At some point or another, your dog will almost certainly meet another dog. It might be because you’re welcoming a second pup to your family, or simply because you’re passing another dog during a walk. In either case, you’ll want to know how to introduce two dogs properly so that everything goes smoothly. Below are a few guidelines, as recommended by a trusted Hudson Valley vet.
Rule number one: take it slow. Tossing two dogs together and hoping for the best is never a wise idea. In fact, this approach could easily result in fighting, injury, and worse. Let the two dogs see each other from a distance and approach one another slowly.
If possible, keep both dogs on leashes during initial introductions. This enables you to control the dogs and ensure that they don’t feel they can do whatever they’d like. If you’re introducing two dogs in a controlled environment, have a family member or trusted friend hold one dog’s leash while you hold the other. You won’t have the proper control if you attempt to hold both leashes at the same time.
The two dogs’ body language is the best indicator of how well the first introduction is going. Paying close attention to this can help you determine whether the dogs should continue greeting each other or if you should separate them and try again later.
Signs of a positive first meeting include relaxed body language and facial expressions, tail wagging, and play bows (when a dog puts their front end down and the hindquarters up, indicating a desire to play). On the other hand, if you see tense body language, such as tails tucked between the legs, or growling or snarling, it’s a good idea to separate the dogs for now.
If you’re bringing home a second dog, give each pet his or her own sleeping and eating areas. Make sure each dog enjoys some alone time every day during the first few weeks. This is important, because two dogs who spend too much time together can become overstimulated and start exhibiting aggression and other bad behaviors.
When your pooch encounters an unfamiliar dog on the street, take things slow and maintain control over the leash at all times. If the meeting doesn’t go well, simply thank the other pet owner and move on.
Ask your Hudson Valley, NY veterinarian for help with dog training and socialization. We’re here for you!