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Dog-to-dog socialization is an integral part of your dog’s development process. Just like house dogs are used to humans, social interaction among dogs is essential. When dogs interact with their fellow canines, they get the freedom to let themselves go. Chasing, wrestling, and tugging on each other helps them utilize energy in a way they can never do when playing with humans. As humans are much weaker, when dogs play with us, their activity is diluted so they do not end up injuring us. Playing with each other helps them release pent up energy, easing tensions and anxiety.
Active dog-to-dog socialization is also great for your dog’s mental health. Social interaction among dogs helps dogs behave more co-operatively with humans and other dogs. It teaches them to trust other dogs and share with them. Social interaction can also reduce territorial behavior and rather make the dog feel protected when with his kind.
Social interaction among dogs boosts their self-esteem as the dog gets a chance to refine its fighting and communication skills. There is a common misconception that dog-to-dog socialization encourages aggressiveness. It does the exact opposite as the safe environment healthy social interaction among dogs creates is a massive boost to their confidence levels.
Meeting new dogs in a neutral territory builds social skills amongst dogs and improves their mental health. It boosts the problem solving and investigative part of their brain, also fulfilling other psychological needs.
As your dog grows older, the instinct to play with other dogs will become lesser. But as your dog is well-socialized, it will still be confident in the presence of other dogs. Socialized dogs are great off their leads and can easily exercise off lead easily as well without getting distracted by other dogs.
You can encourage social interaction among dogs with the following tips.
Stock up on dog treats, and every time your dog shows good behavior, treat it. This will encourage your dog to interact with other dogs as it will encourage positive social behavior. Usually, dog treats can be expensive, so you can also replace them with other edible snacks that dogs love, such as string cheese, shredded chicken or hardboiled eggs cut into pieces.
A great way to initiate dog-to-dog socialization is to set a date with a friend’s dog or take a stroll at the dog park. Do make sure your dog interacts with other dogs long enough to get acquainted with them.
If you want to introduce new dogs to each other, do exercise caution. Make sure the dog you are meeting is a friendly one. If you notice signs of discomfort in your dog, such as panting, yawning, or if your dog is putting its tail between its legs, immediately limit the interaction. This is a sign your dog is not comfortable with the situation.
Dog-to-dog socialization is an easier process in puppies than in adult dogs. In both cases, there needs to be a consistent re-enforcement of positive behavior, and negative behavior also needs to dealt with.
If you notice your dog getting anxious when meeting new dogs, it isn’t a good idea to start walking in the dog park straight away. You can try walking the perimeter – and watching the other dogs from a distance. Try gradually work your way inside the park. Let the dogs briefly interact, sniff each other and get used to each other’s presence. If the dogs start reacting aggressively, move them away and try again after a little while.
During social interaction amongst dogs, your attitude also plays an important part. Dogs can easily sense your emotions. If you are stressed or nervous, your dog will be too.
If your body language and tone remain confident, your dog will feed off your reaction and attitude and will remain calm too.
If you are socializing an older dog, the key is to success is to remain consistent and patient. Do not get discouraged if your dog is taking longer than usual to adapt to a new environment or situation. With time and positive reinforcements, your dog will start becoming used to others of its kind.
An adult dog that is not socialized can feel overwhelmed and will not usually play with other dogs. If this happens, try dog-to-dog socialization by starting small. Maybe you can arrange a meeting with a friend’s dog and take them for a walk instead of taking a stroll at the dog park. Once the dogs get comfortable with each other, let them off the leash.
A walk at the dog park means meeting many new dogs, which can cause anxiety for a dog that is never socialized before. Some signs that signal your dog is nervous when meeting newer dogs can include aggressive behavior, excessive barking and growling. With no dog-to-dog socialization, sometimes dogs react like this to show dominance over the other. In such scenarios, distract your dog by calling out its name loudly or giving it a treat. Take your dog a safe distance from the other canine and talk to him in soothing tones to calm him down.
Building social interaction amongst dogs can be time-consuming and tricky at times, but with patience and the right strategies, your canine is bound to start enjoying the company of others of its kind.
by Maria A Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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