Bear’s Big Puppy Tip: Puppy socialization should not include chasing other dogs.

Now you have read the title you are all probably asking the question “why?”

Just because have domesticated our dogs over thousands of years, they still have their natural instincts, these are for survival and in some breeds, man has enhanced these skills.

Chasing is all part of a puppy’s make-up. To us, it looks fun when they are running after, with or away from other dogs. However, there are many reasons why this can be a negative form of learning for our puppies:

  • Running after other dogs – will incite the chase instinct and the reward of chasing the other dog will increase each time the puppy runs after the other dog. More so if the dog either runs away, responds (even with barking or lunging) or if the owner responds (again this can be positive or negative responses). The overall reward for the puppy will be its fun and with practice, it could be dangerous, as chasing could evolve into chasing not only other dogs, but people, cyclists, cars, and so on.
  • Running with other dogs – running is an allelomimetic behaviour and over time will strengthen the chase instinct. Dogs will learn very quickly from social learning- in other words from other dogs.
  • Running away from other dogs – can incite a fear instinct and this again can be rewarding the dog who is chasing, but fearful and scary for the puppy who is being chased. Often the puppy will be whining or crying as it runs, sometimes owners can mistake this for fun, or if the puppy has ran after other dogs and the reverse happens they think this is ok as it will teach the puppy not to do or repeat it again – wrong! It will not.

The bottom line is – its fun to run and it’s fun to chase. We often purchase toys that make a sound, this sound often mimics the sound of prey which can add to the fun of the chase.

If you want to socialise your dog, then carry out correctly with the right training and right information. It is not ok to allow your dog to rush up to other dogs and chase them, it is not ok for your dog to chase other dogs and it is not ok for other dogs to chase your dog. Learning starts early in puppyhood, teach them how to respect other dogs, teach them to listen to you and teach them that they need to respond to you and you only.

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