmental changes that happen, between sexual and social maturity, and most dogs will continue to display these changes until two or three years of age. Proper facilitation of dog-dog introductions and friendships can change your dog's sociability for the better over time. Bad experiences can quickly make things worse. Good leadership and direction is important to set your dog up for success. 

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Dog Social

I generally LOVE all dogs, even the ones that get in my face and do rude annoying stuff. I am either a puppy or a very social adult dog. 

Dog Tolerant

I get along with most dogs. I am generally tolerant of rude behavior, and I stay pretty calm on leash. I am cool and relaxed, and have good communication skills. 

Dog selective

I have dog friends but I am picky about new dogs. Seeing unfamiliar dogs when I am on leash is really stressful. I don't cope well with some types of dogs or styles of interaction. I need human supervision, positive guidance, and proper introductions. 

Dog Aggressive

NOPE. Not into other dogs. If I have to select 1 or 2 other dogs, I am super sensitive around them too, and may act like a jerk when triggered. I need extra management and patience for my humans, whom I love more than other dogs! 

 

Socializing Your Dog

Socializing refers to providing your dog with POSITIVE experiences with NEW THINGS. The best way to make sure your dog has great experience is to include things he loves- like food or toys. 

New People

  • Let your dog approach at his own pace, if and when he wants to. 

  • Associate new people with wonderful things (think bacon!)

  • Make sure puppies are gently and positively exposed to different people. Examples include babies, children, seniors, men with beards, people carrying and wearing different things, people of different ethnicities, people in wheelchairs and with strollers. 

Other Animals

  • Always check that the other animal is friendly and tolerant of other dogs before you let your dog approach.

  • Teach your dog how to act politely around other animals by rewarding him for good behavior. Redirect him if he is too pushy or excited.

  • If your adult dog doesn't want to play with other dogs, that's okay. Adult people don't want to hang out with every other person we meet either! 

New Things & Environments 

  • To prevent noise phobia (fear of thunder etc.) feed your dog a high value treat every time the noise happens.

  • Introduce young dogs to lots of different surfaces. Try gravel, carpet, tile floors, concrete, bridges, plastic, rubber, snow, sand, grass etc. 

  • Takes rides in a boat, train, car or elevator.

  • Visit the vet and groomer just for treats and petting to associate these places with good things! 

  • Teach your dog to enjoy wearing a muzzle by making it a treat basket.

  • Avoid truly scary situations such as fireworks. 

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Remember, exposure alone isn't socialization! If your dog isn't having a great time, you could be doing more harm than good. Dogs don't just "get over" issues by themselves, so if your dog is shy, worried, or overly excited, leave the situation and work with a professional who can help both of you. If your dog is having a blast and is happy and comfortable-you are doing a great job of socializing him! 

 

Puppy Socialization Checklist

Puppy Socialization Checklist From Perfect Puppy in 7 Days

By Dr. Sophia Yin

 

The goal of socializing is that the puppy has positive experiences, not neutral or bad ones.

It's important to watch the puppy's response and note what it is and to also give treats to help ensure the exposure is a success. Here's a checklist that can help you. Download the checklist so you can keep track of your puppy's progress. Download the Checklist Here.

The checklist includes specific examples in the following categories: 

Handling

Unfamiliar People

Unfamiliar Dogs

Other Animal Species

New Surfaces 

Objects with Wheels

Man-Made Objects 

New Environments