Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pooches: On Socializing with Dog Friends

When I first adopted Miss M, I thought that as a dog she needed to run, wrestle, and tumble with other dogs in order to be happy. Miss M became a regular at a local dog park where she would romp and roll. Though after Miss M was attacked by another dog, and I had this fluke accident, I soon realized there were better options for us.
As we learned how to fully exercise our pups without a yard, and as our dogs have gotten older, we also realized that not all dogs need to physically interact with other dogs in order to socialize.
And not all dogs feel the need to closely socialize with other dogs.
Here are some ways our dogs have been socializing without physically playing:

Tandem Walking:
Sweet Bessie-Belle always fit in so well!
At first I used to think it was a good thing to allow Miss M to randomly greet other dogs when out on our walks. Besides the injuries dogs can get from playing on leash, many dogs aren't comfortable with head-on greetings; it's more natural for dogs to "meet" by showing their sides. We have found that our pups can have as much of a social experience by merely walking with another dog. We use this type of introduction, and after they begin walking together, they don't feel the need to jump or play with one another and they are happy just strolling. Miss M even has a best walking friend.

Fostering has been a positive way for our pups to socialize with other dogs, and we like that we are the ones managing their interactions. With foster dogs they all get to walk together, and often lay together. We work to choose dogs who are compatible for our pups, our home, and everyone's energy levels. We wrote more about it, here.

Group Walking
We love how our SociaBulls walking group allows dogs of all tolerance levels to socialize without interaction. Pack walking is natural for dogs, and once they fall into the continuous rhythm of the walk it becomes a positive socialization experience.
We know not everyone has a group walk in their area, and neither did we. We decided to start our own walk, and we wrote more about it here. Several other groups have shared their experiences about how they started walks in their areas, and they wrote about it here (more links on the bottom).

What are some other ways that your pups socialize with other dogs?

How we prepare to invite dog friends over
The other kind of exercise

Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and storylines beyond the blog.


Amy Jo said...

Such great advice (as always)...thank you!

Is that Zoe in your last picture from Two Kitties One Pittie?

dw said...

Riley has met a lot of the dogs in the neighborhood, even one also named Riley! She has a few friends who she gets real excited to see on a walk. We've walked for a short while with other dogs on our walks and she does seem to do well with that. Mostly I think she likes other dogs because they come with people - she's always looking for a way to go over to the other dog's owner/walker to get some loving!

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

We, of course, love weekly pack walks and use it as a major socialization opportunity. But we really love tandem walking. We have a few friends with dogs and we like having them and their pooches join us - to simply walk, nothing more. We see Ed visually relax with the other pooches after just a few blocks.

We also like to take him to high canine-traffic areas (with lots of space so we don't have to be too close) so there are dogs that are just there...across the street, across the room, wherever.

Two French Bulldogs said...

A behaviorist we know agrees walking together is key

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

Kaya & Norman love playing with their "cousin" Motlie. Now that we have a yard, she can come over for play dates! They play pretty rough but knowing them all so well, we know they won't take it too far. It gets them more tired than any hike I can take them on!

Anonymous said...

We also do puzzles! After the boys work to get treats out of a puzzle it is ALWAYS nap time!

Two Pitties in the City said...

Thanks everyone! @Amy Jo..yes! So glad you noticed the Zoe cameo! Besides hanging with her on SociaBulls walks, she is also one of our tandem walking partners for daily walks.

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