Daily activity and exercise is essential for a happy and healthy dog. Just like with us humans, lack of exercise can lead to poor muscle tone, obesity, heart ailments, bone disorders and even emotional problems. Dogs that rarely exercise can develop a variety of physical and emotional disorders.
We all need a social life and dogs do too!
Socializing your dog when they are a puppy is important and will most certainly provide long term benefits for you and your dog. Calm, pleasant exposures to people, other dogs, and other animals during their early years will positively influence their sociability. Well socialized dogs tend to be friendlier, less fearful more enjoyable to live with.
Regular play dates with other dogs and trips to the Dog Park can help maintain a positive socialization. If your dog is unfriendly to other dogs, it means he is not adequately socialized to dogs.
A well-socialized dog may still chase, hump, and argue. However, socialization ensures your dog has the requisite social skills to confidently interact with unfamiliar dogs that he may meet. Socialization will also help your dog resolve arguments with other dogs without incident. It is easiest to socialize dogs when they are young, but it is never too late to teach them how to be friendly.
If your dog is uncomfortable with another dog, tightening the leash distorts your dog’s body language and all but forces him to lean forward on his front feet – a posture that the other dog may perceive as somewhat threatening.
Keep your dog on leash for safety, but please control your dog without tightening the leash. By keeping the leash loose and acting calm, you may convince your dog to do the same!
Don’t punish your dog for barking or growling at other dogs. The punishment may teach your dog “I don’t like being around other dogs because I am punished whenever they show up, so I’ll bark to keep them away.”
Instead, try to focus on making your dog enjoy the presence of other dogs by associating them with things he likes. For dog-to-dog aggression, the method of choice is reward training, and the best feedback is kibble and praise. Start by hand-feeding your dog and getting him fixated on an object like a favorite toy or treat. This way, you can expose him to one dog at a time, at a safe distance, and give him something to do, such as chewing a toy or eating his kibble. It will give him something to focus on and associate the presence of strange dogs with things he likes.