If you want your pup to have doggy friends, here's how to set them up for success (according to an expert trainer)

Two dogs playing outside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It can be really valuable for dogs to have friendships with other dogs. While many dogs will be perfectly content with their human families, they’re sociable animals and can form some really fruitful canine friendships, too. 

However, most dogs will get on better with some dogs than others – much like humans will have some close friends but then perhaps not gel with other people as much. So, it’s important to pair your pup with potential friends who you think they’ll get on with, and not force your dog to interact or be friends with another dog. It’s not as simple as just giving them a few of the best dog toys and leaving them to it.

Just because you and your best friends both have dogs, for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your pups will be best friends too. 

And, the team at Happy Dogs Training, founded by certified trainer and animal behavior expert Piper M Novick, have discussed doggy friendships in more detail in a new Instagram post, using the friendship between two particular dogs as an example.

“As behavior consultants, we work with a lot of dogs who need special circumstances to have pleasant relationships with other dogs,” they say. “In order to help your dog practice desirable behaviors, it’s critical to pair them with friends who are going to be able to successfully read & respond to their communication (and vice versa!).”

In the video, there are two dogs, Mojo and Flora, and they describe them as an “unlikely pair” or “have a robust friendship.” As Mojo is sensitive and uses more subtle forms of communication, it’s important that he only spends time with dogs who can read and respond to him, like Flora.

Mojo finds a root, and Flora sees it and wants to join in, but Mojo doesn’t want to share the root. His body language changes, as he stiffens his body, dilates his pupils, leans his ears back, and stares at Flora, indicating that he wants her to give him space. She’s able to recognize this, and it’s not long until they’re able to resume going back to their game.

Remember, you can’t guarantee that your dog will become friends with another dog, and you shouldn’t try to force dogs to get along. However, you can always try to introduce your pup to potential pals that you think would be a good fit for them!

If you’ve got a puppy, and you’re hoping to put things in place so that they’ll be able to make friends with people and other dogs as they get older, you might find this article useful: I'm a dog behaviorist and these are my 6 tips for socializing a puppy

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.