Your dog doesn’t need to play with every dog he meets and not every dog belongs in a dog park, but a well-socialized and stable dog will at least greet a dog in a way that strengthens stability.
It often seems that everything goes well with our dogs and then out of nowhere – boom we have a behavior issue. Your dog barks at men all the time or your dog is now tossing at approaching dogs.
In most cases, these behaviors are not white label behavior. These questions probably have been in the works for some time, but the clues went unnoticed.
Always easier to look for clues after something happened than to see these same clues in real-time. Sometimes the early signs are missed because there is no alarming behavior to detect. It’s often the lack of behaviors that need to be observed.
Dog starts barking at men – Let’s say this behavior began in May: how was your dog’s interaction with men in January, February and other months leading up to May? Whether your dog was excited to greet men or the dog stayed on the opposite side of the room and did not interact with the new person? Not interacting with new people is an early sign of some kind of uncertainty, fear, hesitation or imminent aggression. A socially stable and confident dog will be very curious to greet a new person. They will be interested in this new person that comes into their environment. They will make the effort to greet the person.
Dog begins pipping around dogs – Maybe you just got back from the dog park and your dog snuck at 7 dogs today so you’re just re-googling some information that might help you understand why. Imagine what you saw at the dog park once or twice, can you describe your dog’s interaction with the other dogs? Was he/she greeting the others, engaged by chasing or wringing with the others or your dog always showed off from approaching dogs and kept at your heels even when you walked around the entire dog park? Just like with the example above, not interfering is your first sign that there could be an issue. Your dog doesn’t have to play with every dog he meets and not every dog belongs in a dog park, but a well-socialized and stable dog will at least greet a dog in a manner that identifies stability. An example of that is that a dog park is not necessarily a good place to socialize a dog.