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October 2023

Archive for October 31st, 2023

Socializing Your Adult Dog

Tuesday, October 31, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

I once had a small dog. Unfortunately, I was young and didn’t know the importance of socializing him with other dogs. This resulted in him barking and stressing out whenever he saw dogs or people he did not recognize. Part of dog training must be socialization. Animal Humane has put together a great article explaining the process.

Play in puppies vs. adult dogs

Off-leash play is beneficial to puppies learning behavior cues, but the same practice can have detrimental effects on adult dogs. While there are exceptions, when dogs reach social maturity between ages one and three, they often no longer enjoy playing with large groups of unfamiliar dogs. They may either attempt to avoid the dogs, stand close to their human family, or even growl and snap at boisterous young dogs that come too close to them. This behavior is often misidentified as abnormal, when in fact it is quite common.
Setting up playtime for your adult dog

If your heart is set on social time with other dogs, start by introducing your dog to one dog at a time. Invite a friend to bring her gentle, easygoing dog on a walk with you and your dog. Allow a polite distance between dogs while they get accustomed to each other. If both dogs appear relaxed throughout the walk, allow them to sniff each other briefly. Keep leashes loose and each interaction short. If either dog appears to be tensing up, call the dogs apart with pleasant, relaxed voices. If both dogs’ bodies appear loose and tails are wagging, consider an off-leash session in one of your fenced yards with leashes dragging, using the same short sessions and reinforcement for relaxed behavior.
Dealing with leash aggression in your adult dog

If your dog lunges, pulls toward or barks at other dogs on walks, you know how stressful and embarrassing it can be. Learn more about the causes and prevention of leash aggression.

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