Your Dog Doesn’t Play With Other Dogs Anymore?
Most of us believe that we shouldn’t have to sit closely next to a stranger or hug someone if we don’t want to, but do we expect the same of our dogs?
You probably expect your dog to be friendly to just about every dog and human that they meet. Not only do some dog owners believe their dog needs to be friendly, but believe that our dogs have to tolerate anyone and everyone that’s touching them. It doesn’t seem to be fair to expect more of our dogs than we expect of ourselves.
Although there’s a big difference between disliking certain interactions and actually acting aggressively toward someone who approaches you.
Let’s take a second to separate out those dogs that suffer from a behavioral illness, such as fear-related aggression or global fears. These dogs don’t just dislike meeting certain people or dogs, they have a physiologic response (their body reacts, not just their mind) to certain people or dogs. As this response can actually negatively affect their quality of life, these dogs certainly have to avoid people and dogs (depending on how they react) until a proper solution has been found. While we don’t want our dogs to act aggressively towards someone, they do have the right to avoid a person or dog.
Let’s take a look through the eyes of a human: you walk into an outdoor area from which you cannot escape. Before having time to adjust to your surroundings, all of a sudden 10 people come running over, getting within inches of you, sniffing areas of your body that are generally regarded as private. How would you feel?
There’s no intrinsic value for your dog to love every person and dog that they meet. So, if a dog finds these types of situations stressful, there’s nothing but only more stress to be gained from these experiences.
Can You Help Two Dogs Bond With Each Other?
Just as with humans, personalities can clash, and you may find yourself spending more time preventing fights. If your dog isn’t getting along with other dogs or a certain dog as well as you had hoped, there are some things you can do to encourage a better bond. With supervision and patience, it is possible for most dogs to learn to get along better.
Tip #1 – Provide plenty of resources
One reason for conflict between dogs is competition over limited resources. You should always have more water bowls, dog beds and toys than there are dogs. You may also want to feed the dogs in separate areas so that each dog can eat in peace.
Tip #2 – Give each dog the same attention
If there’s a feeling of competition for your affection, it will create an uneasy relationship between dogs. Spending one-on-one time with each dog, every day is important. Even a 10-minute play session will help to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Tip #3 – Play with the dogs together
As important as it is to have one-on-one time with each dog, it’s also important that they learn to play together. A great bonding exercise is to do a joint walk. Even sitting on the couch and petting both at the same time will encourage bonding.
Tip #4 – Provide separate areas
No matter how well your dogs get along together, they may sometimes want some alone time, particularly if they have vastly different energy levels, especially if one dog is younger.
Is there a dog in your neighborhood or a dog at your local park that your dog doesn’t like? A sign that your dog may not like another dog includes barking, snarling, lunging at them. Your dog will more than likely try to create distance from the other dog by hiding behind you or dart away. It can be embarrassing if your usually friendly dog starts to behave this way, as you know that it’s not their normal behavior.
Your dog might dislike a certain dog because they’ve done something unpleasant or threatening to your dog. Body language is the primary way dogs communicate with one another, and the nuances of canine body language can often go unnoticed by most dog owners. Your dog may dislike a dog in the neighborhood because of their body language cues that may seem unfriendly to them. One big aspect of body language that people often overlook is staring or eye contact. Dogs consider staring as rude behavior and can be interpreted as a threat by dogs. The longer a dog stares at another dog, the more likely they’re going to have a reaction like barking and lunging. Getting your dog’s attention with your voice, treats or toys is a great way to quickly break a stare-off between dogs. Get your dog to refocus on you so that you can prevent your dog from having an aggressive reaction to a dog they don’t like.
As they age, most dogs become significantly less social and become less interested in greeting new dogs. Your dog might be ambivalent or even sometimes friendly to many dogs but sometimes dislike certain dogs. This could be because your dog is tolerant or dog selective. Dogs that are selective aren’t aggressive, however, they mightn’t want to meet or engage with other dogs while out for their daily walk around the neighborhood. Selective dogs may even dislike other dogs that have certain characteristics, like having pricked ears or a dog that’s a certain size or age. Some dogs are also very tolerant of puppies, while others really dislike the intense energy of puppies.
If you have a dog who doesn’t like other dogs or maybe just a particular dog in your neighborhood — that’s ok! Punishing negative behavior can be confusing for a dog and can make the behavior you don’t like worse. Behavior like barking, lunging, and growling are all-natural warning signs for dogs. If you punish these first warning signs early on, your dog will be more likely to go directly to biting next time. Having a dog who isn’t friendly or snarl at certain dogs they don’t like can be embarrassing, but natural. Instead, use positive reinforcement training techniques to get your dog’s attention, which will help your dog to learn to trust that you’ll keep them safe from another dog so they don’t react.
Even if a dog’s owner insists that their dog is friendly and tries to encourage you to introduce your dog, always trust your dog’s judgment, so you should never force your dog to interact. Forcing an interaction probably won’t help your dog or change their perspective, it can also increase your dog’s frustration and negative feelings. If you know that your dog doesn’t like a certain dog, the best thing you can do while working through the issue is to create space between your dog and the dog that they don’t like. The best way to do this is to shorten your leash, keep your dog close to you, cross the street, or pass by their yard, while having the dog keep their attention on you, you can do this by giving them treats and praise.
Try to be proactive and get your dog’s attention when you see the dog your dog doesn’t like and encourage your dog away. By creating enough space to let your dog focus on, you can help your dog to not rehearse the behavior you’re trying to avoid, like by not putting your dog into a situation where they feel the need to bark, lunge, or react. Over time, the positive reinforcement approach will allow your dog to gradually be able to stay focused on you while they’re at a close distance from the dog they don’t like. Through this positive training, your dog will make the association that the presence of the other dog will mean that good things are coming, whether it’s treats or toys.
Just like some people are more social than others, the same is true for your dog. It’s not uncommon for a dog that’s generally social to dislike some dogs. As dog’s age, they tend to become less social or interested in interacting with new dogs. If you’ve noticed that your dog dislikes another dog, it’s important for you to give them space apart, not forcing them to interact with each other.