by Andrew Garcia
Sep 01, 2022
2 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Steps for Introducing Dogs to Each Other
Dogs are social animals with great love for the company of other dogs. But, it can be pretty tricky to introduce a new dog to the family. Therefore, it is essential to consider that first impressions matter, especially if your resident dog has been an only dog.
Fortunately, this post discusses a few ways to introduce a new pup to your current dog.
Steps for Introducing Dogs to Each Other
Knowing how to introduce your dogs properly sets both of them up to make an excellent first impression. You can follow these steps when introducing your dogs.
Find a Neutral Spot
Using a neutral spot that neither dog has claimed through walks or visits is best. If possible, the area should be outdoors and fully fenced. In addition, it is best to find a quiet space that doesn’t have people or dogs around. For example, you could use a friend’s backyard, provided the person doesn’t have pets, or a park during off hours with no one around.
Unfortunately, these situations are not always possible. So, it is best to find an outdoor space with enough roaming room – you can let your dogs roam on a leash while getting to know one another. An alternative to an outdoor space is a large garage or basement.
Before the introduction, remove anything that might cause a scuffle. For instance, dog toys, beds, bones, empty food bowls, and objects can distract your dog. Your dog may suddenly develop an interest in an old bone lying around.
Look out for Positive Dog Body Language
Because you are introducing your dogs on leash, it is essential that you find a partner who understands canine body language to help out.
Always observe your dog and look for signs like a happy and waggy tail, freezing in place, tense postures, or lowered tail.
In addition, it is easy to misinterpret your dog running away. If your dogs run over to you, they may need a break from the interaction. So, avoid sending them back
It is best to employ the services of a dog trainer during the introduction process, especially if you’re uncomfortable with your dog’s interactions during this step or are unsure of what your dog’s body language means.
Walk the Dogs Together
After introducing your dogs, the next step is to walk them together. Ensure both dogs have enough space between each other, ensuring they are aware of each other. And avoid bringing them too close such that they want to reach one another.
Afterward, walk both dogs in the same direction but keep enough distance between them. The distance varies by a dog. After walking some distance, turn back and trade places with the other human-dog team. This step allows your dog to scent where the other dog walked.
It would be best to allow your dogs to investigate potty spots. Urine sniffing helps your dog pick up the other dog’s scent. The handlers should be calm and hold the leashes loosely.
If you notice both dogs have relaxed social behaviors around each other, you can gradually reduce the distance between them while continuing the parallel walking. As the dogs get closer, avoid a direct face-to-face approach because meeting head-on is stressful and unnatural.
Check here to learn more about Should Your Dog Visit a Dog Park?
Allow Off-Leash Interaction
If you are comfortable with the interaction between your dogs, you can return them to an enclosed area, drop the leashes and allow interaction. Then, while praising their calm interactions, let your dogs sniff each other for a few minutes, and afterward, encourage your dogs to move with you for a final, brief walk together.
During the walk, your dogs may play or still sniff each other to know more about themselves. Look out for the play bow. The play bow is dogs’ universal invitation to connect, and it involves dogs putting their elbows on the ground and their rear end in the air.
It would be best if you also watched out for respectful interactions while your dogs play. For example, there should be mutual give and take and short pauses during the action.
Dogs have different personalities. If your dog is more selective and not enthusiastic about new dog interactions or friendships, do not force it. There is no need to bother about it as long as your dog is not acting aggressively towards the new dogs they meet.
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