We joined many of our friends yesterday on a walk. This was Elsa's first walk out with the "poodle gang." I wasn't sure what she would think about it all but knowing her happy go lucky personality I figured she'd love it and she did. She was at first apprehensive; rightly so, as all the owners and dogs congregate it gets pretty crazy. They all love to see their friends and catch up just like we do. Luke adores his friends and is just as crazy as the rest to see them all.
As we approached Elsa started to hesitate; her tail went down and she jammed on her brakes. I stopped for just a moment so that she could assess; she looked at Luke who was more than excited and we kept on going. She barked a bit out of fear and then dove in. She was a tad overwhelmed but in a few minutes she was good to go and loved the rest of the walk and meeting all of her new friends. By the end of the walk she was a pro at all of this pack stuff.
All dogs are different and each one reacts and displays differently. Some dogs are not the social type; much like my Tilley. She has never been one to socialize although she never exhibited any aggression towards other dogs; she just tolerates and goes with the flow. Luke on the other hand is Mr. Social; he loves meeting other dogs and other people, he has always been like this.
For the dogs who are not social butterflies; that is just fine, it is who they are. Although if a dog displays fear or aggression then you must address the problem. If they are just not the social type then you must learn to be okay with that. I don't know how many times I was approached over the years by people wanting their dog to play with Tilley. She would be doing her amazing flying frisbee routine which would draw in the folks. "Can my dog play with yours?" they'd ask. "She doesn't play with other dogs," I'd apprehensively tell them; trying very hard not to sound snobbish. She just didn't want to play with other dogs.
There are dogs who love being social but have poor social skills; the skills need to be addressed. The bubbly social lovers may love to meet and greet but often have over the top out of control behaviors which also need addressing. A dog with good communication skills is a joy to have around. Even if a dog is not the social type, they can convey that to others without being rude about it.
Like us dogs are all different and just like we have to learn to be civil so to do our dogs. Each has the right to be who they are and the fact that they are all so different is a wonderful thing. Yesterday some of the poodle pack were anxious to meet the new one; some not so much which is perfectly fine. Some dogs who are very social and friendly are not so keen on the whole puppy idea. Puppies are different and some dogs are not puppy lovers.
It's important to watch, watch the behaviors of dogs you interact with. And if your dog needs some help in the communication department, best to help them out with this so that they are not left communicating with no one.