Dog Training

The Importance Of Teaching Your Dog Social Skills

With dogs playing a bigger part in our lives than ever, here at K9 Magazine we know you would like to discover much more about certain traits, habits and foibles your dogs may exhibit to better understand their needs, and so following the launch of our behaviour series with Victoria Stilwell and the VSPDT team last month, this issue sees Positively Dog Trainer, Laura Brody (CPDT-KA) take over.

This month, Laura explores the subject of domestic dogs and their ability to socialise.

Socialisation. Are dogs losing the ability to get along with each other?

Six months ago I traveled to a small town in Belize. Over a week’s time I had several opportunities to observe the “village dogs”. These are free-roaming dogs that may or may not have owners. My first response to them was sympathy. As a rule they are thin and lack the robust look and activity level of the typical European or American pet dog.

But the more I watched them, the more I started to feel sympathy for my own dogs back at home instead. The Village dogs were free to come and go.  They slept in yards and outside the doors of local shops.  Some approached people for attention or food, others played with each other without incident.  Their body language was loose and relaxed.

After six days of observation,  I had not seen one fight between dogs or any aggression towards people.  What do these dogs know that the average dog in the United States doesn’t know? Are domestic dogs in “developed” countries losing the ability to get along with each other?

Based on the number of phone calls behavior specialists like myself receive in a month about dog-dog aggression, I’d say the answer is, YES.  So, with all the advantages money can buy, why are our pet dogs becoming more and more aggressive with each other?

The answer:

  • Isolation
  • Confinement
  • Lack of regular, frequent interaction with a variety of stable dogs of varying ages
  • Ignorance of dog culture and social communication skills
  • Expectations that all dogs must get along with each other

Isolation, Confinement, Lack of Good Teachers, Ignorance of Dog Culture, Mistaken Expectations

Tune in next month to read the next column from Victoria and the Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training team!

Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the internationally acclaimed TV series, It’s Me or the Dog. A bestselling author, Stilwell frequently appears in the media as a pet expert and is widely recognized and respected as a leader in the field of animal behavior. Visit her official site at and find a Victoria Stilwell-Licensed VSPDT dog trainer here.



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