There is a right way and a wrong way to introduce dogs to each other and unfortunately not many owners know the difference. When introducing dogs, it is always important to keep things slow, so both dogs are comfortable and happy in the situation. Here are some tips to help you properly introduce your dog to his new friend.
Tip 1. Ideally, your dog should meet dogs one at a time. Meeting an entire group of dogs all at once can be overwhelming. In the situation of a dog park, most dogs are well socialized, and are familiar with this type of circumstance. If your dog is new to the dog park, it might be smart to bring him or her to the park when there are less dogs there to start. This will give your pooch a chance
Tip 2. Choose a neutral location for a first meet up. Leaving toys and bones at home is a good idea, as dogs can become possessive. Small training treats are helpful for reward after this initial meet and greet.
Tip 3. The difference between introductions going ‘to plan’ (two happy dogs interacting comfortably) or resulting in tension and/or aggression is completely dependent on how you approach these situations – and of course the character of the dogs!
Work on the 3-5 second rule!
Keep the first meeting very brief and remain relaxed with a calm attitude. A direct, eye to eye approach will very often lead to tension, or even aggression, especially when the dogs are unknown to one another.
Meet 'n' Greet
When introducing dogs, allow them to walk side-by-side – approximately 3m apart - gradually reducing the distance as they settle and start to ‘ignore’ or be less conscious of one another. Sometimes they won't, in which case you keep the dogs apart, but for the most part this is a very easy exercise.
Here a few things to realize:
Tip 4. Dogs are social animals, but on their terms – we must be aware of this in addition to the fact that every dog is different and will respond to this situation in his own way.
Tip 5. In a group (pack) of dogs, there is a defined hierarchy and introducing a new dog will disrupt this hierarchy - until each dog learns his place in the pack.
Sometimes dog training may be needed to correct bad or dangerous behavior.
Make sure to introduce your dog to one dog at a time and remain calm and assertive. Keep your meetings short with as little tension as possible. The 3-5 second rule will help you calmly introduce your dog to new dogs. Toys and bones should be picked up, so there is no chance your pooch will become possessive over his favorite toy.
And finally, as the human, our body language communicates so much to our animals. They will pick up on the tension or anxiety you feel, and relay it in their communication and feelings toward their new friend. Remember, sometimes certain dogs just don't get along, and that's fine. Canines have their own personalities just like people!