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Personally I agree that forcing dogs to interact isn't often in their best interests.
Mine is often bounced on by strange dogs and clearly doesn't like it. However, he is happy to play with his 'friends' at daycare where they know each other.
My dog was a semi-domesticated street dog for the first 6 months of her life. She's never been encouraged to socialise with other dogs, but always, always wants to approach and greet them. Very rarely any aggression/fear from her. Actually have a bit of a frustrated greeting problem, and have to stop her trying to run up to every dog, as that is what she was used to in the 'wild'.
I'm not sure that comparisons between domestic dogs and 'wild packs' of any species are helpful though.... it's usually a lot more complicated than that, I would think. I'm an interested non-expert, for context!
I do think life is much easier if you own a dog that ignores other dogs , mine does when he’s off lead . He’s quite happy to say hello if a dog comes over to him and does have a group of dog friends that he will walk with ( and ignore) but he would never choose to go up to another dog . This morning we were completely harassed by a golden retriever on our walk despite my dog making it very clear that he wasn’t interested in interacting .
My dog is happy to ignore most other dogs. However, occasionally a dog will take her fancy but it will usually be the case that the other dog approaches her and then sometimes she's willing to play a bit. But it's always a dog of a similar, small, size.
She's often interested if a dog is the same breed as her, and if she sees a dog in the street that she thinks she recognises she can get quite pleased about it and will look at me and wag her tail as if to say, 'look it's whatshisname from down the road', even if it's not actually the dog she knows, but just one of that looks like it.
However, she rarely approaches other dogs and most definitely doesn't like it when big dogs run at her and want to play, so yes I agree dogs should never be put into situations where they're 'forced' to interact with other dogs.
Having one dog who (thinks he) loves everyone and that has resulted in some stress-greeting behaviours we're undoing has shown me we should have been aiming for 'ignore' all along.
Don't you think it is like children though? You wouldn't consciously isolate them from their peers, but you would, after a bit, have some dogs, that you interacted with on a regular basis, without expecting them to make friends all the time with new random children wherever they go.
And if you were in a playground with said children, you wouldn't expect them to go around hitting children they didn't know if those children entered their territorial space. Both the children they met and your child would learn from regular supervised protocol in playground and parental presence.
Which does not involve hugging strange children and insisting they are your best friend.
Okay, dogs are different, for a start they are adult animals not child animals. But there are similarities in what we expect from children socialising with random children.
A famous Victorian writer called Augustus Hare, wrote a hair raising account of his childhood called The Years with Mother (I think), where he was taught never ever to ask to play with other children as a young child or interact with them. I think later he was permitted some acquaintances. It has stuck with me as a sort of thing you can teach but it just seems, well,unnatural.
Essentially we do not ask children to socialise with random children. So why should we ask dogs to socialise with random dogs?
But at some point they need to make some doggy friends they feel comfortable with. I think that is what I mean.
I think for me the problem comes down to the fact that 'socialisation' is the big thing right now and some owners view that as all dogs must interact and play at all costs. If you or your dog doesn't want to interact they act all offended or think you are creating issues when actually forcing my dog to put up with strangers trying to jump all over him when he doesn't like it will cause the issue.
At daycare he clearly has his friends and he enjoys playing with them.
Surely there's a happy medium?
When we are approaching other dogs, we neither encourage nor discourage our dog from interacting with them. It's usually clear from his body language whether he wants to, doesn't care either way or really doesn't want to.
*@BiteyShark*. Yes, and part of the problem is that people don't understand what the word socialisation actually means when used in a dog training context.
Dogs are not lions or wolves.
They are social animal, puppies need to be socialised from very young so they are confident, otherwise you’ll have a insecure aggressive dog on your hands.
I have been shot down before on MN for advocating this. Dogs want human company if that is lacking they will look for other company.
Dogs have chosen to bond with humans hence how they have evolved they have not chose to stay in packs.
Many dogs enjoy a game with other dogs but this is needs to be controlled and with dogs that you know not just randoms you meet out and about
Of course you don’t force anything, and of course you watch out all the time, but keeping the poor dog isolated would be cruel.
