My dog needs a play mate, who’s free to socialise?!?
These are the posts that I’m seeing so often over Facebook at the moment (even more now lockdown restrictions are being lifted) and so rather than me constantly commenting on every post I see I thought I’d explain briefly my thoughts on this.
Socialisation is something everyone is aware of now but I honestly don’t feel we fully understand how to do this appropriately! Socialisation is so much more than getting dogs together to ‘play’. It’s about exposure and dogs learning to cope with new situation and environments and that things they see are not scary and that they are safe with you.
(I could go into more information about socialisation but I want to concentrate on dogs that play).
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying dogs can’t play but personally I don’t recommend or encourage ‘play dates’.
- Well there are several reasons to this here are some of them-
- I want my dog to listen to me and not see every dog as an opportunity to ignore me
- I want my dog to know how to play/greet appropriately
- To much free play can lead to lead aggression and frustration as they are prevented from playing with dog and s when they are on the lead
- I want to be my dogs ‘best friend’ this means I’ll have control over them when they are out on their walks (preventing recall issues)
- People miss signals that their dogs don’t actually want to play and stand chatting to other owners or encourage their dogs to play and so putting them in positions they don’t feel comfortable with.
- If your dog can’t come to you to get away from a dog they don’t want to play with they will end up telling the dog they are not happy about the interaction this could potentially lead to aggression over time (after all I don’t want to go to the pub with everyone I meet)
So what do I do to ensure my dog is happy with other dogs?
Well in simple as mentioned I expose my dog. I go to parks walk my dog through them allowing my dog to greet other dogs (if appropriate to do so) but I carry on walking so my dog has to learn to follow me and when he does I reward with the games like he would get with those dogs or something that he enjoys. So he’s learning appropriate greetings and also that I’m more important and our walk is about him bonding to me not another dog.
If you want more information about how to do this we can come on a walk with you! and give you the skills needed to have the best mate you want!
What do I want from all dogs?
Calm, happy healthy dogs that listen when needed and that are comfortable knowing they can trust me to help if they can’t cope with a situation. That way I’m preventing other unwanted areas of behaviour being seen.