How to Find the Perfect Playmates for your Puppies

Many doggie parents start with the right idea—recognizing the need for socialization—but they don’t realize the part they play in the process. Many will take their young pups to a dog park or allow them to play with older dogs, but then just let the dogs work out any problems that may arise on their own. This, in my opinion, is similar to taking your child to a playground, where the children may range in age from two to six, and allowing the six-year-old to bully your two-year-old. The six-year-old really doesn’t know any better, and within minutes you may well have a screaming toddler. The same thing can easily happen if you allow a 4-month-old pup to play with 15-month-old dogs. Somebody is going to get hurt, and the resulting trauma can last the dog’s whole life.

Thinking logically, we take puppies from their mothers at the tender age of eight weeks for one reason only: to bond with humans while learning to live in our society. Why would we then throw that same puppy back into the canine mix with a bunch of dogs he doesn’t know and who might have some undesirable social qualities? It’s not necessarily a good idea. On the other hand, dogs should learn how to interact with other dogs. How, then, do you teach them?


Your dog needs to hear a myriad of sounds, from the sounds of construction to children playing. By exposing him to the life around you, you are teaching him to accept novel situations and experiences.

Most puppies have a tendency to rush right into a new relationship. In the litter, they crawled all over each other, with little respect for each other’s personal space. As their mother weaned them, she taught them that sometimes she just wasn’t “in the mood” for a puppy. She would growl a warning, and if she had to, deliver a quick air snap. Some strong-willed puppies may have received a quick but soft bite on the muzzle. Left with his mother long enough, a pup would have learned to approach an adult cautiously, with submissive, placating postures to make sure the adult realized that he came in peace.

We humans interfere with that process. Often, we restrict the mother dog’s behavior toward her puppies because we misinterpret it, or we remove the pups from their mother too soon, so they don’t get the opportunity to learn.  If you know some adult dogs who are trustworthy but not overly tolerant, try to set up play dates so that they can interact with your puppy. They are likely to be much more efficient at teaching manners to your pup than you are.

Filed Under: Pets & Animals


About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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