When you’re introducing two dogs, keep these tips in mind so that the meeting runs smoothly.
Dog introductions can be a hassle. You can quickly be in over your head if you don’t take precautions. While some amount of growling might occur, it is important to avoid full-on aggression for the health and liability of both pets and owners.
Luckily, a few basic tips can set you and your dog up for success. And you don’t even need any tools to make it happen!
Follow these simple steps to be a doggy meet-and-greet master:
1. Introduce the dogs in neutral territory.
Canines are naturally territorial, which explains why a lot of biting incidents occur on home turf.
Instead of bringing the new tail wagger onto your property or you bringing your pup to his, try a park.
2. Make the introduction one-on-one.
Keep the meet and greet to only two dogs at a time. The more canines present, the greater the likelihood of a fight breaking out.
Once a proper greeting has been established, then you can work your way up to a dog park.
3. Keep the dogs outside.
Instead of confining the dogs in an enclosed area, let them have the freedom to run and sniff in the outdoors. A fenced-in area is okay but it shouldn’t have obstacles–like furniture–for the sniffing hounds to maneuver.
The outdoors is an important locale because dogs investigate with urination. Indoors, they might have an accident in the house or be impeded by fully checking out the other dog because of a no-peeing-in-the-house rule.
4. Try off-leash.
Though there is great discrepancy over whether or not two dogs should be introduced with or without a leash, trainers almost solely go the route of leash-free. Owners have a tendency to play helicopter parent and try to control the situation without even realizing it, tugging back on the leash until it’s taut. This increases stress on the dog when he can’t do the sniffing that he needs to do to check out his new friend.
Either way, you and the other owner need to be in agreement. It’s all or nothing. Both dogs should be on-leash or both off-leash. One on and one off will almost always result in a fight.
As preparation for the possibility of things getting too out of hand, you can keep the leashes connected to the collars but not held in your hand. But beware of your instinct to grab for the leash the moment any snarling or growling occurs!
Dogs need to establish their dominance. While you might want your pup to be the top dog, the hierarchy isn’t determined by you.
5. Don’t have toys or food around.
Avoid anything that a dog might get territorial about, like a meal, bone, ball, or stuffed animal. Focus the interaction on the dogs themselves, not playtime.
6. Stay calm and keep it short.
Don’t hover over the dogs when they start sniffing each other. They can pick up on their owner’s stress, which heightens the intensity of the situation.
Keep the introductions, short, too. A couple short meet-and-greets are better than one long initial meeting. The dogs will do better getting to know each other slowly rather than all at once.
7. Allow for pre-greeting sniffing.
If you’re able, let your dog sniff an object from the other dog prior to the meet-and-greet. You can try this as early as the week of the meeting or a few hours before. Anything that might have the other dog’s scent on it, like a towel or hair brush, can be placed in front of your dog to let him sniff to his heart’s content.
This prepares him for the greeting so that he will already be familiar with the smell on the set date, letting him know the other dog isn’t a threat.
The number one rule to remember is to let your dogs be dogs. Though canines have been domesticated, they have innate survival traits that include a dominance hierarchy. While coddling owners will want to separate dogs that show any inclination of aggression, it is vital to your pooch’s social life that you let things work themselves out.
There are some instances in which doggy friendships just aren’t meant to be. However, owners can usually judge whether or not two dogs will get along eternally based on the individual’s typical behavior.
And remember, even two dogs that have grown up in the same household together will snap at each other every once in awhile, just like quarreling siblings!
Good luck with your doggy meet-and-greet! We hope you and your pup successfully welcome a lot of new pups on the block.
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