Why Your Dog Likes Some Dogs and Not Others

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July 30, 2017
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Let’s face it, like us, dogs may not always like everyone at the dog park or at dog daycare. Sometimes this may be due to body language that we can’t see or smells that the other dog may have. Dogs communicate with each other in ways we can’t always detect. A flick of an ear, a tail held high with a curl, or a dog that may not be neutered can bring about a response from our dog that we did not expect.

Another reason that your dog may not like another dog can be due to historical experience. If your dog had a negative experience with a body type of another dog, your dog may exhibit fear and aggressive behavior toward dogs that match that body type. For example, if your dog was once attacked or in a fight with a white large dog, your dog may have negative responses to other large white dogs.

Your dog’s behavior may also be about you. It could be that actually your dog is being protective of you in an almost possessive way. Your hesitation or nervousness may travel down the leash, your dog may sense your slight changes in stance or breathing and in turn, feel the need to protect you.

How to alter this behavior

If your dog’s dislike of certain dogs is problematic, it may be time to find a trainer or behaviorist to learn how to retrain your dog’s mind. If it’s milder, you may be able to redirect your dog with a lot of positive training and reinforcement.

For example, if your dog sometimes is hesitant meeting other dogs and fine with others, you may be able to use treats to train your dog. Have the dog sit for a treat, watch you for a treat and then go out on walks. As you’re getting near to another dog, give lots of treats. Your dog may start associating the presence of other dogs with two things: first, with the dog controlling itself so it gets the treats, and second, with getting the treats.

Start socializing early

The best way to prevent this kind of dislike from becoming an issue is to take your new puppy to a good puppy socialization class. These classes are great ways to introduce your dog to all types and sizes of other dogs with supervision of a trainer or behaviorist. Your dog will get used to meeting and playing with many different dogs. It is a great introduction to playing in the dog park.

Have other tips? Let us know!

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