Puppies generally love dogs. Every single dog they meet. Everyone is their friend and they love being social but this doesn’t last forever.
Dogs have a spectrum of sociability and very few of them are friendly with every single dog they meet. So yelling “Don’t worry he is friendly” has zero relevance.
Your dog may be friendly but that doesn’t mean he will get along with every single dog he will meet in his life.
There are essentially four types of dogs in terms of sociability. Sociability is not a fixed trait, it changes as they mature. Social maturity occurs around 12 – 36 months depending on the breed. Larger breeds develop later. Once a dog goes through social maturity you will have the dog that you’ll have for life barring any super negative experiences. On the other hand well managed social interactions can help improve dog’s sociability to a certain degree.
Dog Social – this is where most puppies start but after social maturity only about 10% of dogs fall in to this category. They enjoy seeking out other dogs and are tolerant of poor or rude behaviour. A true dog social adult dog is quite rare.
Dog Tolerant – These dogs, approximately 40% of all dogs, get along with most dogs. They have good communications skills and are fairly tolerant about poor or rude behaviour. They may be playful or neutral. They do require some supervision. This group of dog tends to do quite well on lead around other dogs.
Dog Selective – This group of dogs is equally as common as Dog Tolerant so approximately 40% of all dogs. These dogs have a selection of approved dog friends. Disagreements tend to break out quite easily as these dogs may have a short fuse. Dog selective dogs will have a certain style of play and will get upset by types of play they don’t like – often get described as “fun police” or the “instigator” because they often set the rules for a play session. These dogs tend to not cope well being on lead around other dogs and require supervision and a lot of positive direction.
Dog Aggressive – This is an extremely rare trait to see in puppies and is fairly uncommon in adult dogs at about 10% of dogs. This dogs have a very limited circle of friends or none at all. They have very poor social skills and can be quite reactive on lead. Dog aggressive dogs need a lot of supervision, support, and patience while relying on a lot of direction from their owners. I don't think these dogs are all necessarily aggressive by nature. However, anxious or fearful behaviour in a high stress situation may be shown as aggression as a mechanism of self protection.
It is important to remember that sociability isn’t a fixed trait as dogs mature they become less social and tolerant just like us!
This is just one factor on whether your dog will get on with others. Sociability will change depending on experience. It is easy for a dog to slip down from being Dog Social to Dog Aggressive with a few negative experiences but it is harder to get a down to move up the sociability scale to become more sociable.
Now imagine that your dog is running toward a dog on a lead and you are yelling “It is ok he’s friendly!” The best case scenario is that the other dog is Dog Social but the likelihood that it is, is pretty slim. If it is Dog Selective that unwanted interaction could push the other dog to become Dog Aggressive in the future. The other dog could be Dog Aggressive and the owner is out walking their dog abiding by the law and controlling their dog, trying to make it clear that they don’t want any interaction with other dogs such as keeping their dog on lead, having a yellow ribbon or a give me space vest on their dog and you just let your dog run up to them. You are putting your dog at risk. You are letting your dog down.
Regardless of where your dog falls on the dog sociability spectrum it is up to us to set them up for success.
#dogsociability #yellowribbon #yellowribbondog #dogs #respectfordogs #controlyourdog #itsnotok #idontcareifheisfriendly #dogsdeservebetter