Just like babies, puppies are not born with a desire to be aggressive and mean. Imagine a puppy being vicious, you can’t. They are happy, friendly, playful, and love anyone who will give them attention. As dogs grow older, many things can change. If your pup was abused before you rescued them, they may be skittish and anti-social. If your dog was beaten by a previous owner, they may be scared of people with beards or some other feature that the owner had.

There are many reasons why a dog may not like socializing with other dogs or people. There are many reasons why they may be aggressive or mean. But you can teach your dog to be more comfortable around people or dogs, and stay friendly and happy during encounters. It is best to teach your dog to be friendly when they are a puppy.

As explained in an article from Dogtime.com, there is a short window in a dog’s life where they are extremely sensitive to their environment. During the early stages of your dog’s life, their situations and experiences can dramatically change how they act as adults. This age can range from a few weeks to about four months old. During this time, you want to train your pup and help them to become a friendly dog to both people and other dogs.

At Hillsdale Animal Hospital, we know that having a friendly dog is much easier and more stress-free than having an aggressive or territorial dog. While keeping your dog healthy is important, you also want them to be friendly around others. Our vet clinic can take care of the health part with our variety of services, and the following tips can help you train your dog to be friendlier!

In this blog, we are going to give you tips for training your fur baby to become a social butterfly as an adult!

Take Them to Dog Parks

Dog parks are a great place to get your pup socializing with others without being on the leash. Some dogs act tough when leashed but once that restraint is no longer an issue they suddenly forget why they were being so grumpy. A dog park will allow your pup to get used to other dogs and people. Some dogs only get used to their doggy siblings, but bringing them to a dog park allows for them to meet a whole crew of new dogs. While they might be confident and tough at home, it only takes one full-grown Great Dane to put your pup in their place.

Schedule Puppy Play Dates

Puppy play dates allow your dog to get used to other dogs in a more intimate setting. Hang out with your friend while your puppies play in the backyard. They will be able to play in a less stressful setting than the dog park and still have to play nice with another dog. Switching up the play dates with different dogs or inviting a few new dogs can help them learn to socialize as well.

Train Them on the Leash

If you don’t want your pup to bark when they are on the leash, you will have to train them on the leash. Some dogs will only bark at other dogs on the leash, other will bark at people and dog, and some will mind your own business and just keep walking. While you could simply stay far away from other people and dogs during your walks, that is sometimes unrealistic and training them not to bark on the leash is more beneficial.

One good way to do this is to have your puppy sit every time another dog is about to pass. Bring training treat with you to reward them when they do a good job. Tell them to sit and hold and treat making them focus on you. Use a command, such as “quiet,” so that when you use it later in life they know what it means. Keep them focused on you as the dog passes and make sure they don’t bark. If they don’t bark and sit there silently reward them and get overly excited. Dogs love excitement. Make them sit everytime someone passes, eventually, they may be able to walk past other dogs and people without even giving them any notice.

Meet People Slowly

If your pup is skittish around people or snaps at them as they approach, you will want to teach them not to do this. Approach this slowly. There are two ways to do this. Have the person wanting to pet your dog sit still and allow your pup to come to them. Or make your pup sit and have the person slowly approach them, with their fist out so your pup can sniff them. Some dogs can feel threatened if someone approaches them too quickly. If you are at your home and have guests over, allow everyone to sit down and get settled before letting your puppy into the room. This will allow them to come into a room that is calm and relaxed rather than having people continue to filter through the door. Have treats ready to give them and have your guests give them treats as well.

These are a few tips to help your puppy grow into a social and friendly adult dog. One of the best things to do is to bring them out as much as possible. If you head somewhere with a patio or a concert in the park, bring your pup so that they get used to social situations and understand that they can’t bark at everyone they see.

Training your pup to be friendly isn’t difficult, but it may take some time. In the end, it is worth having a dog that is easy and fun to bring around people! Train your dog to be friendly and remember to schedule your dog’s next wellness exam at Hillsdale Animal Hospital. We can ensure your pup stays healthy and happy! Contact us to learn more and visit our Advance vet clinic today.