Learn How To Make An Unsocial Dog Social
3 October, 2011

My cousin, Jamie, has a dog that she just adopted. For some reason, this dog does not like to play with other dogs. The problem is she wants to take him to the dog park and introduce him to other dog owners. I wanted to help her out and did some research to find out why and how we could help her dog socialize with others.

First off, we all know that dogs are social animals, so we simply assume that most dogs want to interact with others. However, some dogs (like my cousin’s) become anxious when exposed to other dogs. Dogs are genetically predisposed to forming packs and to work together to protect the pack from other dogs. However, some breeds are more timid in ‘making friends’ and/or sometimes.

The below are some ideas/reasons as to why your dog may be antisocial and some advice on how to help your dog.


Dogs are less likely to be anxious around other dogs when they interact with dogs that are not aggressive or intimidating to them. Therefore, I recommend that dog owners introduce puppies or new dogs to other calm dogs. Dogs can become afraid of specific breeds of dogs, dogs of certain sizes or dogs with a specific color, resulting from negative experiences. When a dog has a negative experience with one dog but a positive experience with others, it is likely to be wary but still trust some dogs.

Dogs are Territorial

Some dogs behave more aggressively when they think they are on their own territory. When you introduce your dog to another dog, on that other dog’s territory, the other dog could be more aggressive, which can lead to negative experiences. Dogs sniff so they can identify each other. When you do not allow your dogs to do this, they might feel anxiety. So, let your dog meet another dog on his terms. So, the best advice is to try to have the dog interact on your home yard and or give your dog time to behave on another dog’s space.



Bad Puppy experience

Dogs sometimes have bad experiences with other dogs at an early age. This causes the dog to feel fearful and react with anxiety when interacting with other dogs. The dog’s brain develops rapidly, and dogs eventually develop patterns that become set. In addition, dogs are evolutionarily predisposed to certain behaviors, so most training cannot change that which is inherent in the dog. If you’re worried about your dog being anxious around other dogs, you can try to adopt a dog that already has its personality formed and has a calm temperament, i.e. an older dog.

Negative Associations

Dogs sometimes associate negative experiences with certain areas. For instance, if a certain dog often jumps on or growls at your dog at the vet, your dog could fear going to the vet altogether. When dogs are stressed out when they meet other dogs, they might feel anxious because they associate other dogs with that stress. Introducing dogs to each other when they are not stressed can cut the overall anxiety they experience with other dogs.

I hope these tips help and that your dog can be a little more social!

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