Dogs are very social by instinct. They are very curious about everyone, everything and every dog. Allowing your dog to actively investigate, interact and socialize with children, people, dogs, etc. is critically important. Starting immediately after you adopt your dog, you should begin the social circuit. If your dog was born with other litter mates, he or she has already been observing and learning about the dance of the dogs . . . ie. the sniffing of the butt. To sniff and be sniffed. This is how dogs greet each other. I always see humans stopping their dog from doing the sniff – and even scolding their dog for doing this natural act. Please, allow your dogs to sniff and be sniffed. Yes, it is socially awkward for humans to imagine that this is socially acceptable – but for your dog – it is. Basically, your dog is deciding whether or not to become friends with the sniffee or not. You will know right away what your dog decides and trust your dog’s instincts, if he doesn’t like a dog or a person, don’t force it.
I have ALWAYS trusted my dog’s keen ability to recognize the good from the bad. Is there someone your dog always growls and barks at? And other people your dog instantly loves? TRUST what your dog is telling you, believe me – they know!
The more your dog interacts with other dogs and people, the happier your dog will be – and so will you. Your dog will have less anxiety and less stress. This really is the key to training your dog. You can immediately spot a dog that has never been socialized – nervous, shaking, nipping, barking, hiding, jumping, stressed out. It’s just not fair for your dog to feel this way. It is so easy to socialize your dog . . . go to dog parks, take classes in dog obedience, take your dog to meet-ups with other dog owners, take your dog to the pet store, take your dog with you when you go out to lunch, etc.