Scottish Terriers, also known as Scotties, are a popular small breed of dog known for their feisty personalities. With their sturdy frames, bearded faces, and independent nature, Scotties have endeared themselves to many dog lovers over the years.
However, one question that often comes up with prospective Scottie owners is how well the breed tends to get along with other dogs.
Scotties have a reputation for being assertive, stubborn, and even aggressive with unfamiliar dogs. Their strong prey drive and territorial instincts mean that early socialization and training are critical for Scotties to behave appropriately around other canines.
While Scotties may never be the most outgoing dogs at the dog park, proper conditioning can foster more friendly relationships with other four-legged friends.
In this article, we’ll explore the typical Scottish Terrier personality and how it impacts sociability. We’ll discuss the importance of early socialization for Scotties and highlight other factors that influence their interactions with dogs.
Finally, we’ll provide tips for Scottie owners to help ensure their feisty companions can co-exist amiably with other dog.
Scottish Terrier Personality
The distinctive personality of the Scottish Terrier is key to understanding how they tend to interact with other dogs. Scotties were originally bred as tenacious hunters of foxes, badgers, and rodents. Their courageous nature earned them the nickname “Diehard.”
This rugged background translates into modern Scotties being independent, stubborn, and strong-willed dogs. They are known for having an abundance of self-confidence packed into their small frames. Scotties are intensely loyal to their families but tend to be standoffish with strangers.
While Scotties form close bonds with their owners, they aren’t overtly demonstrative dogs. They tend to be reserved rather than exuberant in displaying affection. Their independent spirit makes them a bit difficult to train, as Scotties like doing things their own way.
Scotties usually have a bold, confident attitude when encountering new things. However, this assuredness can morph into bossiness, dominance, and even aggression in interactions with other dogs.
Their territorial instincts kick in, causing Scotties to want to assert their dominance, especially in contexts where resources are limited.
Proper conditioning can temper these bossy tendencies and help Scotties become more socially adept with other canines. But the breed’s natural wariness of strangers and willful nature are key personality traits potential owners should be prepared for.
Importance of Early Socialization
Early socialization is critical for shaping a Scottish Terrier’s behavior and temperament, including sociability with cats and other dogs.
Socialization involves controlled exposure to new things, people, animals, places and experiences during puppyhood. Done right, it builds confidence and shapes good manners.
Socialization should begin as early as 4 weeks old and continue through adulthood. However, the most important window is between 3-16 weeks old, when puppies are most receptive to forming positive associations. Exposing Scottie puppies to other friendly dogs is essential.
Well-socialized Scotties are less likely to be fearful or aggressive and adapt better to new situations. Benefits of proper early socialization include:
- Learning good communication skills and body language with other dogs
- Developing appropriate play style and ability to read social cues
- Building confidence and reducing fearful reactions
- Establishing good manners and inhibition of unwanted behaviors
- Lowering risk of anxiety and phobias in adulthood
- Reducing territoriality and possessive behaviors over resources
By meeting other dogs regularly in a positive atmosphere, Scottie puppies can develop the social skills to interact politely rather than perceiving all dogs as threats.
This early conditioning lays the foundation for more positive relationships with other dogs as adults.
Other Factors Influencing Friendliness with Other Dogs
In addition to early socialization, there are other factors that shape how well Scottish Terriers get along with other dogs.
Intact male Scotties in particular may exhibit increased dominance, territorial urine-marking, and aggression toward other male dogs. Neutering can reduce these hormone-influenced behaviors and make males less likely to get into disputes.
The size and breed of other dogs also plays a role. Smaller breeds like Scotties may become fearful or defensive when interacting with much larger dogs. And they may perceive other terriers as rivals encroaching on their territory.
Gradual exposure to different dog breeds and sizes during socialization helps Scotties adjust their behavior accordingly. But owners should still be vigilant when allowing interactions with dogs of very different sizes.
A Scottie’s sex can also impact behavior tendencies. Male Scotties are more prone to same-sex aggression. Females that aren’t spayed may be short-tempered with other dogs during heat cycles.That said, these are generalities, and early life experiences usually shape sociability more than gender.
Finally, the individual personality and background of a Scottie impacts its friendliness. Scotties from reputable breeders that emphasis socialization tend to have an easier time getting along with other dogs compared to those from puppy mills or hoarding situations.
Tips to Make Sure Your Scottish Terrier is Friendly with Other Dogs
Scottish Terriers can learn to get along with other dogs with proper training and socialization. Here are some tips for owners:
- Start socialization early and continue throughout life. Set up supervised play sessions with friend dogs during puppyhood and take your Scottie to training classes.
- Use positive reinforcement techniques. Reward calm, polite behavior around other dogs with treats, praise or play. Avoid punishment for unwanted behavior.
- Teach strong obedience skills like “leave it”, “look at me”, and “sit-stay.” Use these cues to redirect attention when needed.
- Pick playmates carefully based on energy level and temperament. Avoid dogs that are overly dominant or rambunctious.
- Allow time for appropriate sniffing and body language exchanges when dogs first meet on leash walks. Keep initial greetings brief.
- Be vigilant and end interactions before escalation. Watch body language for signs of rising tensions.
- Neuter male Scotties to decrease territorial hormones contributing to same-sex aggression.
- Maintain structure, exercise, and activities. Bored Scotties are more likely to pick fights.
With an outgoing temperament established through early socialization and continued training, your Scottie can learn to play well with others and be a polite pooch.
Supporting Scotties in Canine Relationships
Scottish Terriers are known for being feisty, independent dogs with larger-than-life attitudes. Their background as tenacious hunters and vermin exterminators translates into strong instincts to assert dominance and fend off perceived threats.
These traits can make Scotties more likely to scuffle with unfamiliar dogs.
However, with dedicated socialization and training starting from puppyhood, Scotties can learn good manners and curb bossy tendencies around other canines.
Owners should select playmates carefully, use positive reinforcement, and always supervise interactions.
While their spirited nature may never make them the perfect dog park pup, Scotties can thrive in multi-dog households and become polite pooches through conscientious conditioning.
With patience and consistency, owners can foster friendlier relationships between their Scotties and other dogs.
By understanding the Scottish Terrier’s unique personality, providing proper social opportunities, and using positive training, Scottie owners can curtail undesirable behavior and promote more congenial canine camaraderie.
With the right approach, Scotties can be taught to channel their trademark spunk into appropriate, friendly interactions.