How to nurture a Social and Happy Dog


Pallavi Bhattacharya
Pets need to inculcate interpersonal skills, while interacting with other dogs. Here’s how.
Some canines are too shy or fearful to mingle with other dogs. Some dogs may be over-friendly and unable to respect the personal space of fellow dogs. Certain dogs may be aggressive or bully dogs. So, how do you raise your pooch to be well mannered with dogs without being imposing?
Helping the reticent dog to befriend dogs
To acclimatise your dog with fellow dogs, you need to take him out to dog parks. If your dog is extremely fretful of spending time with other dogs, then initially maintain a distance between your dog and other canines. Gradually reduce the distance between the other dogs. Reward the dog if you see that he is being able to relax in the presence of dogs and is diverting his attention to them. Praising him in a calm voice will boost his confidence. Appear cheerful when the distance with another dog decreases, that may help your dog to believe that meeting another dog is a pleasant experience. When your dog has mustered the courage to come close to another dog, you may start the process of positive association. You need to take the permission of the pet parent with whom you want to introduce your dog to. The dog whom you want your pet to interact with should ideally be of calm demeanour (not exhibiting aggression). Both of the dogs need to be on leash, so that pet parents have control over them. When two dogs seem to be in a friendly mood, allow them to sniff one another. Loosen the leash of the dog to facilitate his mobility. At the sniffing stage, try not to stand still as that can escalate the t ension between the dogs. Keep moving and permit the other dog to sniff your dog as well. You may notice your dog sniffing the excreta of the dog he meets. Instead of taking it as bizarre, consider it as a natural way in which the dogs are taking note of one another’s scent. Once the dogs can get along well in the open, you may arrange a play date at home. Ensure to supervise them.
Helping the aggressive dog to be cordial with other dogs
Genetic makeup and upbringing can make some dogs unduly aggressive. Symptoms of aggression usually occur when a dog hits puberty, and is more prevalent in dogs who haven’t been neutered. The root cause of aggression must be ascertained and be eliminated. Dhananjay Dighe, a veterinarian who has a clinic at Vasai in Maharashtra, says, “A dog may be aggressive if he is tied.  Belligerent dogs are seen as snapping, growling, snarling and lunging at dogs threateningly. If the dog prances at another canine, distract him with motion or sound. Fierce dogs try to be pack leader and dominate other dogs through aggression. Dog trainers turn the tables around by being the pack leaders. By directing with the voice and controlling the dog’s behaviour, they gradually take over a particular dog and teach them various commands. Gradually, dog starts listening to the commands. When the dog gets a reward, he starts obeying the trainer. Abide by a calm demeanour to mentor the dog, facilitate by making it a positive experience by voice appreciation & treats.
Helping your over-friendly dog to strike the right balance with other dogs
If your dog is overzealous in his friendliness, then other dogs may steer away from his company. Dogs may actually be petrified of other dogs who unexpectedly pounce on a stranger dog and start licking, inspecting and following him. Your dog needs to imbibe the friendship quotient which is socially permissible in the canine world. Dr Dighe says, “Certain dog breeds like Labradors are over-friendly. Over pampering may also lead to extra friendly behaviour. A dog needs to be disciplined to obey a trainer’s orders. If a dog is too outgoing, he may approach a passing dog without being given the permit to do so. You need to stop him from doing so.” A dog needs to be taught that he needs the nod of both his pet parent and the other dog’s pet parent, before trying to befriend the other dog. If he disobeys this rule, the pet parent needs to censure him with his voice. The body language of the trainer is also important. A dog may be overfriendly as he is high on energy. You can channelise his energy by involving him in other activities. For instance, if he enjoys an active playtime or goes on long walks; then much of his boundless energy may be fruitfully spent. When you see him inclined to greet another dog without permission, you may try to distract him, so that he doesn’t do so. Never shout at the dog intending to achieve the same. So, let’s nurture a social and happy dog.