Do other dogs seem to not want to interact with your dog or they snap at him or her? Why is this happening? You might not see it with your human eyes but in the dog world it is likely your dog is making a rude introduction. I’m Anai Fonte, co-owner of Dogtown and with over 13 years of expertise in the dog industry I’m going to tell you how to help your pups social skills.
In a great article titled, “Proper Puppy Socialization for Greeting Other Dogs” (https://bit.ly/3cnRPZm) by Irith Bloom, a certified animal trainer from the Victoria Stillwell academy she talks about dogs that are “magnetized” to other dogs. She writes, “A magnetized puppy will try to rush over to every other dog he sees. It’s like the other dog is a magnet and the puppy is a piece of iron… Magnetized dogs are more likely to do something rude when they approach another dog—such as jumping in the other dog’s face, which can lead to bad reactions from the other dog.” She suggests using treats to keep your dogs focus on you and to curb their excitement levels so their approach to other dogs calmer.
Similarly, expert trainer Adrienne Farricelli, talks about teaching your dog to have a calmer approach in engaging with other dogs in her article, “How to Stop a Dog From Excitedly Lunging Towards Other Dogs” (https://bit.ly/2RQ01rK). While she goes in depth on how to train your dog using a myriad of methods the important takeaway is your dog needs to be in a calm frame of mind when making new friends. “Basically, ”you can play with Buddy only after you heel or sit nicely.” So let’s say you are in the park and your dog sees Buddy. Lunging and pulling will not take your dog to Buddy, but heeling will.”
How to make your dog a well-mannered pup:
- Don’t avoid. Avoidance might worsen the issue. Don’t pull your dog away or panic when a bad interaction occurs.
- Keep them calm. Use treats or commands to have their attention be on you when they get excited around other dogs.
- Reward good behavior. Only allow them to engage once they’ve demonstrated calm behavior.
Experts agree that the key to teaching manners to your pup is checking their excitement levels when they approach new friends. When dogs are young puppies they learn from older dogs that their approach is rude. A well-balanced older dog will generally not engage or give gentle signs that they do not like how the puppy is engaging. These interactions are critical to good social development. A daily dog daycare program for puppies under 20 weeks is a great way to get this much needed socialization.