Young Dog Interactions
Dealing with a multigenerational dog family? Or do you have a young dog who doesn’t know how to take a hint? Dogs are not always great at knowing how to interact with other dogs appropriately, especially young dogs.
Whenever you add a puppy to the family it is important to teach your youngster that other dogs do not always appreciate their exuberance.
Many people think that proper socialization includes allowing your dog to play free reign with every dog they see- all in the name of shaping a friendly dog. In reality, proper socialization teaches your young dog how to properly interact with the world around them through conscious exposure to various stimuli. By introducing your dog to a wide variety of people, situations, dogs, etc. you are effectively teaching them what is normal about their world so that they can recognize and react appropriately to abnormal situations. Without proper socialization youngsters may eventually react inappropriately when confronted with stimuli they don’t have a positive association with. This is especially true of dog-dog interactions.
Dogs who play wildly with other dogs as puppies often have limited self control as adults, and what was tolerable in a little puppy is usually not so tolerable in an adult dog. Puppies often start by mouthing and jumping all over other dogs when given the opportunity- this type of behavior is absolutely not acceptable in adult dogs. If your pup lives with a variety of stable adults they may learn on their own not to continue that sort of behavior when around adult dogs. However, most of us only have one or two dogs- this means it is up to use to teach our puppies how to behave acceptably around people and dogs!
Imagine, for a moment, that your puppy is a small child. Now imagine you take this small child to a family picnic and they immediately start kicking an older relative- would you allow them to continue in the name of developing proper social skills? This older relative may swat lightly or complain, but is otherwise dealing with it. Does that make it more ok? Would you wait until they were so fed up that they lashed out and grabbed your child by the arm yelling at them and bringing them to tears? My guess is that you think this is absurd, however this is very much how most people allow their puppies to behave.
You may have even heard advice telling you that the puppy needs to learn from older dogs how to engage appropriately- that’s putting a lot of faith and pressure on that adult dog!
Be proactive and assume that your puppy will annoy other dogs. Some older dogs may even exacerbate wild behavior but this does not make it a good form of socialization. Its much more important for your little one to learn self control in a human controlled environment. Dog parks are notoriously a free-for-all and can often teach poor social behaviors that may not be evident until late in adolescence. If you are looking for a safe way to socialize your pup look for a reputable daycare or work with a trainer to teach you how to properly introduce and manage your dog so that they learn the best way to interact with other dogs and be an enjoyable dog to be around.
Head Trainer- Perfect Pooch
BA, CPDT-KA, AKC CGC Evaluator