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Unpopular dog: why does my dog have no friends?

Top trainers answer your questions

By: Jennifer McRae-Huls

Last Updated:


Ask Nicole Wilde

Q: My dog is unpopular. When we go to the
dog park, I feel she’s the canine equivalent of the kid picked last for
teams in gym class. What can I do to help her make friends? Allisa,
Toronto, ON

A: Oh, the trials and tribulations of
being a dog-mom! I feel your pain. Let’s consider why your canine cutie
might be sitting it out on the sidelines.

First of all, has she
played with other dogs before? If not, it may be that her body language
is broadcasting, "Leave me alone, I’d rather not participate!" Other
dogs are very good at picking up those signals. In that case, arranging
play-dates with another friendly fido who won’t overwhelm her would go
a long way toward allowing her to eventually feel more comfortable in
larger groups. You could also begin by visiting the park during
off-peak hours when there is less likely to be a mob of unruly dogs.

be aware that there are some dogs who would simply rather hang around
near their people or play with toys than play with other dogs, and
there is nothing wrong with that. As long as your dog enjoys being at
the park, let her enjoy it in her own way. ■

Nicole Wilde
holds a B.A. Degree with a heavy emphasis on psychology. She is a
Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) who specializes in behaviour issues,
and a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers
(APDT). Nicole is the author of six canine-related books including Help
for Your Fearful Dog and So You Want to be a Dog Trainer.

Last Updated:

By: Jennifer McRae-Huls
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