At the beginning of your puppy’s development there is a period of time where all of his experiences will have a big impact on his approach to life. This usually occurs within the first three to four months of life. This is where all the positive encounters with other dogs will determine whether your puppy will grow up to be dog friendly. Also, the bad experiences during this period will have the opposite effect making your puppy fearful of other dogs and possibly aggressive towards other dogs.
Adult dogs are much harder to train and socialize in regards to other dogs. This doesn't mean that you should not still improve his social skills. You will just need to take it slower than with a puppy. Using a professional trainer is the best way to go if you see your adult dog showing signs of aggression or timidity with other dogs.
How to Raise a Dog-Friendly Puppy
The first part is always the easiest and you really don't have to be involved in this step. That is because the puppy's mother and his littermates will do most of the work for you.
Puppies that remain with the litter for two or three weeks longer will teach each other how to act around other dogs. They will learn how to read the signs of submission and dominance through play. Without this type of training in canine etiquette a dog may attack another dog who's being submissive. This can be a dangerous situation for the puppy who was taken away from the litter too early. Such puppies have not learned how to properly signal their submission to other dogs.
Allow Your Puppy to Practice His Canine Etiquette
When getting a puppy you should never acquire one that was taken away from their litter before they were eight weeks old. When a dog is taken away from its litter too early the pup will not have had the chance to learn proper canine etiquette with his littermates.
Setting up playdates with other dogs is also a great way to socialize your new puppy. Just make sure that the dogs you invite over have been fully vaccinated. Choose dogs that are mellow and well-behaved for these playdates.
Enroll your puppy in school. Signing your puppy up for doggie-Kindergarten classes are great as they allow the puppies to play off-leash.
Dogs of all ages crave a social life. As your puppy approaches six months of age you can start taking him to the dog park. At this point you should also invite some friends to come along with their dogs so your puppy has some familiar friends to play with. This type of activity will allow your dog to be introduced to other dogs. This activity should be kept up over the entire lifespan of your dog because dogs do tend to regress from their training.
The point here is that no matter what breed of dog you have it should get regular playtime with other canines if you want him to be friendly and safe around other dogs. The most important period of time to provide this training is when the dog is between three to five months of age. This is the time where his experiences will shape his adult personality.