A reader writes in with the following question: “What can we do to help our nervous shih-poo become socialized so that she can enjoy having a friend?”
The easiest way to get a dog to be friendly with another dog is to find some bonding exercises they can do together.
The goal is to create multiple situations each day where both dogs enjoy each other’s company.
You can be as creative as you like in finding things your pet might enjoy, but here are 2 of my favorites:
- Nice long walks together. As you teach the dogs to walk calmly, it may be a 2-person job, but pretty soon you should be walking both dogs side-by-side. This lets them feel like a team or a “pack.” As you encounter new dogs, cars and people, the dogs will learn about the world together and start to truly bond. Try to shoot for at least 30 minutes per day. The longer you walk, the more trust your dog will have for the new friend.
- Find a game they can play together. You can train both dogs to sit and stay and then call them from a distance — give them a treat when they get to you. This will allow a shy dog to run with the new dog and realize that it can be an enjoyable experience. Instead of getting scared when the new dog runs, your dog will start to happily run alongside him. Before too long they will enjoy running together in more situations than just getting treats.
Watch this helpful video for more tips:
Working on these exercises and any variations should make buddies of the dogs quickly. Once they are friends, it will be easier to continue to socialize them — the new dog friend will probably help yours come out of his shell quicker when he meets new dogs.
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Keep in mind that socializing dogs is a lifelong process and should be kept up indefinitely.