How to Help Your Pooch Make Dog Friends

He may be your best friend, but your dog will still need other pooches to pal around with.

There are many different types of dogs. Some dogs are natural extroverts—they love spending time with other dogs and people, and any day they get to make a new friend is a great day. Some, however, are introverted, and have problems making new furry friends.

As your dog’s best friend, it’s your job to get him out to properly socialize so that he gets along with other dogs. But how do you help your dog make friends with other dogs? Here are six tips on how to do it.

How Do Dogs Make Friends?

How did you connect with your best friends? If you think about those relationships started, they were formed around common interests. But things are a little different with dogs. Pooches love the same things—belly rubs, chasing balls, and long walks on the beach. How do dogs make friends and how do they decide which dogs to be friends with?

It’s important to know that most canine communication is non-verbal. When two dogs meet for the first time, they use olfactory clues and analyze body language to get a feel for each other. If both dogs are friendly and sending out positive vibes, they’re more likely to become friends. However, it’s not that simple all the time. Past experiences can also determine how dogs make friends. For example, if your dog had a bad experience with a certain breed in the past, he may be wary around that particular breed in the future and may be less likely to make friends with them.

6 Tips to Help Your Dog Make Friends

It doesn’t take long for dogs to decide if they like each other. Even so, there are still things you can do to help your dog make BFFs:

  • Start socializing your dog as a puppy. Because they are impressionable during their first 6 months, take this time to expose your puppy to other dogs—it will mean that he’s more likely to form positive associations with new dogs as he becomes older.
  • Organize playdates with other dogs. They’re not just for kids! One-on-on playdates are a great way to get your puppy that early socialization he needs (without going to the dog park). Make sure both dogs are similar in size and temperament, as that will increase their chances of getting along.
  • Is your dog neutered or spayed? Yes, this can also help your dog make new friends. Spaying and neutering can influence your dog’s behavior, which will reduce the likelihood that he will become overly aggressive or territorial with other dogs.
  • Go to dog park. When your dog is old enough, fully vaccinated, and obedience trained, it’s time to take him to the dog park to interact with other dogs.
  • Make friends with other dog owners. You’ll have to make friends, too! Find someone that you click with at the dog park or in your neighborhood, and spend time together at home or going for walks with your pooches.
  • Positive reinforcement. Even friendly dogs can still be nervous around other dogs—all it takes is one negative experience to cause major problems. Make sure your dog’s experiences are positive by rewarding him for good behavior around other dogs.

You may consider your dog your best friend, but remember that it’s healthy for him to have friends of his own. Being social animals by nature, having a canine friend can provide your dog with a level of companionship you can’t provide.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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