First impressions are everything! When first introducing a puppy to your other pack members or bringing your puppy along to meet friends or family dogs, here are some things that you can do to help set your canines up to be compadres and help prevent altercations where altercations wouldn’t otherwise exist.
In this video, Sharky gets to meet my dog Blue Ivy. I have two dogs in my house but introductions should always be done one-on-one with each dog separately first, before putting multiple dogs together.
My biggest piece of advice: DON’T RUSH IT! We humans are so excited to throw everyone together so they can all be instant friends but that’s not a good way to introduce dogs. Sure – sometimes everything goes just fine but sometimes it doesn’t and by the time you know it hasn’t gone well, it’s too late to recreate that first impression. Give your dogs a couple of weeks to adjust and to use their primary senses (not ours) to get to know one another; scent and sound.
When you do let them interact, watch for appropriate behavior such as loose body language, dogs exchanging roles in play, play bounces and play bows. If either dog looks uncomfortable, (stiffened body posture, avoiding the other dog, head low and growls, stare downs or extended side-eye while stiff) end the session and take a step back. When in doubt, take a walk. When you walk with the dogs, designate one person per dog for safety reasons.
One other tip – be sure you don’t inadvertently put tension on the leash. Relax with the leash so you don’t accidentally communicate tension.
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