Do you take Fido to dog parks? Even if not, your pooch will meet other dogs at some point. It might be because you’re adopting a second pup, hanging out with friends or family members with their own dogs, or simply passing another dog during a walk. But in either case, it’s important for you to know how to introduce two dogs properly so that everything goes smoothly. Here are a few guidelines:
Take Things Slow
Rule number one is to take it slow. Tossing two pups together and hoping for the best is really just not a good idea—in fact, this could result in fighting, injury, or worse. Let the two dogs see each other from a distance. If things seem to be gong smoothly, let them approach each other slowly.
Try to keep both dogs on leashes during initial introductions. This is essential for maintaining control over them. If possible, have a family member or friend hold one dog’s leash while you hold the other. You won’t have much control if you attempt to hold both leashes at the same time.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Doggy body language is the best indicator of how well the first introduction is going. Paying attention to this—and knowing how to read the signs—can tell you whether the dogs should continue to greet each other or if you should separate them and try again later.
Signs of a good first meeting include relaxed body language and facial expressions, tail wagging, and play bows. (Play bows are when a dog puts their front end down and the hindquarters up, indicating a desire to play. It never stops being cute). On the other hand, tense body language indications includes things like tails tucked between the legs, or growling or snarling, you’ll want to separate the dogs for now.
If you’re bringing a second dog home, give each pup their own sleeping and eating areas. Make sure to give each dog some alone time every day. This is especially important during the first few weeks, because two dogs who spend too much time together can become overstimulated and start exhibiting aggression and other bad behaviors.
When your furry pal meets an unfamiliar dog on the street, take things slow. Maintain control over the leash at all times. If the meeting doesn’t seem to be going well, then simply thank the other pet owner and move on.
Ask your local veterinarian for help with dog training and socialization. We’re here for you!