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Should you teach your dog to focus only on you or also socialise?

Discussion in 'Forum Help and Suggestions' started by Aleksandra_Kinig, Feb 8, 2018.


  1. Aleksandra_Kinig

    Aleksandra_Kinig PetForums Newbie

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    There seems to be conflicting info out there. Is the goal to teach your dogs to just focus on you in the park, playing frizbee, ball, etc or... to socialise with other dogs? I have a 4 month old puppy and want to teach her good doggie manners but not sure what 'good' is..........?
     
  2. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    It's one of those things where finding the balance can be difficult with puppies. If you know people with easy going adult dogs, then great, and I'd not concern myself with 'socialising' the pup with all and sundry. But if you don't then it's a little more difficult, as puppies do need some experience of interacting with other dogs, but not the extent that most believe. The biggest "problem" is that you just cannot control the environment, be it other people or other dogs, and peoples opinion of their dogs temperament can be rather misconstrued. I am sure we are all frequently on the end of the people who's dogs run up full speed with teeth bared growling (as happened to me this morning incidentally - seems to happen every time the sun is out! :)) following by the words "he's friendly!" or "he's ok!"......case point!

    Have you signed up for any training classes? they are a great way to work a puppy in a controlled environment, and assuming all parties are ok with the interaction (you and the other dog), can provide positive experiences. A lot of the Canine Good Citizen scheme classes run by the Kennel Club will be mixed age, which is often better than a class full of young puppies.
     
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  3. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    I prefer the brief meet, sniff noses, and carry on technique when they are pups and limit more social interactions with people and dogs you know are good with other dogs, adult dogs who are calm and not too over the top and short plays with pups of about the same age, size and confidence. I have the feeling that too much play, play, play every day doesn't really teach a puppy much. Very playful puppies have a tendency to launch themselves at every dog they meet and try to get them playing when that dog really just doesn't want to know, my dog was like this when young so I know what it's like.
    Yes social interaction is needed for a puppy to learn, but not so much that they become dedicated to constantly finding another dog to play with. It's a fine line to tread.
     
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  4. Aleksandra_Kinig

    Aleksandra_Kinig PetForums Newbie

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    I also had that just this morning... a growling, sharling dog bouding up to us with the lady saying 'he is okay'... your pup just needs to learn its place. My puppy was saying a friendly hello - this is all. The Kennel Club of a mixed age sounds excellent! I will enquire further about his. Thank you so much.
     
  5. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Many people on the forum tend to aim for dog neutral dogs. This is where their dog is polite if greeting other dogs but not overly interested and is happy to completely ignore strange dogs but enjoys spending time with dog friends known to them.

    Many people seem to think that it is necessary for a dog to want to greet every dog and play with them and if yours doesn't then something must be wrong with your dog. Firstly this encourages dogs to see other dogs as highly rewarding and their owners less so so they become the "running up to all and sundry bouncing all over them rude pain in the butts" that are anything but nice to interact with, often accompanied by a "he's friendly !!" owner.

    Secondly there are many digs out there that don't want your dog to approach them. They may be elderly, ill, recovering from surgery, scared, blind, or dog aggressive. These owners will thank you for bringing your dog up to have good manners and avoid interacting with them.

    In an ideal world dogs would be brought up to have polite dog manners, ignore strange dogs, enjoy the company of dogs known to them and immediately recall away from situations when asked to.

    Get your pup enrolled in a positive rewards based class where they can learn dog body language in a controlled environment and to focus on you and practice their training. Don't be persuaded to join the irritating and down right rude dog owners who believe their little Fido has a right to bounce on other dogs and upset them.
     
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  6. Aleksandra_Kinig

    Aleksandra_Kinig PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your post and it is helpful to know that your puppy did exactly what mine is doing by 'launching itself at every dog it meets and want to play'. This is good to know as I instinctively let my puppy play till it, or ther other dog/owner, got too exhausted to continue. So a brief snif/hello and carry on will be what i do from now on. Thank you so much.
     
  7. Aleksandra_Kinig

    Aleksandra_Kinig PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your reply. My puppy has completed its puppy socialisation class and is now enrolled in a weekly obeidence class. What they did not teach us in obedience class are the basic laws of good dog manners which is what you have outlined so well. A neutral dog. A dog who is able to ignore strange dogs but also enjoy the company of others and reacall away. I will work hard to aim for these golden rules of good dog behaviour. At the moment, my puppy loves all dogs, will bounce and play with anyone and everyone and her recall is 95% in the house and 33% in the park, so she is on a long lead. We did encounter sick dogs, aggressive dogs and old dogs that did not want to play so I am grateful that I had the lead to control my pup. Now its moving on to doing this without the lead.
     
