There are many different ways that you can introduce your dog to a new dog. Regardless of which way you choose to introduce the dogs, always make sure that safety is the number one priority. And while there is no 100% safe way to introduce dogs, there are a few things that you can do to make it more safe and minimize the risks of doing so by properly introducing them. Usually, the first interaction a dog has with another dog is generally pretty important (similar to how we as humans have our first interactions with people).
Before you even introduce the dogs, you should take into consideration each of the dog’s temperament and a good idea of how each of the dog’s views other dogs. Here are some examples:
- Is your dog friendly?
- Is your dog confident and unphased?
- Is your dog submissive?
- Is your dog shy or timid?
- Is your dog pushy?
- Is your dog aggressive or reactive to other dogs?
- Is your dog relaxed?
These are just some of the examples that you should think of when evaluating your dog’s behavior. Then you should also evaluate the other dog that you would like to introduce your dog to. And while all of these behaviors have pros and cons; dogs that show or have shown any type of aggression, fear, or pushy behaviors are the ones that could potential be the most dangerous when interacting with other dogs.
If you are not confident in how to properly read your dog or a different dog; then I highly recommend that you consult with a professional one of the trainers in our Illinois Dog Trainer Directory in order to get a dog training experts professional evaluation of your dog.
If you decide that you have 2 well-behaved balanced dogs that do not display any dangerous behaviors, then introducing them on the neutral to both of the dogs. The reason that the meeting place that you choose is so important is because you do not want either of the dogs thinking that they have any sort of claim or ownership over the location that you choose.
The next recommendation would be to allow the dogs to become familiar with the area that you have chosen to allow this first introduction to take place. Always have the dogs on a safe, secured leash along with a buckle collar. Snap collars can unclip or break very easily with enough pressure.
After this, you should walk towards one another (you and the other person walking the other dog) while still maintaining a safe space between the two dogs. You also always want to keep the leashes relaxed with slack in them as it can transfer anxious or nervous energy down the leash to the dog. You want to avoid pressure on the leash along with tugging, jumping, etc. If you know that your dog or the other dog does not have the best leash walking skills; I strongly suggest first working on this before introducing new dogs together.
The two dogs should be allowed to check each other out, but not be allowed to become overly excited or play. This can lead to a dog fight or other issues. If the two dogs are becoming overly excited or too interested in each other then both people should walk away in opposite directions of each other (with their dogs) to deescalate the high excitement energy.
I recommend repeating this process until the dogs become more familiar with each other and begin to show less interest in each other. I always tell my clients that it’s a great thing to see a dog not overly interested. I would take that over an overly excited dog any day. It’s also a great sign to see dogs begin to relax and lay down to rest after these interactions with other dogs.
And remember if at any time you are not comfortable with introducing dogs together or how to properly read a dog, then always be safe and wait in order to contact a local dog trainer near you.