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Tips for Socializing Your Dog

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You and your dog are going to run into other dogs sooner or later, and there are plenty of useful tips to help your dog socialize safely and confidently.

A great way for you and your dog to meet other dogs is to first be aware of your surroundings – this includes watching for other dogs to either be able to socialize with them or avoid them, depending on some of the next suggestions and what is appropriate for the situation.

Though these are not all the ideas out there, nor are they right for every dog or situation you may encounter, they should help you and your dog be able to greet other dogs with ease of mind and enthusiasm.

Some things you should be aware of before you and your dog greet other dogs is the size of your dog in comparison to the dog you would like to socialize with. The size of the dogs can, and often will, determine their reactions.

Secondly, to help prevent any issues arising, it helps to keep control of your dog. A short leash, or holding your dog’s collar or harness, is a very good way to minimize any potential trouble. The more control you have of the situation going into it, the better for everyone involved.

The next thing to think about when you are socializing your dog is having her/ him sit for the meeting, and position yourself between your dog and the dog you are meeting. This should make controlling any bad response from your dog or the other, as you have put yourself in the middle of the situation.

Dogs will let you know how they feel about each other – some giving indicators from down the street, and others often not showing any signs until they are closer to other dogs. This is why having as much control going into a socializing situation is vital to setting you and your dog up for success.

If your dog, or the other approaching dog, tenses up – has her/ his tail between her/ his legs, drops/ points her/ his ears, or pays particular attention to another dog – there may be issues ahead.

If your dog is wagging her or his tail, smiling, paying relaxed or playful attention to another dog, your dog likely has no issues with the other dog – for now.

When your dog is happy and excited to meet another dog, you need to remember to be aware of looking for the opposite reaction in the dog you would like to socialize with.

When you and your dog have met some new friends, it is best to try to keep leashes from getting tangled. You should be ready to calm your dog if needed, but it helps to be ready with both hands to exchange, untangle, and keep clear both dogs’ leads.

Hopefully these tips will help you and your dog be prepared for, and gain the confidence in, meeting other dogs while being able to have worry-free fun!