What You Can Do to Help Your Dog Feel Comfortable Around Other Dogs
The relationship we have with our dogs is as intimate as other family members, so when the social interactions are limited by a dog’s behavior it can add real stress. The good news is that there are options to help your dog feel comfortable around other dogs.
Go to the Dog Park
Dog parks are ground zero for canine socialization. It offers a place for dogs to run free and play with other dogs. Many dogs can be aggressive when restrained by a leash, so a dog park provides leash-free running opportunities. Additionally, a tired dog is a good dog—as the saying goes—and this exercise can make the dogs more friendly and docile. Although you’re trying to get your dog out of their comfort zone, it’s still important to keep your dog safe at the dog park. The first few times you bring your dog to the park, try to go at off-peak times. Less popular times of day will mean fewer dogs to interact with. The more comfortable your dog can be in the space, the better. Facing dozens of dogs at once can be overwhelming to dogs not used to interacting with others of their species.
Many dog parks offer separate fenced-in areas for different dog sizes. Adhere to the recommendations of the park for your pooch’s size. Some larger dogs have strong prey drives that urge them to chase small dogs. While smaller dogs can sometimes be more aggressive towards a large dog because their size intimidates them. By keeping dogs around their own size friends, the likelihood that an altercation will become dangerous or fatal decreases.
Board at a Kennel
Kennels provided a unique opportunity to interact with other dogs in a neutral location. A boarding facility is also staffed with trained professionals that can observe all dog interactions to keep your furry family member safe. If for some reason, a dog doesn’t place nice, then there are options to separate the pet to their own private quarters.
Many veterinarians offer boarding as a service. This provides a big advantage as if anything should happen to your pet while you are away, they are already at the vet. A veterinary practice is also more likely to be diligent about who they employ and the training of their kennel employees. To be certain a boarding kennel is reputable and trustworthy, make sure to visit the facility first and ask lots of questions.
Practice Socialization Techniques at Home
In addition to taking your pup out into public, there are certain techniques and strategies to socialize your pet at home. Try some of the following:
- Handle and touch your dog from an early age. If you have a puppy, getting lots of touches is a super important step for making the dog comfortable with human interaction. Older rescue dogs also need this human touch, but it will need to be addressed slowly to gain trust.
- Invite small groups of people to your home. Your dog will become used to new people in the home the more that it happens. Introduce your dog to new people, smells, and sounds with small groups.
- Offer new stimuli through toys and games.
- Take your dog on car rides to experience new sights and smells from a controlled vehicle.
With some diligence, any dog can be socialized to be friendly with other dogs and new humans. Be patient with your pup and seek professional help as needed for a smooth process.
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