Are Dogs Social Animals?
Dogs are loved worldwide thanks to their adorable smiles when interacting with humans. But have you ever thought of the science behind their love and affection? Dogs are social animals by nature and though there are cases of antisocial or aggressive dogs, they are generally sociable with other dogs and people.
However, there are mixed anecdotes when it comes to dogs being sociable. People who have experienced aggressive dogs would obviously be doubtful with dog-to-human interactions. And the God favorites who have always been loved by dogs would tell you otherwise! So which is actually the case? Are dogs actually sociable? Let’s find out!
The truth is, it’s different for every single dog! Each dog has their own tolerance level towards other dogs and people. Though it can be trained and modified, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog would remain to be dog tolerant. There are various factors contributing to a dog’s tolerance level and sociability. A dog that is more exposed to other dogs since young would obviously have a higher tolerance as compared to a dog who isn’t. A sociable and outgoing environment could also increase the tolerance level as well. However, there is also uncontrollable variables such as the dog’s innate genetic component.
Dog’s social activity can be segregated into three different stages; dog social, dog tolerant, dog aggressive and dog selective. Most puppies start at the Dog Social stage where they enjoy being with other dogs. Their tolerance against rude behaviors from other dogs are also incredibly high in this stage. This is the time when they would genuinely seek out other dogs’ companion as they enjoy it. However, this stage doesn’t last forever. Most dogs would move from this stage.
On another stage would be the Dog Tolerant stage where dogs are just generally more tolerable towards other dogs. They would also most likely have a longer fuse as well as good communication skills. Dogs who rest on this stage would get along well with most other dogs, and they can tend to be more playful. Most dogs would usually reach this stage upon maturity.
Some other stages would be dog selective where the dog would be more careful with its circle of friends. Dogs in this stage would have a smaller circle of dogs that they are okay with. This means that they are also less tolerant and may dislike certain play styles or dogs. Owners of dogs this stage would be required to give positive direction and be observant while having their dog on leash. With all these said, fights may also happen easily with this dog when mixed with others. However, do know that this is very normal for adult dogs at maturity!
Lastly, we have the dreaded Dog Aggressive stage. In this stage, dogs have very limited circle of dog friends. It would not be a surprise if the dog has no dog friends at all! This also means that the dog has very little social skills and would spark up fights very easily. Do know that this is uncommon among adult dogs, let alone puppies. However, behavioral training could very well improve the dog’s sociability. This means that the owner has to be patient, disciplined and positive in guiding the dog!
Regardless, you should know that every trait in any of the spectrum is flexible. This means that it is the owner’s responsibility in ensuring that the dog is on the spectrum that is most healthy for them! Just like how not all of us enjoy a night out in the bustling clubs, there is nothing wrong in your dog not liking social interactions. Identify healthy behaviors suited best for your dog and not for your own personal desires or ambitions! With this said, if your dog does exhibit worrying symptoms of aggressiveness or selectivity despite having exposed to socialization at a young age, you should definitely get it checked. Though it is trainable and fixable, it requires a lot of guidance and patience!
A dog’s socialization affects the growth of the dog in terms of its sociability and where it lands on the spectrum.With this said, bringing your dog out to the park may seem like a small deed, but it plays a major role in determining your dog’s personality! With this said, there are many more benefits when it comes to socializing your dog.
It is obvious that the more you bring your dog out, the more sociable your dog gets. With this said, unsociable dogs are due to anxious behaviors when in contact with other dogs. This anxiety comes when the dog has lesser experience in socializing with other dogs. They simply do not have the confidence when it comes to interactions with other dogs and people.
This is where you should jump in! Bring your dog out more to socialize. There’s no other way around it then to actually get your dog out. By socializing, your dog would learn and develop new and good behaviors along the way. Not mentioning the many positive reinforcements that your dog would get from other dogs and people. This would slowly build your dog’s confidence and will be more comfortable when going out.
Not only does your dog get a boost of confidence, the owner too would start to get more comfortable! Once your dog is well adapted in his comfort and confidence to go out, life would be much easier for you as the owner.
The saying “a tired pup is a good pup” rings true for most dogs. Dogs who spent a majority of their time exercising, running and going out for walks tend to be healthier. And just like how humans get tired after going to the gym, dogs too feel the same! Dogs that socialize a lot will certainly be healthier than dogs who don’t.
Getting your dog to socialize more could also build your dog’s mental health. Dogs that aren’t sociable are usually more prune to separation anxiety or depression. Similar to us humans, a dog that has a healthy circle of friends will create a healthy mental state for your dog.
Many dog owners dread the idea of bringing their dogs to the vet as their dogs might get reactive. This is where socialization comes in! A well socialized dog have much lesser chances in reacting negatively towards other dogs and people. One of the reasons as to why dogs get aggressive is that they see other dogs or people as possible incoming threats. Socializing teaches your dog that not every single interaction is a threat. The more comfortable your dog gets with interactions from other dogs and animals, the lesser that your dog would react.
A dog that is not socialized can severely limit the places that you can bring your dog to. You can’t bring your dog out to parks nor can you leave them at dog day cares when you go on a trip. Having friends or family over can be difficult as well if your dog is not good with interactions.
This is why socializing your dog when they are young is extremely crucial! Exposing your pup teaches your dog that just because he is in a new environment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is in danger. Your dog would feel much at ease when you bring him out for walks in new parks or even for a dog trip.
Last but not least, probably one of the most rewarding benefits is that the relationship between you and your dog would get stronger! The process of getting your dog more socialized also carry with it a lot of time spent with your dog. This means that the bond between the two of you will naturally grow tighter. Your dog would also come to trust you even more.
With these said, getting your dog socialized is not only beneficial but fundamental! It plays a crucial role in developing a healthy lifestyle for your dog. This means that as the owner, you are responsible in your dog’s health as well. A healthy dog, though it takes work, is definitely worth it.