Dear Sarah – advice about dogs

“Dear Sarah

When our dog was young, he used to play with EVERYONE.

Now that he’s 3, he only seems to want to play with a few dogs he knows and with everyone else, he seems to just sniff them and move on. Is he becoming antisocial? Why won’t he play like he used to?”

From Sonya H

Hi Sonya,

Firstly, let me tell you that your dog is perfectly normal. As dogs age they naturally become more selective with whom

they do and do not want to play and interact with. And interestingly enough – so do humans.

Let me give you an example. Remember being 18? Remember going out and partying with friends? Remember meeting random strangers, hugging them like you’d known them forever, inviting them to join your party? Yes? That’s because at 18, we don’t mind who we party with – as long as everyone is having fun. And it’s not a night out unless you see the sun come up the next morning.

Fast forward to your 20s. Going out now involves having a wonderful time with the group of friends you have, and you’re not really that keen about random strangers joining you (that’s now a bit creepy). 3am is usually the time you call it a night as you have to get up to go to work at 6am.

Fast forward again to your 30s. The music’s starting to get a little loud and it’s hard to chat, so you stop going to certain places. You start critiquing outfits on the 18 year olds you see that leave very little to the imagination, and 11pm is a late night. The only people you really want to hang out with are those you have lots in common with. You often meet at each other’s houses so the kids can play together.

And then there’s your 40s, when a good Saturday night is in your PJs on the couch watching Netflix. And you’re in bed by 9pm. The point is that as we age, our needs differ, who we want to share our time with and interact with changes, and it’s the same for your dog.

So don’t worry that he doesn’t want to play with every dog he sees anymore. As long as he’s polite with the dogs he does meet, and happy to engage in play with his special friends (which will likely become even more selective as he ages).”

From Sarah Rutten

The Canine Perspective

DIPLOMA CANINE BEHAVIOUR, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,

CERT IV DOG BEHAVIOURAL TRAINING, CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL DOG

TRAINER – KNOWLEDGE ASSESSED

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