How to Train a Dog to Play Nice With Other Dogs

It is every dog owner’s dream to see their dog playing nice with other dogs. The look on your dog’s happy face and knowing that such an activity will stimulate its mind and body is just satisfying.

However, unfortunately, not all dogs get along with others. Some are a bit socially awkward or standoffish, and others exhibit unruly behavior. If instead of making friends, your dog growls, tackles, bites, and chases other dogs in an aggressive way, you need to act now and teach your dog how to play nice before the rough play turns into a fight.

In this article, we will help you understand this behavior and teach you how to train your dog to get along with other dogs.

Signs Your Dog is Playing Too Rough

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if your dog is playing nice or it is starting to cross the line. Because they play with their paws and mouths, biting and growling can be a normal part of play.

Dogs have a special way of communicating whether they’re getting serious or still having fun. Before things get out of control, here are some warning signs that you should watch out for to prevent your dog from fighting with other dogs:

  • Swift movements without the playful bouncing around
  • Closed mouth or curled lips
  • Stiff body
  • Pinned ears
  • Other dog trying to get away

If you notice these behaviors, there’s a good chance that playtime could escalate to something serious and potentially hurt your dog or other dogs– so act quickly to prevent it.

Why Dogs Don’t Play Nice With Other Dogs

Dogs may show different behaviors depending on certain factors. Some of the most common reasons why dogs show less-friendly social behaviors include:

  • Inadequate or inappropriate socialization
  • Negative social experiences
  • Breed tendencies
  • Mismatch in play style
  • Pain
  • Social maturity

Fortunately, you can train your dog how to play appropriately with other dogs. In the next section, we will discuss some simple ways to teach your dog to play nice.

Training Your Dog to Play Nice

Both puppies and adult dogs can be trained to play nicely with other dogs. Here are some of the most effective approaches:

Obedience training

It pays to have your dog undergo some basic obedience training and build a foundation of obedience before trying to take it out to the dog park to socialize with other dogs. An obedient dog will know your voice and follow when you call on them even if they’re chasing other dogs through the park.

Keep in mind that obedience is a significant aspect of training your dog how to play nicely so make sure that your dog is obedient before letting it play with others.

Will your dog come to you when called even if there are distractions around? If your answer is “No”, you need to work on reinforcing its obedience first to be able to guide your dog is exhibiting a more appropriate behavior during playtime.

Stop your dog when it’s playing rough

Watch your dog closely and make sure to stop them every time they get into any form of rough play. This is the reason why it’s important to understand the body language of dogs and act quickly to prevent the situation from escalating to a more dangerous situation.

As soon as they display overly aggressive behavior, step in quickly and do your best to calm your dog down. Allowing it to continue to play rough will make them think that the behavior is acceptable.

Being the dog owner, you should know what is normal for your dog, and when the behavior is getting extreme. By preventing such behavior, your dog will realize that getting overly aggressive can result in a timeout.

Also, it is important to be careful about the types of situations that you expose your dog to. For instance, if you notice that your dog gets overly excited when in big groups, you might want to avoid it at first until your dog knows how to play appropriately.

Teach your dog the “Settle” command

Aside from “stay”, “sit”, and “come”, another essential command to teach your dog is “settle”. You can start training your dog for this cue in a place free from distraction. You say the command “settle” and use a treat to lure them to the spot you want them to be whether in a sit or down position.

When your dog responds to the lure, make it wait for a few seconds before giving the reward. If your dog is not calm, repeat the steps until it understands the command enough that you can start trying to take the training out to the sidewalk and then later on to the dog park. 

Just make sure that your dog has fully learned the “settle” command before allowing it to interact with other dogs. Once your dog does, it can calm down on cue regardless of what’s going on around it.

Final Thoughts

Each dog has its own pace of learning. So no matter how much you’d like your dog to learn how to play nicely fast, you won’t be able to rush the process.

If you don’t have the patience, time, or skill to train your dog how to get along with other dogs, hiring a professional dog trainer is the best way to go. Delaware K9 Academy offers two-week bootcamps, puppy training, and private classes to teach your dog how to behave appropriately. 

Not sure what’s best for your dog? Get in touch with us today and let us help you explore your options!