A dog that can’t get along with other dogs is very difficult to live with, often reacting aggressively to other dogs they meet and being unsafe to allow off the lead for fear of them bolting or attacking. This is why dog socialisation is such an important step in responsible dog ownership.
A new puppy is a blank slate for you to work with and can easily be taught that other dogs are nothing to fear. Following vaccinations, well-run puppy classes are a great way for your pup to get used to being around other dogs in a safe environment.
The focus is usually on your interaction with your puppy, but with other puppies and owners in close proximity, some supervised puppy play is also allowed. Progressing through older dog training classes will maintain this comfortable familiarity with strange dogs being around as he interacts and learns with you.
You can also train your adult dog to be more comfortable around other dogs, as it’s never too late!
Never take unnecessary risks when trying to socialise your dog, particularly when you are out and about. Any dog can develop a fear of other dogs if it is attacked, and not all dogs are friendly. On the lead, even when both dogs seem keen to interact nicely, always speak to the other owner first before allowing them to get close enough to do so.
Only let your dog off-lead when you have an established recall and even if both animals are off-lead, only allow dog on dog interactions with the other owner’s permission.
Watch Out for Problems
Most puppies are very playful and friendly with others, but some are shy, and some very nervous. As fearful puppies grow their anxiety can manifest itself in aggressive outbursts. If you are worried about your pup’s behaviour during socialisation, take action quickly. Book a session with a trainer to fully assess him and see if there are ways to improve his confidence around other dogs.