August 18, 2021
Dogs are valued as family members far more than ever before. With this, we begin to see the rise of puppy play groups, doggy daycares, and canine social hours. We want our dogs to socialize with other dogs, to enjoy play dates the same way our kids do. Our dogs are our family; we want to share our experiences with them. However, your dog does not view dogs outside your family to be “friends”. As odd as it seems, dogs don’t need to socialize with each other. After all, they have you! You, your kids, and your other pets are all your dog’s family and to him, that’s all that matters. In the wild, wolf packs don’t have play dates. The only way for them to ensure safety is to stay with their packs. Your dog has a similar mentality. For him, it’s safest to remain with the family. Because we don’t know if the dog crossing the street in front of us is vaccinated, healthy, or even friendly, it’s much safer for your dog to simply ignore it. It’s hard to believe the ball of fluff curled up at your feet is directly descended from wolves, but they still have a lot in common. You are your dog’s pack, and strange dogs are just that: strange. You are all he needs, and he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out by not playing with other dogs.
A well-socialized dog is a safe dog. Sometimes “well-socialized” doesn’t mean the friendliest, bounciest pup on the block. Sometimes it means being able to pass someone on the street without needing to say hello. If your dog has the opportunity to play with other dogs in a safe, managed place and has fun doing so, fantastic! If your pup isn’t into that sort of thing, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with her. It just means she sees fun as playing with family, not the dogs at the park. If your dog is scared of dogs, you might be worried about her snapping at dogs who come near. But imagine how uncomfortable you’d be if a stranger ran up, stood in your face, and yelled, “HELLO!” You might tell them off, too. If other people and dogs make your pup nervous, you can help by ignoring stimuli when you go out (and don’t let people pet her!). If you don’t care about other people or dogs, your dog won’t either (See the post “You Get What You Pet”). All in all, dogs receive fulfillment from us. While they can interact with dogs and people outside their families, they don’t need to to be happy; you are enough! For more tips on how to have a well-socialized, safe dog, give us a call at (443) 926-4335 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.