Dogs are social animals. Unlike cats, they don't naturally seek to be alone. They prefer to have friends and families and to be a part of a group. Dogs on their own get lonely and lonely dogs spell big trouble for your slippers and your furniture. If you want your dog to develop healthy relationships with other dogs and people, it's important to socialize them when they're puppies. Here are some tips on how to get your dog out, about, and happy to see whoever he meets.
One of the first things you and your puppy should do after you get together is attend an obedience class. Obedience classes teach you how to handle your dog, teach your dog how to understand what you want, and expose your puppy to other dogs in a structured, supervised setting. In addition to learning appropriate behaviour in general, they'll mingle and socialize and get to know one another, becoming comfortable with the interactions.
If there's a dog park near your home, you should make an effort to take your dog there at least once per week. Some dog owners keep their dogs leashed and close by, worried they'll cause problems, but dog parks should be a place where dogs can meet and play together. Let them sniff each other, figure out their dominance order, and play with each other rather than structuring and controlling every encounter they have with another dog. If you fear letting your dog interact with other dogs, they will sense that fear and either act out of fear themselves or act protectively.
If you know another person who has a dog, invite them and their dog over to your house for a play date. This will help your dog get used to the idea of other people and dogs visiting his territory so that he won't bark so much and get upset when new people come over later in his life. One way to make the territorial invasion fun is to have lots of treats, praise, and games ready for when the new friend comes over.
If you notice your dog getting upset when other dogs come near him, this could be the beginning of a problem with aggression. To keep it from getting to the point where no one can visit you, deal with the problem quickly by seeing a dog trainer for help. You can also make the appearance of new dogs and people into a thing to look forward to by being happy and excited about it yourself and offering plenty of treats and toys.