Socialising your dog is a huge part of their growth and development. Not only does it ensure you can trust them around a wide range of different people and dogs, it also gives you peace of mind when uninvited strangers or children approach your pet that they will behave well.
If your dog is nervous, aggressive or shy, it can be difficult to introduce them to new people or other dogs. Below are some of our top tips to help make socialising your dog easier:
How to introduce dogs to strangers
There are three key rules to bear in mind when you start introducing your dog to strangers.
• Be patient: When introducing your pooch to other people for the first time it’s important to be patient. You should always let your dog approach the person, rather than the other way around. This way your dog can assess the new person, take in their smell and approach them when they feel comfortable and ready.
• Let your dog decide when they are ready: Sometimes if your dog isn’t quite ready and a stranger does approach, they will retreat and either try to hide behind you their owner or somewhere else in the room where they feel safe. Plus, you should always make sure strangers don’t initiate any stroking or touching of your pet before he/she seems comfortable.
• Crack open the treats: If your dog is acting particularly nervous or behaving more timid than usual, it’s a good time to get the treats out. Let the new person in the room give your dog a treat and this should help them to warm up to each other.
How to introduce dogs to other dogs
When it comes to introducing your dogs to other dogs, a lot of the time how you behave depends on the behaviour of the other dogs and the location of the meet up.
• Territory. Dogs are hugely territorial so when a dog enters another dog’s home there can be tension and aggression over territory. For this reason, it’s a good idea to meet in a local park or garden for the first time if you can so that both dogs are on neutral territory.
• Keep dogs on the leash. While your dog is on the leash you can keep some control over his or her movements which is key if they jump or act out of character around other dogs. If they do act aggressively, separate the dogs and then try again once both dogs have had time to adjust to each other.
• Let them have a sniff. One of the ways dogs explore each other is by sniffing so make sure you let them have a smell of the other dogs so they know their scent. Always let them do this while on the leash so if they do react to one another you can instantly pull them away.
Choose a harnessThere are many advantages to your dog wearing a dog harness over a traditional collar and leash. The main one when it comes to socialising your pooch is that you can have a little more control over your pooch and his/her movements. With a comfortable and high quality dog harness, like the ones at Dog Friendly Co, you’ll be able to prevent your dog from jumping up or pulling away with ease, and it won’t cause strain around their necks and inflict pain if they do act impulsively. Once you’ve followed all the above advice and you feel your dog is comfortable and you trust them, feel free to let them off the leash to let them play. Of course, if your dog is a rescue dog or you’re not sure of his/her background with other dogs then always keep them on the leash and where you can see them for their safety.