We all love a party – but the type of party we like varies from person to person.
For the extrovert social butterflies amongst us, a huge get-together with an endless source of people to meet, talk to and have fun with, is their idea of heaven. For the more introverted, however, that sounds like a total nightmare, whereas sharing good times with people to whom they are close and with whom they choose to spend their valuable time, is the perfect way to spend a day. For others, nothing beats spending quality time alone with their partner, reconnecting and enjoying that bond without interruptions from the outside world.
While we recognise that humans are all different in their idea of the perfect party, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it is natural dog behaviour to want to play with all other dogs – and that somehow our dogs are at fault (or under-socialised) if that isn’t the case. This couldn’t be further from the truth – and it is thinking like that that sets dogs up to fail, puts them in difficult social situations, and causes stress, worry and unwanted behaviour problems.
While most young puppies are generally pretty social and will play with a wide variety of others, when a dog reaches adolescence and on into adulthood, most become selectively social. Exactly like we do. Do you doubt that? Next time you go into a supermarket, are you going to want to interact and play with every single person in there? Err really not (and we tend to avoid like the plague anyone who tries to!). If we see a friend, we will be happy to see them, have a social encounter (whether a conversation, a hug or a slap on the back) and enjoy the interaction but beyond pleasantries, we ignore all the others.
Dogs are the same. Some continue to be fairly extroverted into adulthood but most have their own friends (dogs they know well and enjoy playing with) and their canine family (dogs they live with) but are pretty indifferent to others – or perhaps even unfriendly or worried by them.
We live with our dogs as part of our families however and so it is natural that we want them to enjoy some of the things we do – and a good party for special events can be high on that list as, after all, we want to spoil our dogs on occasions and make them feel special.
So how do you arrange a party for your dog that they will enjoy?