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I have never seen this question asked here in the forum. Maybe there is no easy guideline for this?

How do you know which dogs to let your dog socialize with safely-- offlead? How do you judge, determine, which dogs your dog would be compatible and friendly with? This must seem like a stupid question and so basic-- but I never had a puppy before, and Grimm is now 18 months, and almost ready to visit some doggy social-walking groups.

Grimm is not neutered (and will not be). He is slightly pushy, impulsive, excitable for his young age-- but also intuitive, generally friendly, has no truly huge dominance agenda. Also, being turned out for 10 hours a day in a huge doggy playgroup for 4 weeks at the send-away trainer's has made him learn to REALLY curb his enthusiasm, calm his greetings, and TOTALLY made him conversant in doggy-bodylanguage. He plays with dogs he likes, and ignores dogs he doesn't like. (so says my send-away trainer)

Can he never meet a pushy dog? Or a terrier? Or a female who has had pups too recently? An un-neutered male off lead? Should I keep him away from pushy dogs in general, of all genders? I do know to watch on lead for head and tail positions, hackles, stiffness, etc. But.. I have never known how people do this. Is much dependant on what the other owner says? My own dog is young... this is quite a lot to learn for me. Do you just have a sense for how things may go between the two dogs before allowing a sniff on lead, if all is peaceful, then off lead?
 

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initially i got a general idea thru friends and relatives dogs. dogs in which i already knew their personalities, etc. i paid close attention to how Tilden accepted (or didnt accept) and played with each dog and took mental notes. i never completely trust what other owners say, i just KNOW MY DOG. i dont love dog parks so i tend not to take my dogs there. i do however involve myself in a small group doggie playdate. the dogs vary from 5 up to about 20 at most. and just as your trainer described Grimm, Tilden ignores the dogs he doesnt like and plays with the ones he likes. if i see dogs that are playing too rough, or being testy with other dogs... or if a dog is too young, too old, whatever - i just distract my dog and get him into a game of fetch or we go for a walk to a different part of the park.

So i dont really have any tips / advice - i just wanted to share my experience and let you know that above all you have to know your dog and be in tune with their behavior, cues and body language.

Even with my older female, i can meet a dog on my own and already know from watching that dog if she'll get along with it or not. I know whats likely to set her off and try my best to avoid it.

On leash its the same way, ask the person if their dog is friendly with other dogs... and be prepared in case they arent. thru process of elimination you'll find out who he's okay with and who he's not.

I would start off with dog savvy folks tho, not just your common john walking his lab down the street.
 

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imo, dog parks arent nessicerily a good thing. you get alot of dumbells without a clue,out in dog parks.i'd pick a time when there are primarily dog-savvy owners,there.introduce your dog on lead to all dogs he'll be interacting with and watch him/feel him out. give commands/corrections when needed and let him work it out. if you see iffy things with him/other dog.depending on WHAT you see is how to handle it.watch his/other dogs posture.though your dog maybe ok, someone elses may not be. or vice versa.
best of luck.
ps also,reinforce obeidiance training prior to play session with the dog group. this will assist if there is an issue as hes primed to recall and obey.
 

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How do you know which dogs to let your dog socialize with safely-- offlead?

I would find a small group of dog owners - of non-pushy dogs in general like Labs and Retrievers, or female dogs. But it's not neccessarily just the problem to find nice dogs who can play with Grimm off leash. It's more about carefully observing the dogs during play and interrupting them should they get to wild. I've had more than one dog fight with neutered dogs who are best buddies, when the play accelerated into a (non-serious) fight. You've always got to watch it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies! This all does make sense. I guess that's it-- I don't yet have much of a "sense" for how Grimm is with other dogs.

Today a German Shorthaired Pointer, 3 years, female, arrived at the trainer's, and she and Grimm apparently knew eachother. He and she both had head and tails high, but nobody was tense. He kissed her ears. Then they sniffed and play-bowed with growling, and sprang away to be goofy together for 2 minutes, then calm, just hanging out together quietly under a tree. I have never seen Grimm off lead with another dog up close before.

The trainer says that Grimm is not the most dominant in the pack. He speaks good doggy language, and fits right in, ignoring dogs he chooses not to play with. Hopefully-- none of this will change as he matures. (still VERY puppylike at 18 months)

I appreciate hearing your experiences-- this is all stuff I need to learn. Thank you!
 

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Originally Posted By: prophecyimo, dog parks arent nessicerily a good thing. you get alot of dumbells without a clue,out in dog parks.i'd pick a time when there are primarily dog-savvy owners,there.introduce your dog on lead to all dogs he'll be interacting with and watch him/feel him out. give commands/corrections when needed and let him work it out. if you see iffy things with him/other dog.depending on WHAT you see is how to handle it.watch his/other dogs posture.though your dog maybe ok, someone elses may not be. or vice versa.
best of luck.
ps also,reinforce obeidiance training prior to play session with the dog group. this will assist if there is an issue as hes primed to recall and obey.

I have to agree......... Also some folks do not vaccinate for all diseases and the dog parks can be a pitri dish , if you will ....

Try with other friends' dogs that you know too- take them for walks together leashed - take it from there-
one step at a time-
 

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Originally Posted By: BrightelfThe trainer says that Grimm is not the most dominant in the pack. He speaks good doggy language, and fits right in, ignoring dogs he chooses not to play with.
This is good! He has good communication skills, doesn't engage in dominant posturing, and simply ignores dogs he's not interested in greeting. Dogs with poor social skills are a lot more likely to get themselves in trouble.

I'm probably in the minority, but I've been taking my dogs regularly to off leash parks. I let THEM choose which dogs they want to greet. Because the parks we go to are large open space areas, and we're walking along rather than standing around, we pass by many other dogs. Sometimes there are sniffs, tail wags, and occasionally muzzle licks, sometimes not. They never act dominant with other dogs, and if they did, I'd put a stop to it immediately. They don't particularly like it if another dog does it to them, so again, I'll step in and move the other dog away myself if necessary. I know some dogs act that way in play, which is fine if the dogs know each other and don't mind (Keefer will sometimes do it to Dena at home), but I think you're asking for trouble with dogs that don't know each other.

My dogs are very used to being around lots of other dogs on a regular basis, but they don't really play WITH them much, they play with us and each other. Sometimes they'll run around with another dog a bit, but not that much. I think it's really important to socialize them around other dogs, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have to actually interact with them, just that they are relaxed and comfortable and not stressed in that kind of situation.

I agree that you need to know your dog and watch him for cues that he's not comfortable, and that it's best to get together with other dog savvy people who also know their dogs, in order to prevent problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Good advice, Cassidy's Mom! Thanks for the ideas. Maybe we can find a small group to work alongside of, go for walks with.
 

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I always tend to err on the side of caution.
With unknown dogs in a group one always has to be ready and physically able to quickly intervene in cas of a dog fight.
It is better to socialize your dog with people and dogs you know.
 
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