What is Socializing your Dog?
Dog's that are social are respectful of one another's space and state of mind. Sadly, when we bring puppies and/ or dogs into a domestic environment where we do not teach them or others of their kind to be respectful of space full stop, human or canine, they get the illusion that being disrespectful of space is the way to be social. An example of this is when we allow a dog to pull us towards another canine or person for contact, or permit our dogs to jump up at visitors etc. Socialising your dog is important but in the correct manner, so the above examples must be corrected or prevented from happening. Today we see so many dogs that approach other dogs with high energy and a disrespectful state of mind and although sometimes it ends in a friendly encounter, more often than not it causes aggravation to other dog owners and fights between their dogs. My dogs are social and have been taught to pay attention to me for their entertainment and only socialise with other dogs when they approach respectfully but 99% of the time they ignore other dogs because they are engaged with me. The word social for dogs should mean relating to a society and living together in an organised and respectful way and because, for dogs, our environment is far from that, they become unbalanced and a problem for a lot of dog owners.
When at DDS our dogs are learning to be social in a controlled manner and work with us while close to others dogs but to ignore them as a source of engagement. This is something you should all be working at whilst out on your day to day exercising and training with your canine companion. So make use of other dogs that are around you and work your dog or play with your dog keeping their attention on you at all times, correcting them when and if they wander. If you are matching your dog's energy levels and having fun this shouldn't be too much of an issue for you. Never allow your dog to approach another when in a high level energy, discipline and control, it's not imperative that they meet and greet, they don't need to, that's called being social!
When I hear people tell me that they want their dogs to play with other dogs, I question their motive! Canines generally would not play with another unless they are part of their social group and very familiar to them. So when a completely strange dog approaches at a high level energy showing no respect for you or your dog, then your dog snaps at them or cringes in fear, you shouldn't be surprised at your dogs response. Block the other dog from entering your space and protect your friend and claim your space. Ask the other dog owner to call their dog! Most other dog owners will comply, only a few will be brash with their response, you are entitled to your space when walking your dog!