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How do you make sure your dog only socialises with friendly dogs?

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by Jodie Rangers, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. Jodie Rangers

    Jodie Rangers Member Registered

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    Hi everyone,

    How do you make sure that your puppy or dog is socialised with friendly dogs? A bad experience can have terrible consequences in some cases.

    I've noticed too many people in parks have their dogs off their leads and not even caring if there are other dogs in sight. I've seen dogs going straight up to other dogs, including other dogs that were on leads. I've also seen dog fights happen that way too.

    I'm getting a Labradoodle soon. I have about 4-5 friends who have friendly dogs. I know that a puppy doesn't need to greet every single dog he/she sees, but how can I be sure to avoid dogs that are not friendly? I don't really like the idea of putting my trust in a stranger in a park or anywhere else in public when his/her dog may attack my puppy. I want to look after my puppy's well-being and to ensure that he only socialises with friendly dogs.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    You can only look after your dog. You cannot control other people's. If a random dog approaches mine, depending on the situation (and reading both dogs' body language) I will either call out to the other owner, body block it, or throw some treats on the ground for it to eat while I head off I the other direction with mine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021
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  3. Jodie Rangers

    Jodie Rangers Member Registered

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    I’m a small woman and I’m not very strong. I’m not saying that Bull Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Dobermans, etc, are aggressive breeds or anything like that, but I would be petrified if one of them being such a big dog went for my dog.

    Is it a good idea to avoid dog parks? I’ve heard that is one of the worst places to take a dog.
     
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Yes, I would avoid dog parks. Too many owners who are unaware or disinterested that their dogs are uncomfortable, overstimulated, or just being a pest.
     
  5. Jodie Rangers

    Jodie Rangers Member Registered

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    Where did you take your dog to ensure that your dog was socialised with only friendly dogs?

    Do you have any tips?
     
  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    My dog was actually quite badly socialised because at the time, I thought like many people that socialisation is about meeting other dogs. We went to a puppy class which, knowing what I know now, I now would avoid. He is now, after years of work, dog neutral.

    Socialisation is not about everyone and every dog meeting her. Think quality, not quantity, exposure, not interaction. Letting all and sundry (people and dogs) near a puppy can be overwhelming and frightening - the opposite of what you want. Socialisation is not about plunging your puppy into every new experience, but rather allowing him or her to see, hear and get used to people and situations calmly and from a safe position. There is quite a good checklist here - it wouldn't be practical, or necessary to get everything on the list but it's a good guideline and illustrates that socialisation is about more than just having a run around with other dogs. The Puppy Socialization Exposure Checklist - Whole Dog Journal

    FB_IMG_1612002488906.jpg

    If you want to say roughly where you live, we might be able to recommend a good puppy class though.
     
  7. melb100

    melb100 Active Member Registered

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    We took A to local dog park at the time of day when we knew (from having previously looked after a family dog) there was core of responsible dog owners and well behaved dogs. So you could do a bit of dog park intell and see if there's a couple of dogs who appear at roughly same time who seem to get on well? Doesnt guarantee they wont react with your dog of course but shows they are friendly to an extent.

    Ultimately we just tried to take her to as many different places with new smells, sounds, sights as possible and positively reinforce all the different places.

    We're lucky to have never met a reactive dog who was off lead; if we do pass one on lead we just step between and walk on calmly as possible trying not to show any stress ourselves.

    A few times she's been afraid or doesn't want to go near another dog for some reason so just paying attention to body language and not forcing any interactions. A quick "this way" with a treat if any heckles raised etc. But equally we try to let her take time to say a quick hi to another dog if she wants to, rather than dragging her away. If the other dog barks at her then so be it, we reason that one or two tellings off wont do too much damage as long as other interactions are positive, and may help her to learn dog cues. She's very good now at a quick hello, wag wag sniff sniff, and then carrying on with no pulling.

    I don't think you can ever guarantee only friendly dogs but you can try your best to model good behaviour, get your dog out as quickly if needed but stay calm and make sure they know they can trust your decisions (learnt that from Judy on here :)).
     
  8. Jodie Rangers

    Jodie Rangers Member Registered

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    How many dogs does a puppy need to meet in order to make sure he/she will be sociable with other dogs as he/she gets older? If meeting other dogs is such a low priority compared to other things when it comes to socialisation, why are so many dogs not socialised and quite often aggressive towards other dogs? My cousin's dog is lovely with people, but she hates other dogs with a passion. I do know that he got the dog when she was four or five months old so that may have something to do with it.

    I know that quality is more important than quantity, but will my friends' dogs be enough to socialise my dog? I don't like the idea of just walking down the street and asking someone "is your dog friendly?" and to be told "yes" and then his/her dog attacks my puppy - that is an experience I never want to have to go through at all.

    I live in Fife.
     
  9. Jodie Rangers

    Jodie Rangers Member Registered

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    Hi Mel,

    A few of my friends have dogs and their dogs are all friendly. Before the pandemic I would often go with them on walks.

    I don't want my dog to greet every dog she sees, but I do want her to be able to walk past other dogs without being aggressive. I know that socialising her when she is a puppy is extremely important. I do know that there will be dogs to avoid - not because of the breeds but rather the owners of the dogs. My father lives in quite a rough area and there are unfortunately some people who train their dogs to be aggressive because I have seen it in parks.
     

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