At some point, 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 canine during a walk. In either case, you’ll want to know how to introduce two dogs properly so that everything goes smoothly. An experienced Lawrence area of Indianapolis vet shares a few guidelines below.
Rule number one: take it slow. Putting two dogs together and simply hoping for the best is not a good idea—in fact, this approach could result in fighting, injury, or worse. Let the two pups see each other from a distance first, and allow them to approach each other slowly.
You should always try to keep both dogs on leashes during initial introductions. This is essential for maintaining control. If you’re introducing two dogs in a controlled environment, have someone else 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 body language of your canine companions is the best indicator of how well the first introduction is going. Paying attention to this can tell you whether the two should continue greeting each other or if you should separate them and try again later.
Signs of a positive first meeting include a relaxed body 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). Conversely, if you notice tense body language, like tails tucked between the legs, or growling or snarling, you’ll want to separate the dogs for now.
If you’re bringing home a second dog, make sure each pet has their own sleeping and eating areas. Each dog should also be given some alone time every day during the first few weeks. This is because two dogs who spend too much time together can become overstimulated and start exhibiting aggression and other bad behaviors.
When your pup meets 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 Lawrence area of Indianapolis veterinarian for help with dog training and socialization. We’re here for you!