Posted Feb 15, 2018 in Dog Tips
Many of us want our dogs to be social and generally be making new friends when appropriate. It’s one reason why we take our pups to dog parks and set up play dates! Usually when our dog interacts with another pup they have a chance to become friends. But not all dogs are friendly or easy to get along with. You can’t always just let your dog wander up to every dog, especially when you don’t know them. It is ok to not feel comfortable letting your dog meet every dog! When dealing with aggressive dogs or new dogs, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to help your dog. Here are some ways to make sure the introduction goes well!
Almost always a new dog will and should have an owner with them. Make sure you are communicating with the owner of your intentions and be sure you are both agreeing to let the dogs meet. You should try to do this well in advance of the dogs meeting and still be at a distance. Both owners know their dogs best, so if you know your dog can be aggressive or nervous, be confident in saying no to a new introduction. Hopefully they will do the same. Feel free to ask questions to the owner, such as is your dog reactive when first meeting. They will hopefully be honest and remove themselves if necessary. Make sure both you and the other owner stay calm and have your dogs on a leash.
When you are first introducing your dog to a new dog, start by walking together keep the dogs about about 8’ apart, then do random direction changes. When the dogs stop the constant eyeing of each other, allow the initial greeting to be a maximum of three seconds. Walk away after three seconds or sooner if they start to bark. The goal of this is to make sure they can get along for the first meeting. Once you walk away and distract your dog, the dogs can come back together and meet again. Only re-engage when both dogs appear to have a neutral response to each other and have a friendly disposition. They should also not be barking, lunging or growling.
There are a few things you can look for to see if the greeting will go well. Loose, wagging tails and relaxed jaws and breathing are signs of happy dogs. On the other hand, when on the tip of a tail is wagging or the tails are stiff, this could mean your pup or the other is not happy. If their jaws are tight or one dog is putting their head on top of the other dog’s back and or head, these are also signs you should walk away and not have the dogs meet. Along with this, if the pups are staring each other down, this can lead to a bad situation, so don’t allow them to meet.
While the three second rule is great to follow when your dog is meeting a new dog, it is also a good rule for all dog greetings. Even when your dog knows another pup, it is good to test the waters before letting them play. Only after lots of training and practice can your dog probably stop using the three second rule. But it is important to practice when they are younger or not as well trained!
Having your dog socialized and playing with fellow furry friends is key to giving your dog a fulfilled and happy life. Always be mindful to set them up for success and allow your dog to be social and make new friends with dogs you choose are best suited for him or her. Good luck!
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