Introducing 2 strange dogs

Introducing two dogs may sound simple, however, if you don’t do it properly you may end up with a problem that could take some time to overcome.

Remember, there’s nothing like a first impression! Even if you have a very friendly dog (perhaps they wiggle & jump around a lot during their greetings) don’t assume all other dogs will find that appealing. There are two methods that I think are helpful for introducing strange dogs.

The first method, preferred if you have the opportunity to do it this way, is to take the 2 dogs out for a walk (each with their own handler). You don’t let the dogs actually meet at first, instead you parallel walk them. This allows each of the dogs to scope out the other without any fear of having to deal with over excitement, aggression or other less than desirable interactions from the other dog. It also gives you the opportunity to exercise the dogs a bit before they “meet”. Remember the old adage “a tired dog is a good dog.” If the walk goes smoothly then you can let them greet. The greeting goes like this — walk your dogs to within a few feet of each other, get your dog’s attention (the other handler should get their dog’s attention also), then simultaneously say “Okay, go say hi”. Each dog, on leash is allowed to move over to greet the other dog. Here are the rules: the leashes must be kept LOOSE, the leashes should not get tangled, the dogs should only greet for 3 seconds. At the end of 3 seconds back your dog away and assess how it went. Were both dogs relaxed? What were their body positions? Relaxed, anxious, fearful? Based on how the 1st greeting went you can decide to let them have a second 3 second greeting, or NOT.

All dogs do NOT have to like all other dogs! They have personalities too and some just rub each other the wrong way.

The second method is if you don’t have a chance for a walk. Here you would have each dog on leash, lure the dogs (each handler having food at their dog’s nose) to within a few feet of each other. Are the dogs still calm and able to give the handler attention? If so, they are OK to greet. If either is too excited you may have to make a few more approaches or try it later after the “excited” dog has had some exercise and is able to be more calm. Once you decide it’s OK for them to meet you will repeat as above (simultaneously say “Okay, go say hi”. Each dog, on leash is allowed to move over to greet the other dog. Here are the rules: the leashes must be kept LOOSE, the leashes should not get tangled, the dogs should only greet for 3 seconds. At the end of 3 seconds back your dog away and assess how it went. Were both dogs relaxed? What were their body positions? Relaxed, anxious, fearful? Based on how the 1st greeting went you can decide to let them have a second 3 second greeting, or NOT.) Only if both dogs look like they are enjoying the interaction should you continue.

Good luck 🙂

 

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