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  8. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    If your pup is on their lead when they greet another dog make sure the lead is relaxed as the greeting occurs. Sometime the tension of the lead can inhibit body posture so it's harder for the dog to respond and offer things like polite calming signals.

    Naturally dogs don't approach face on, they sort of curve towards each other. Head on greetings can be confrontational. So if approaching to greet another dog whilst yours is on the lead tray and avoid head on approaches.

    Turid Rugaas has some good information on dog to dog interactions and calming signals.

    http://en.turid-rugaas.no/calming-signals---the-art-of-survival.html

    Also look up kikopup for more on dog interactions and calming signals as well as general training tips.

    Just to add that young pups have a puppy licence which means adult dogs will often tolerate rude behaviour from them. Once they become teenagers and this expires adults won't tolerate rude behaviour and may well be much more vocal and aggressive in their response. I think it's great that you are looking to teach your dog good interactions now so that the will grow up to be a polite adult. :)
     
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  9. Teddy-dog

    Teddy-dog PetForums VIP

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    If you can't guarantee your dog won't go up to another dog and annoy them it is best to leave them on lead for now, long lines work well as it gives the dog a bit of freedom but you're still in control :)

    Are there any secure dog fields near you? There's one near us and you can rent it out for an hour or half an hour, no other dogs are allowed in with you (unless you've arranged this) so you can let your dog off and practice in a secure area. We've done this with our rescue dog, he's on lead or on a long line in the park as he's not got reliable recall yet, but we rent a secure field and we practice offlead recall there as there are no distractions (like other dogs) we also go to the field with my parents dogs sometimes so he can have a big run about a play with them.

    I won't repeat anything else as other users have given you lots of good advice about dog interactions and greetings :)
     
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  10. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Secure dog fields are a good idea. Here's a good link...
    http://www.dogwalkingfields.co.uk/
     
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  11. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    This is sadly something you will come across frequently; people making excuses because they are unable or unwilling to control their dogs. "It's because your dog is on a lead/it's because he was attacked by that breed/it's because he hates that breed/it's because he's a rescue/it's because he's nervous/it's because he hates the colour red"......as if it sort of mitigates their responsibility and it becomes your fault. All of which could of course be avoided by them taking some responsibility.
     
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  12. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

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    :eek: I'd boot her bum if that happened to me :mad:
     
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  13. Aleksandra_Kinig

    Aleksandra_Kinig PetForums Newbie

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    Lol :)
     
  14. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    And her dogs bum too :D
     
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  15. Aleksandra_Kinig

    Aleksandra_Kinig PetForums Newbie

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    Oh my gosh, you are so right. The only one I did not hear so far is 'he hates the colour red'! This new dog/owner world I have entered is definitely a unique place. So much to learn...
     
  16. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Years ago I had my two goldens on leads as we were walking along a crowded beach, one of them wasn't good with other dogs of which there were several around and the other had a habit of haring off to search for anyone having a picnic.:rolleyes: Coming towards us was a lady running with her two ridgebacks off the lead. As they approached one of them went for my dogs, but this was apparently all my fault for having my dogs on leads (and under control). o_O:Shifty
    You learn to live with it, but it ain't half annoying when people say things like that.
     
  17. Aleksandra_Kinig

    Aleksandra_Kinig PetForums Newbie

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    How frightening... hope your dog did not get hurt!
     
  18. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Luckily no, it was mainly just handbags, but it could have been worse
     
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  19. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    My own preference is for a "dog neutral" dog.
    If you look at feral dogs, they acknowledge each other from a distance, but rarely will there be an approach and contact greeting. Dogs will have one or two "friends" who they interact with, but for most other dogs, it's the acknowledge and move on thing.

    I think in many ways with this over emphasis on "socialization" we're creating obnoxious dogs. Just as my children had to learn as toddlers that not everyone wants to talk to them or interact with them, dogs need to learn this too.

    As for whether the dog is constantly focused on you, that's more personal preference and really, your dog's inherent traits. I don't think anyone wants their dog to be 100% focused on them (or a ball) for an entire walk, but like so many things, there are degrees that will depend on you, your dog, what you're working on etc.
    I like for my dogs to check in with me regularly so I work to develop an automatic check-in. I also work on engagement and use it when it makes sense. Often dogs are happier in distracting/stressful environments when they have a 'job' and something to focus on.
     
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  20. Aleksandra_Kinig

    Aleksandra_Kinig PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I am now finding, on this forum, that a neutral dog is best. Early days with Cindy and I but I now know the goal so will really try my best to ge there.
     
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