It's really hard but the reality is that dog owners, new and current, need to forget what they think they know about socialisation.
Science, teaches us that dogs as a species in the wild do not socialise, we know another Disney lie and certain dog TV programmes showing a unit with dogs running wild and lots of on camera splitting up of dog fights as well as in the news.
We know from Scientists and extensive research from observing dogs for endless months in third world villages that dogs aren't sociable animals and they don't move in groups or hang out. The most they found dogs to collectively join together was through scavenging at the same time at dusk. https://www.researchgate.net/.../37692202_Dogs-A...
There is a lot of misrepresentation going around at the moment, perhaps to further business or just because others do not know any better. But socialisation classes, puppy classes etc should not be about playing with other puppies.
What a lot of people do not realise until the dog is older is that pulling, barking, spinning, twisting and letting the entire area know that they are indeed out on a walk is that this too is reactive behaviour.
Because reactive behaviour is not limited to being frightened or aggressive to other dogs. Reactivity is a reaction within that moment and dogs who pull and shout at other dogs to "play" or refuse to relent until they have approached the other dog are in fact reacting.
The sad thing is that dogs are not taught socialisation in the way that Scientists, Behaviourists and Trainers mean.
Correct socialisation is socialisation to new environments, noises, the vehicles, being able to pass people and other dogs calmly as well as cats. Children, children running, on bikes, scooters, skateboards etc.
Lots of dogs are unable to cope with the world who were born or purchased through covid not because there wasn't an opportunity to socialise because there was for at least once a day through the main of the lockdown.
The problem indeed lies with off lead play and the humans keeping a distance, but a puppy with no recall or understanding of how to interact led to quite a few incidents on social media and the news daily.
This is something my colleagues and I do agree on and something we share in common. We are all pushing for correct socialisation opportunities and teaching, this is something especially highlighted to us all through covid.
NK9 Dog Training & Behaviour BPawsitive
Teaching your puppy or dog regardless of age super socialisation skills are not just limited to the above suggestions but you will also find further help from these sources.
The Do No Harm Manual https://gumroad.com/a/1016960115/LAVuz
Control Unleashed https://www.amazon.co.uk/.../ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i...
Hunting Together: Harnessing Predatory Chasing in Family Dogs through Motivation-Based Training (Predation Substitute Training) https://www.amazon.co.uk/.../ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i...
Bat 2.0 by Grisha Stewart https://amzn.to/3uwVs8u
Learning properly will not only help your dog but other dogs you and your dog meet. Not all dogs are wanting other dogs near them and you can do so much damage with an unruly pup or dog just as much as you can with a reactive dog who barks.
It's also really important to be aware of your local dog bylaws, if a dog is on lead and there is a dog attack or fight it is the off lead dog's owner who bears the responsibility for the incident.
If a dog is wearing yellow this also helps to distinguish them as needing space from other dogs. More can be read concerning dog specific law here by the wonderful Yellow Dog Charity guided by the very respected Trevor Cooper of dog law: https://www.yellowdoguk.co.uk/legal/
Image description: Stress Scale by Grisha Stewart