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Contrary to popular belief, socialising our dogs doesn’t mean introducing them to other dogs and asking them to become ‘friends.’ It doesn’t necessarily mean putting our dogs in daycare or taking them to the dog park for off-lead play. Nor does it mean bringing other dogs into their space and asking them to play nicely with each other. Too much of this at a young age can actually cause fearfulness in some dogs, especially if we aren’t super skilled in assessing canine body language and knowing when to step in.

Socialisation is, in fact, a process of helping our dogs to navigate and successfully interact with the world around them. This can mean gently introducing them to different sights, sounds and smells and showing them how to be relaxed around them.

Interactions with other dogs should be observed closely. Learning to focus and to behave appropriately around other dogs is so important - dogs that struggle to disengage or play very roughly and persistently are likely to be a nuisance to other dogs, and are at risk of getting told off or hurt.

Gentle socialisation - ideally at a young age - can help our dogs to view new experiences with optimism, or alternatively, indifference, instead of fear 🐾

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