Socializing Your Dog

Charli Saltzman

During training at the Seeing Eye, all of our dogs were used to working and spending time together. Some of the dogs were excited to be around other dogs, playing together when we allowed them to, while others preferred to stay out of the fun, resting at their owner’s feet. Either way, all of these dogs are used to being with other dogs and other people. Does your dog have other playmates? Or, maybe you are wondering, how can I introduce my dog to other dogs? There are a few techniques the Seeing Eye has given us when introducing our dogs to new playmates.

Many of us dog guide owners had pets at home, and the instructors wanted us to know how to easily get our guide dogs acquainted with our pet dogs. First of all, you should never introduce two dogs unless they are in a neutral territory. So, if you take your dog to a house where there is another dog, the dogs should be introduced on leash outside. Once the two dogs are acquainted, they should be fine together every other time you go over to that house. When allowing the dogs to play, make sure that they are carefully monitored. You wouldn’t want playing to get out of hand. For example, one person allowed two dogs to play without supervision, and when that person checked on them, their collars were tangled. Plus, you never know how rough a dog can play. Some dogs play calmly while others are a little rougher. Did you know that, if one dog is on leash, both dogs should be on leash?

I didn’t know this until I attended the Seeing Eye. Do you know why? It has to do with how secure the dog feels. Take two dogs, Buddy and Spot. Spot is on leash while Buddy is allowed to run free. Buddy walks up to Spot and sniffs him, and immediately, Spot snaps at Buddy. This is because Spot, being on a leash, felt threatened by Buddy, who seemed to have the upper hand because he was loose. Keeping both dogs on leash is the best way to monitor what the dogs are doing. Once the dogs are used to each other, of course it is okay to let them run free and have fun.

There are always different situations involved, so do not believe this will work for all dogs. Some dogs could care less if you bring a strange dog into the house, and others will act very aggressive. Some leashed dogs are so friendly that they love it when loose dogs come say hi to them. That’s how Joba is. He wouldn’t feel threatened. Princess, my pet dog we had for almost ten years, would have snapped at any dog that approached her. Each dog is different and has his or own personality.

Now, you have some information about getting your dog acquainted with other playmates. Just remember, as you enjoy having friends, your dog probably wants friends too. Allowing dogs to play together, especially for service dogs, can relieve some of the stress of working. For pet dogs, the playtime allows them to exercise. You may find that socializing your dog will turn out very beneficial.

More Information

ASPCA Socialization Information

Human Society Socialization Information

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