Your Dogs Social Skills
As your dog gets older their preferences for certain things will change. This is also true in humans. A 5 year old does not like the same things as an 11 year old, and by the time you get to 30 you have a whole new perspective of life. Often, as a dog gets to 18 months old to 3 years, their preference for playmates and activities starts to change and become more selective.
This is totally normal.
It does not mean that your dog is bad or wrong for not allowing rude doggy greetings or being best friends with every dog they come across. It means you have to be a parent and make sure you are setting your dog up for success in these situations.
Many people socialize their dog by going to the dog park at a young age. As their dog gets older they play less and less, and for some they start to take offence to the rude behaviors of other younger dogs. This also occurs as friends and family bring their dogs over for playdates and the resident dog all of a sudden dislikes the new dog in their house. This is totally normal! Changing the way you introduce your dog to a new friend or limiting the friends they have can make all the difference in the world.
Most dogs are categorized as dog selective or dog tolerant. The same with people. Some people just grate your nerves and you can’t stand to be around them. Again, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you normal. Dog Tolerant dogs can handle being around other dogs but don’t participate in social activities like play. Dog Selective dogs will have a handful of dog friends and tell off the rest of the world. These dogs are usually categorized as dog aggressive, when it is not every dog, just unknown dogs.
Every person on the planet hopes and thinks their dog is dog social, which means they can play and interact with every dog they encounter. These dogs are truly unicorns and be thrilled if you have one. The odds are your next dog will not be so easy going.
The dogs in my house fall in every category. Pixie is dog aggressive, she does not want any dog friends. Opie is dog social, but he is getting older so I am careful to limit his interactions with other dogs. I don’t want him getting hurt accidentally. Cargo is dog selective. She is particular about her friends and new dogs need to be snarked at before she can decide if they are friend or foe. Again, I parent those situations and make sure I set her up for success. Toad might end up being dog social, he’s currently dog tolerant. He doesn’t love Pele and Ada, but will tolerate them being around. Maybe when he is less fat he will enjoy the company of puppies.
It is my responsibility as a dog owner to know my dogs and make sure I am keeping them and the community safe. Even if that means telling friends and family they cannot bring their dog for gatherings. I’d rather hurt feelings than hurt dogs.