Also, every dog is different, they have different personalities and we have to respect that.
Interacting is interesting . What many owners think is interacting is dogs mugging other dogs and getting in their personal space.
True happy interaction with other dogs is not the free for all you see under the term socialisation or interaction.
I've never discouraged my dog from interacting with other dogs. There have always been other dogs around her, in the park, when she went to training classes, my DD's dog. She's just never been particularly interested in any of them, except, as I said in my pp, just the odd one or two.
Actually, thinking about it now the friendships she did make in the past with other dogs seemed to be quite strong and she'd always be really happy to see those particular dogs. As she's got older she tends not to make friends with other dogs in the same way.
She's calm, confident and happy and loves meeting all sorts of people. And she's probably the least aggressive dog you could wish to meet.
I think, as with humans, the amount of need a dog has to interact with it's own kind is probably governed by personality to a great extent.
Controversial. Dogs are domesticated animals (same as horses), their DNA is different from wolves, as well as their behaviour. We take them from their family unit to form a blended family with humans in the first instance. And than they meet someone who is similar / the same when out and about.... Some dogs ignore others are intrigued. I don't think you can successfully teach a dog to ignore all other dogs all the time.
And as many posters said and many more dog owners can confirm: domestic dogs have "friends" how does that come about? Not from ignoring others.
And if you give it some thought, it's the same as us really, if you ever been abroad and heard your own language, sometimes you ignore, sometimes you move closer to listen and sometimes you strike up a conversation.
I would never force another dog to play with mine if they didn't want to. If they are on a lead I take that as a sign the owner or dog don't want to play for whatever reason.
If a dog is off lead then that to me says it is probably happy to play and socialise. I am a big fan of playing and socialising and believe dogs are social animals who get massive enjoyment from playing. Walking your dog, mental games and general care are all a must, and socialising to me is part of caring for a dog and incredibly important from as young an age as possible.
I do think it's quite sad when owners don't let their dogs play. If it's a reactive dog then that's different, but if it's the owner just not having time to let their dog play or owners not wanting to say hello to other dog owners, then that's a bit unfair on the dog. It's obvious how much enjoyment mine gets from playing and she loves her pals.
Anthropomorphizing our dogs does not really help us understand how dogs react with each other.
I think dogs are just like people with different personalities and what works for one dog won’t work for another. You can’t apply the same rules and training to every dog. My dog for example is a typical Labrador that loves everyone and every dog he sees and if allowed would jump on everybody. His social skills are awful.
Obviously I work hard to train him not to jump at other people and dogs but sometimes he takes me by surprise. We were out the other day and saw a family coming along the lane with a dog. My boy sat and watched me and did a lovely ‘leave it’ right up until the point that he was aware that they were close and then he just leapt and nearly pulled me over. Obviously he got hauled back and marched off, was very embarrassing though.
Dog socialisation is for the benefit of the owner not the dog.
Dogs are not humans, but they're also not wolves. Be very wary of anyone that offers advice based on thinking one or other of those statements is true.
Dogs are dogs - there's a bit of wolf, a bit of human, and a lot of dog.
I have finally come to a stage where my dog doesn't run up to every dog he sees wanting to play. He will have a quick sniff if he meets an off lead dog but then comes back to me. He is actually far more interested in the owners these days as he thinks they all have treats for him. I have to say though that our walks are a lot less stressful and we worked very hard on it and it has paid off.
Disagree. Dogs are not wolves. In any case, wolves move between packs - it's how they avoid inbreeding.
That said, dogs need to know some basic manners, and teaching them to ignore (or at least not approach) other dogs, bikes, joggers and toddlers is very useful. They also need to learn the social signals given by other dogs. My younger dog is amazingly social, every person and every dog is seen as a potential friend. But she has the sense, when approaching a new dog, to look for (and obey) the 'fuck off' signal.
Many dogs enjoy having 'friends' so it's helpful for them to meet other dogs. It's just that initial meetings need to be watched/managed with some common sense.
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