Category Archives: socialization

Does My Dog Need a Canine Companion?

dog companions siniBy Langley Cornwell

We’ve been conditioned to believe that dogs are pack animals, but do domestic dogs really need canine friends? I’ll admit it – I was the type who believed the answer was a resounding yes. My firm stance on this was partly influenced by the “dogs are pack animals” theory and partly by the fact that all of my pups have thrived when there was a second dog in the house. The dogs I’ve shared my life with have all been family-oriented, and I felt like we were a big, happy pack.

My commitment to this belief was challenged by a friend who rescued a dog named Mia. The relationship between Lisa and Mia made me wonder if my long-held beliefs about having a second dog might be a combined result of 1) blindly accepting the pack animal theory and 2) attempting to assuage my guilt.

The Pack Animal Theory

Because dogs derived from wolves, and wolves live and hunt in packs, most people believe that dogs are hard wired to want canine companionship. I always thought the social structure of wolves included allegiance and reliance on one another within a pack, so it stood to reason that domestic canines would yearn for the same type of species-to-species bonding.

Researchers at Washington State University at Pullman shed more light on the subject, however. Traci Cipponeri and Paul Verrell studied the intricate relationships within wolf packs and likened their interactions to that of people who work within the same corporation. They noted that wolves not related to one another form what could be called an “uneasy alliance” because they have both shared and conflicting goals. They work cooperatively to obtain food and shelter, but they compete with one another for dominance.

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5 Good Reasons to Take a Dog for a Walk

By Laurie Darroch

Although taking a dog for a walk is a good way for both of you to get some exercise, there are additional reasons to get out of the house for a stroll.

Stress Reduction

Humans and dogs both react to stressful events in their lives, and also to stressful people. A dog does not always know how to release that stress and anxiety. They also react to your stress and may show it in destructive or odd behavioral ways. No matter how big or small the stress is, it is important to utilize ways to reduce or even eliminate it in healthy ways.

A walk gives both you and the dog a physical and mental outlet for some of the stress. Going out to see and focus on other things besides what is causing stress or anxiety is a healthy way to get your minds and senses on other things for awhile.

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Do Dogs Need Canine Friends?

By Lisa Mason

There are a lot of different opinions about whether a dog needs to have other dogs around them to have a happy life. Some will say that their tiny little dog hasn’t seen another dog since it left its mother. Other pet owners will clutch their small dog protectively when a larger dog approaches. They worry that the small dog will get hurt rough housing around with the bigger canines.

All the while that we humans are holding our small dogs in our arms to keep them out of harm’s way, typically the dog is struggling to get free to go play with the other dog. We keep our dogs indoors and away from other dogs because we fear that another dog may have fleas or some other disease that will infect our dogs. We in fact baby and protect our dogs to the point of making them social outcasts.

Dogs are Members of a Pack

Dogs are social animals.  Let’s not forget that they are descendants of wolves who ran in packs. Let’s not forget that our dog’s ancestors lived in the wild and were quite capable of taking care of themselves. We have domesticated dogs so much over the years that they are now totally dependent on humans for their every need. Dogs used to run in the wild, in packs. The pack leader, or head canine, kept the pack under control and taught the smaller pups how to interact within the pack’s circle.

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Kids & Pets – Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

By Suzanne Alicie

As a responsible pet owner, I have to be diligent in making sure that my dog Bear doesn’t bite someone. When we go for a walk most adults know how to approach a strange dog, or at least know better than to run up squealing and jumping around. Children, on the other hand, are naturally exuberant and excited to see a dog and they all want to pet her; she’s big and fluffy, and just draws them in.

Unfortunately, Bear is not very social and really does not appreciate the excitement of children that she doesn’t know. This can lead to heart stopping moments when I’m praying that Bear won’t snap at someone, or that the parents will take charge of their children so that I don’t have to tell the child, “STOP, don’t touch the dog.” Because then children cry and parents get angry because I’ve yelled at their child. They don’t realize that I’m trying to protect them.

I’d rather yell at their child than have my dog cause them to be hurt or even scared of dogs. Sometimes her barks and growls are pretty scary too, and she does get vocal when she feels crowded or threatened. I believe children should have a healthy fear of many things, but especially dogs. This is different from a real fear, and is more of a respect and knowledge of the possibility that the dog could bite.

