What is Dog Socialization and How Can it Stop My Dog From Reacting to Other Dogs?

Dog socialization is not a major problem with Golden Retrievers. They are known to be easy going, laid back and friendly dogs that get along well with people, children, as well as other pets. They rarely display aggression which is why they are not considered suitable as watch dogs.

The American Kennel Club Breed Standards for the Golden Retriever lists temperament as one of the parameters. According to the guideline and I quote, “the temperament of Goldens is friendly, reliable and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards other dogs or people in normal situations is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character. Unwarranted show of timidity or nervousness is also not in keeping with Golden Retriever character”

In other words, a Golden is a sociable dog and in the unlikely situation that it does not fall into this norm, the behavior has to be rectified in a suitable manner. Socializing is the process of teaching the dog how to react and respond to people, animals, places and situations that it comes across. This process has to preferably begin when your pet is a very young puppy, so that it gets used to the environment in which it lives.


There are a Few Simple Steps in Dog Socialization

  • Dog socialization requires you to expose your pet from an early age to different people, situations, animals, birds, and even vehicles
  • It also requires you to familiarize your pet to the places you visit often like parks and walking areas, shopping areas, etc
  • You can teach your pet to shake hands with visitors to your home as a friendly gesture
  • When neighborhood dogs or other animals are around, you can teach your pet to maintain its composure by talking to it in a calm soothing tone.
  • During outdoor walks or any other outings, your dog may react to other dogs and even start barking. Carry food treats and small toys with you. Use these as distractions whenever your pet gets restless in the presence of other dogs. For instance if your Golden barks at another dog, turn it towards you and engage it in a quick game with a ball or toy until it calms down.
  • At times other dogs may display aggression towards your Golden when you are out on a walk and your pet is not sure how it should respond because it is basically a gentle dog. Act normal and walk at a normal pace. Look away from the aggressive dog and continue the walk. This shows your dog that it is a normal situation and can calm it down.

Proper dog socialization ensures that your pet develops a healthy attitude towards the range of people and animals that are likely to cross its path over the years both at your home and in the immediate neighborhood.

At times there is a tendency to be over protective and keep the pet away from situations where there can be a confrontation with other animals. It is advisable to face the situation head on and train your Golden to behave itself rather than hide from the situations.