Socialization with dogs
There is a lot to consider when socialising your puppy with other adult dogs. How to introduce your puppy, when it's time to intervene and if your puppy gets scared are a few things we'll cover here.
Introducing a new dog
When socializing your puppy with dogs, it's important to choose stable adults who like puppies. In encounters with stable adult dogs, your dog will learn lots about how to behave, what signals are important to respect and so on and your dog will find other dogs fun. On the other hand, if your puppy is chased/pressured by unknown dogs, you will most likely end up with a dog that does not like other dogs, perhaps for the rest of its life. Always ask the dog's owner if the dog is kind to puppies, but more importantly, practice reading dogs' signals and body language so that you can form your own opinion. If you are unsure whether the meeting will be a good one, say no. There will be more dogs to greet.
Go for a walk unleashed
The first step to a calm and safe meeting is to let the dogs loose while you go for a walk in a safe place such as the woods or similar. The leash often prevents our dogs from using their signals and misunderstandings can occur. Especially as your puppy may not really know how to walk on a lead yet.
Dogs generally behave better when they are loose but remember that you should be able to intervene if necessary. You should always intervene when your puppy comes to you for support. Keep the other dog away or ask the owner to remove their dog. The old expression "let the dogs sort it out" is totally outdated and, as I said, can leave your puppy with a life sentence in the worst case scenario.
Don't hurt your puppy if it gets scared. Be there as a safe and stable companion, but don't pick your puppy up and pity it. We risk adding to the emotions the puppy is feeling. The best thing to do is to stop for a while with the puppy and then go on your walk together.
Think about the risk of injury
It's important to remember that play can be more "rough" when the puppy is playing with older dogs than when it's allowed to roam with other puppies. Therefore, make sure you always keep a watchful eye when your puppy is playing with an older dog. Allow your puppy to play with larger dogs in moderation and always supervise the play to reduce the risk of injury to your puppy.
You should always supervise when your dog is allowed to greet and play with other dogs, whether large or small. An accident happens quickly!
Keep this in mind before a meeting
- Always ask the other dog owner if the dog is friendly to puppies
- Ask if the other dog has been vaccinated
- Be careful and don't force the puppy if it doesn't want to greet you
- Squat down nearby so the dog can easily come to you if it gets scared
- Don't let your puppy greet a potentially aggressive dog
- Intervene if you feel it is getting too heated for your puppy