Dogs are social pack animals but introducing canines - especially adults - to each other for the first time is tricky. You want to ensure that the transition is smooth and free of potential fights.
Whether you are bringing a new pooch into your home as a companion or your pooch meets up with a canine at a park, you’ll want to know how to introduce dogs correctly to reduce the danger of a possible fight.
Steps for Introducing Dogs
Pick a neutral spot to introduce the two dogs. Canines are very territorial. It is not uncommon for a dog to claim a yard or house as ‘his’ and see any intruder as a threat. Find a location that neither dog has visited before to make the introductions.
If the weather does not afford an outdoor meet, pick a sizeable indoor location such as a garage with plenty of space. Do not have anything in the room that the dogs can fight over, such as bones, dog beds, food bowls, or toys.
Watch your dog closely to try to decipher his body language. If a canine is happy, his body will wiggle, showing interest in the other dog. There will be no posturing, hard stairs, or tucked tails. The dogs should not be growling at each other or trying to run away.
Take a Walk Together
If the two dogs appear to be getting along, why not take them for a walk together. Walking is a way to fixate the animals’ attention on other things besides each other. Generally, walking is a peaceful activity that doesn’t require the dogs to guard the property.
Allow Sniffing (Even Urine Sniffing)
When walking the two dogs, keep a distance between them, so each of the pets has his own ‘space.’ Be sure to turn around and walk back the same way you just walked so each dog can take time to smell the trail they left behind. Dogs are very scent-oriented, and they will bond over each other’s unique scent characteristics.
Many canines indulge in urine sniffing and will want to eliminate on the same spot as each other. Allow this natural behavior to take place and do not pull your dog away or say ‘no,’ which can discourage the dogs from becoming familiar with each other.
If both dogs feel comfortable with each other, then you can take the leashes off and allow the animals to sniff and play together. Do not leave the animals alone but watch from a safe distance. Hopefully, you will see each one forming a relationship that will eventually lead to a lifelong friendship.
Considerations for Small Dog Introductions
If you have a tiny dog and introduce the petite animal to a much larger dog, you’ll want to take extra precautions, such as holding the small dog in your arm initially. Also, you might want to abstain from letting the small dog play with the much larger canine because even if they are getting along, the giant dog could still accidentally hurt the tiny animal in play.