Introducing Your Dog to New Dogs
Dogs are social animals and a new dog can thus bring a lot of joy in your pet’s life. A new dog, after all, means a new playmate, new friend and new companion. Unfortunately, this is not how your dog may perceive new dogs, especially when first introduced. For that reason, it is highly important to take the introduction process very seriously and follow the expert advice summarized below.
It is recommended not to introduce your dog to new dogs at home. Dogs are territorial and they consider your home and backyard as their territory. Just like a stranger (and mailman), a new dog can be perceived as an intruder. To prevent hostile and aggressive reactions, introduce your dog to new dogs on a neutral territory, for example in a nearby park.
One Person Per Dog
It is impossible to foretell how your dog will react to a new dog. To prevent the worse, there should be one person per dog. Also, every dog should be on the leash. That way the distance between the dogs can be controlled and in case of aggression, they can be pulled apart before seriously injuring each other. But remember that the leashes should be kept loose. Tightness can cause anxiety and nervousness which in turn can lead to hostility.
One Dog at a Time
If you have more dogs, introduce the newcomer to one dog at a time. Two or multiple dogs act like a pack and if one of them attacks the new dog, others will follow him.
Calm, Friendly Tone
If you’re tense, your dog will be tense as well. Tension is bad because it translates into an increased risk of hostility and aggression. So be sure to be calm and talk with a friendly tone when introducing the dogs.
Let the dogs to sniff each other but only for a few seconds. Then take them for a walk and allow them to sniff each other repeatedly while walking. You may also reward the dogs with a treat when obeying your commands or displaying good behavior to make the experience more pleasant for both of them.
It is extremely important to ‘read’ your dog’s body language. If your dog appears relaxed, has his mouth open, makes a play bow or wags his tail, it means he is OK with the new dog. But if his tail is held high, ears placed forward, mouth closed or if he is staring, growling or moving stiffly and slowly, immediately stop the introduction and distance the dogs from each other for a few minutes.
Dogs Need Time Too
Don’t try to speed things up. Instead, let the dogs to proceed at their own pace. When ready, they will interact. Also, keep in mind that it’s normal for newly introduced dogs to ignore each other at first. Be patient and remember that just like humans, dogs need some time before becoming comfortable with each other as well.
You should follow the above listed ‘introduction rules’ no matter if the new dog is just a visitor or new pack member. If the introduction didn’t go well, you are recommended to seek professional help as soon as possible, especially if the dogs are going to live together.