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While supervised off leash play with other dogs is a crucial part of socialising a young puppy, it is also very important to teach a new puppy that there are dogs that they DON’T get to meet. Many new puppy owners, either fretting about socialising their puppy to enough dogs in their sensitive socialisation window, or just wanting their new pup to have fun with other dogs, make the mistake of trying to introduce their puppy to every dog they see.
Though the thinking behind this action is well-meaning, it often causes the puppy to grow up expecting that they’ll get to meet almost every dog they encounter. As the puppy gets bigger and the owners’ thoughts turn to teaching the puppy to walk on lead without pulling, suddenly the puppy is expected to walk past another dog without pulling towards them. Understandably, this leads to a very frustrated puppy – “What do you mean, ignore the dog? I ALWAYS get to meet the dog!”
To avoid this issue, don’t forget to teach your puppy that good things happen around other dogs even if they don’t get to meet them. This will be beneficial for both the socialisation and obedience training.
Our general rule with our own dogs is to completely avoid on-leash greetings with unknown dogs when out on a walk, especially with a young dog. Dogs communicate through their body language, and tight leashes can cause miscommunications that lead to altercations. We prefer to save our dogs’ playtime for when they’re off leash, and when on a walk our focus is on quality time between us and the dog, exploring and enjoying each other’s company.
We offer both supervised off leash play groups to help socialise your puppy, and obedience classes to help your dog focus around distractions like other dogs.