When dogs meet for the first time, there will be lots of sniffing!
In a city as pet-friendly as Austin, dogs are considered family members and tend to go everywhere with their humans. As a weekend morning at the dog park is a way of life, you and your canine companion are bound to meet other dogs and their owners quite often. (These tips also apply if you’re introducing a new dog into your home!)
But, how can you ensure these meetings go smoothly? Keep these six things in mind next time your pup is meeting other dogs for the first time:
- Meet in a neutral setting. If possible, make sure new dogs meet in a neutral setting, like a dog park or favorite Tomlinson’s location. This will prevent the dogs from becoming territorial of their own safe space, such as their home.
- Hide favorite items. If a friend is headed over to your place for a puppy play date, make sure your dog’s toys, treats, food, and other favorite items are completely out of sight, as this may trigger resource guarding.
- Take it slow. When the introduction is happening in someone’s home (or another location that a dog may consider ‘their territory’), it may be a good idea to introduce scents before the dogs actually meet. Put your dog in his kennel at home to give the new dog a chance to get a feel for this new space. Next, you can put the new dog outside while your dog gets acquainted with the smell of the new dog. Once all dogs are calm, you can introduce them.
- Watch your body language. If you feel tense or nervous, your dog may pick up on and mimic these emotions. Staying calm will encourage your pup to do the same.
- Watch the dog’s body language. Snarling, lip curling, or fur standing up along the shoulders or base of the tail are all signs that a dog isn’t feeling so friendly. This is your cue to walk away with your dog on a short leash.
- Ask permission. If you and your dog run into another dog and their human by chance, always ask if the two can meet. This rule applies any time you or your dog want to meet a new furry friend.
Remember: each dog meeting is different. Some dogs instantly make a connection and immediately want to play, while others may be skittish and need more time for interaction.
What methods have worked for you in the past? Sound off in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page!