|How does your dog act toward strangers?
* Some dogs love everybody. My own dog, Buffy, "never met a stranger." By that I mean she treats everyone like
a long-lost friend – even people she's never met!
* Some dogs are fine with their own family (and perhaps a few family friends), but aren't keen on strangers.
* Some dogs are fine with people of one sex – but not the other sex.
* Some dogs are fine with adults – but not with children. (A few dogs are the opposite – they're fond of kids, but
wary of adults.)
* Man with hat petting dogSome dogs are suspicious of certain physical features. For example, a floppy hat, or
dark sunglasses, or a beard, or a uniform, might set off warning bells in some dogs. A few dogs are so observant
they may even notice a person's skin color and react suspiciously if it's not what they're used to.
* Some dogs dislike ALL strangers.
* And some dogs basically ignore strangers – their motto seems to be: "Live and let live."
How does your dog act with other dogs?
* Some dogs are friendly with virtually every other dog.
* Some dogs are good with other dogs they know well – but not with strange dogs.
* Some dogs are good with dogs of the opposite sex – but not the same sex.
* Some dogs are tolerant with puppies – but not with other adult dogs.
* Some dogs are fussy about the SIZE of the other dog. They may dislike dogs larger than themselves. Or they
may dislike dogs smaller than themselves.
* Some dogs recognize their own breed.Some dogs are fussy about the BREED of the other dog. They may be
fine with their own breed, but dislike other breeds. Or they may be fine with other breeds, but not with their own!
* Some dogs are aggressive or timid with virtually every other dog.
* And some dogs just ignore other dogs.
Your dog's attitude toward people and other dogs comes from...
Your dog's breed
In some breeds, the GENES for temperament traits are so strong and so prevalent throughout the breed that
most individuals in that breed inherit those genes and tend to act in that manner. For example, most Golden
Retrievers inherit genes for friendliness, most Chihuahuas inherit genes for suspiciousness, and most hounds,
terriers, and northern (spitz) breeds inherit genes for predatory or chasing instincts toward other animals that
Your dog's parents
If your dog's parents had a particular attitude toward people and other dogs, your dog will inherit THEIR genes
and will probably mimic THEIR behavior. So, for example, if your dog's breed is usually friendly, but his particular
parents were suspicious, he may well be suspicious, too.
How long your dog lived with his mother and siblings
During the first 7 weeks of his life, a puppy's mother and siblings are supposed to teach him important canine
social signals such as bite inhibition, where they correct him firmly if he plays too rough. Thus, puppies who are
removed from their litter before 7 weeks old miss these early lessons and often turn out nippy and resistant to
being handled by people, or aggressive or fearful with other dogs. On the flip side, if a puppy lives with his
mother or siblings for more than 12 weeks, his position in the pecking order may be so established that he will
always be inclined to be too pushy (if he was at the top) or too submissive (if he was at the bottom) toward
people or other dogs.
Your dog's early experiences
A puppy who was frightened by another person or dog early in his life, or who acted inappropriately toward other
people or dogs and wasn't properly corrected, may end up perpetually aggressive or fearful.
How well you socialize him once you bring him home
Socializing means teaching your dog to get alone with strangers, children, other dogs, cats, other pets, and the
big wide world in general.
* PUPPY socialization has the most dramatic effect on how your dog turns out. The most critical period in a dog's
life, psychologically, is his first six months, and especially the narrow window between 7 weeks old and 16 weeks
old. You must introduce your puppy to the concept of strangers and other animals during this critical period...
...and you need to do it carefully, in a safe and controlled setting, monitoring your puppy's reactions and
responding accordingly, so that he learns how to behave. This critical period comes only once in your dog's life,
so it's important to get it right!
* Tiny aggressive dog barking at a big scared dogADOLESCENT socialization is next in importance.
Adolescence begins between 6 and 9 months old, and ends between 1 and 3 years old. Larger breeds have the
longest adolescent periods.
Just as in people, adolescence in dogs can be an awkward time of change and upheaval, with a teenage dog's
attitude toward strangers and other dogs often changing from week to week, from friendly to suddenly fearful or
aggressive. HOW you handle these fluctuating reactions is very important!
* ADULT socialization may be too late to change your dog's attitude toward people and other animals. In other
words, if he is timid or shy or suspicious, he may always feel that way.
But socialization, even at this late date, can still change his BEHAVIOR toward people and other animals. You
can teach him to stand quietly and ACCEPT people and other dogs (even if he doesn't particularly like them)
without growling or bolting away.
|As a dog owner, I do solemnly swear:
* I will never overlook my responsibilities for this living being and recognize that my dog's welfare is
totally dependent on me.
* I will always provide fresh water and quality food for my dog.
* I will socialize my dog via exposure to new people, places and other dogs.
* I will take pride in my dog's appearance with regular grooming.
* I will recognize the necessity of basic training by teaching my dog to reliably sit, stay and come when
* I will take my dog to the vet regularly and keep all vaccinations current.
* I will pick-up and properly dispose of my dog's waste.
* I will make sure my dog is regarded as an AKC Canine Good Citizen® by being aware of my
responsibilities to my neighbors and to the community.
* I will ensure that the proper amount of exercise and mental stimulation appropriate for my dog's age,
breed and energy level is provided.
* I will ensure that my dog has some form of identification (which may include collar tags, tattoo or
* I will adhere to local leash laws.