He just wants to ‘Say Hello’

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He just wants to ‘Say Hello’. Its right up there with ‘Its ok he’s friendly’ for me. I mean, what about what the other dog wants?

Its really REALLY important we teach our puppies that not every dog is for making friends with.

The thing is not all dogs are friendly. Not all dogs want to say hello. Some dogs (and their owners) just want to be left alone.

The 1 in 3 Rule

Good dog trainers teach their clients to adopt a 1 in 3 approach when socialising their puppies. For every three dogs you encounter in the park –

  1. Pup says quick hello, quick sniff (2/3 seconds) and move along
  2. Puppy is allowed to say hello and stop to have a run and a play
  3. Pup passes by without stopping/sniffing bottoms/saying hello

*1 & 2 are assuming the other dog guardian is happy for this to happen

He just wants to ‘Say Hello’ sees many puppies running straight into trouble. Keep puppy safe by teaching them to have a take it or leave it attitude to other dogs.

He just wants to ‘Say Hello’ an ugly example

A friend of a friend had a small, young dog. One day she was going out to the car on the drive, the young dog was loose. A lady walked by with her own small dog just at the wrong time. Puppy took off up the road “He just wanted to ‘Say Hello’ just like he always does”. The puppy couldn’t be recalled. This over friendly puppy ran straight into trouble resulting in him losing an eye. True story.

Long Term Damage

And its not just the physical injuries. One traumatic, terrifying episode with another dog can stay with them forever therefore leaving long term damage. That one event can burn a pathway in puppies brain so powerful that all the previous good experiences go out the window.

I’ll bet dog trainers and behaviourist hear it on a daily basis. “He used to be great with other dogs. Then (insert incident with dog that did not want to say hello) happened and now he barks and lunges/ tries to run off/ freezes and won’t move as soon as we see another dog.”

Puppy Socialisation – The Dos

  • Puppy has a range of suitable pals – other puppies, older dogs, large breeds, small breeds
  • Calm and polite greetings are taught
  • Puppy is taught not all dogs are for playing with, they can be recalled away/pass on lead without trying to lunge across the road to ‘Say Hello’
  • Owner understands what appropriate and inappropriate play looks like and learns their dogs body language
  • Owner will be their dogs advocate – speak up/ step in to avoid the opportunity to practise unwanted behaviours
  • Mobile phones stay in the pocket during walks – PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Puppy Socialisation – The Don’ts

  • Play Sessions/Daycare environments that are a free for all – puppy is left to get told off by other dogs and learn the hard way
  • Puppy is allowed to rush up to every dog and every person they see
  • Forced situations where puppy is scared/is trying to escape or hide
  • Play sessions for puppy that last far too long and leave puppy frazzled, over tired, unable to think and make good decisions

Getting it Right

Contact a Positive Reinforcement Dog Trainer. Sign up for puppy classes. They may be via Zoom at the moment but they still work. In fact, they work really well. They will give you the skills and the knowledge you need to stay in the green.

Recommended Local Dog Trainers

Kate at Clicking with Canines http://www.clickingwithcanines.co.uk

Kim at Pooches Galore http://www.poochesgalore.co.uk

Jo at Positively Canine http://www.positively-canine.business.site

For more on Puppy Socialisation click here

To find out about our puppy care services click here