As parents, it’s important that you teach your children not to approach strange dogs and if you have dogs and children you must teach your child to respect your dog as a member of the family. They have to understand that they could harm the dog if they play too rough, which could also make the dog bite them. Children aren’t mean intentionally, but sometimes they forget that their dog isn’t a stuffed animal and may try to pick him up by his tail or pull his hair while they are playing.

Feeding time is the time to keep your kids away from the dog completely. Even the most well trained dog could give in to instinct and snap at a child who gets too close to them while they are eating. In your own home and with your own children, all it usually takes to prevent dog bites is to accustom your children to being around a dog and respecting the dog’s space.

When you take your dog out, it may be wise to consider a muzzle to protect children from bites and always make sure that your harness, leash and collar are in good shape. An escaped dog running to-and-fro incites people to help you by chasing him. This could lead to strangers getting a bite for their efforts, especially children who think they are helping.

Even if you have a nice dog who likes children, it’s always important to make sure that strange children approach the dog calmly and give your pooch time to sniff them before they reach for him. Always carry a few CANIDAE dog treats when you go to the park so that you can help children become acquainted with your dog and reward your dog at the same time for being so well behaved.

Top photo by Ernst Vikne
Bottom photo by Mr. Dtb

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6 Ways to Socialize Your Dog with Other Dogs & People

By Linda Cole

Dog parks are great because they provide a place where your dog can interact with other canines on a regular basis. However, sometimes a dog that used to get along well with other dogs and people appears to have had a change of heart and isn’t too keen on being around other dogs, and you have no idea why. Even well socialized dogs need practice to stay friendly with other dogs and people.

Sometimes the problem isn’t with the dog, it’s with his owner. Because dogs are social creatures, we think they should always want to be around other canines. That’s not always the case. Some dogs just don’t like being with other dogs. We take our pets to the park so they can interact with other dogs and then don’t understand why conflicts develop. According to dog trainer and writer Diamond Davis, “It is actually more ‘normal’ for a mature dog to NOT be able to ‘play nice’ with strange dogs in a dog park.”

If your pet isn’t enjoying himself at the park, that doesn’t mean he isn’t socialized or is becoming aggressive. It most likely means he’s uncomfortable with other dogs at the park running up and getting into his face all the time. There’s a reason why dogs mark their territory and why wolf packs attack other packs that intrude into their space. Canines aren’t wired to socialize with dogs they don’t know, and we may unknowingly put a dog in a situation where he’s uncomfortable.

Socialization takes practice and it needs to be constantly reinforced to keep a dog friendly with other dogs and people. Teaching your dog basic commands is what helps keep him polite and under control when he’s not in the mood to be social. Think about it – we react the same way when our personal space is invaded by someone we don’t know who stands or sits a little too close when talking to us. If your dog isn’t the ‘dog park’ kind of canine, there are other ways to give him exposure to other dogs and people to help keep him socialized.

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Tips for Creating a Social “People Friendly” Dog

By Suzanne Alicie

While some people prefer their dogs to be protective and guard their home and family, most of us would like our family pets to be social and people friendly. It can be a hassle and even frightening to worry about what your dog may do when someone comes to visit. It’s easier to socialize younger dogs, but even older dogs with consistent training and stability can learn to be social.

The key to socializing your dog is of course to have the dog in social situations. When dealing with a puppy, it’s important to introduce them to many people and other dogs. Visit the dog park, have doggie play dates and let your dog get comfortable in crowds. If you have an older dog that isn’t socialized very well, make sure that you take precautions before you take him into a social setting. You may want to muzzle your dog so he isn’t able to bite anyone or any other dog, and introduce him socially a little bit at a time.

Talking to your dog, soothing him and easing him into social activities with people and dogs will go a long way toward calming the dog and making the social aspect easier for him to accept. If you’re nervous and anxious about all the ways that introducing your dog socially could go wrong, your dog will pick up on that too. Maintain a calm demeanor and let your dog know that it is okay.

If your dog cowers or behaves as if he’s frightened of other dogs or people, let him get used to them from a distance before approaching. Dogs are curious and once they’ve become accustomed to different smells they will want to check out the other dogs and people around them; let your dog socialize on his own terms.

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