How To Introduce Your Puppies to Other Dogs
It’s fair to say that some dogs, and puppies especially aren’t that great at doing “How do you do’s” and “Nice to meet you” in a calm and controlled manner. It’s often these pups that land themselves in trouble being barked at, nipped, bitten or scolded by other dogs when they over-step the mark. But what if many of the dogs your over-excitable bundle of fluffy joy met were similarly nuts? Or didn’t have the social skills to tell another dog “Go away”.
There’s a damn good chance your pup isn’t going to learn the ways of the socially-acceptable hounds and is going to continue going through life lacking the ability to either choose to ignore other dogs, to make a choice to come away if they’re not eager to meet or is going to be over the top bonkers whenever another dog appears (Either one of these isn’t ideal!).
So, how do we set our pups up for a mutually calm, positive and pleasant encounter with their fellow canines?
1. Ease off the pressure; remember socialization isn’t about chucking your dog into every encounter with dogs. It’s about acknowledging and being comfortable with their existence. Quality of time with other dogs is much more beneficial to your pups learning than just trying to saturate them with as many dogs as possible. One great greeting with another dog is better than 10 dodgy ones!
2. Choose the right dogs! Not everybody gets on with everybody, be it human or dog. If you want a dog that’s going to teach your pup the right things ask the other owner first if their dog is comfortable with other dogs, also does that other dog appear calm, enjoy mooching and generally happy about their being a pesky little puppy about.
3. Make sure there isn’t a vast size difference. The first dog for your tiny little Chihuahua to meet probably shouldn’t be a Great Dane – it’s scary when you’re that small!
4. Try not to make it all about that greeting. Find yourselves a sniffy area where both dogs are wanting to mooch and explore rather than your pup find it impossible to think about anything other than this new ‘friend’.
5. Relax the lead, even better – ditch the lead. Both dogs should have the opportunity to leave whenever they choose. Imagine being forced to interact with someone you’ve never met and they turn out to be a bit of a weirdo! You’d want to leave too!
6. Make sure you’ve got a good recall! This one speaks for itself, if your dog can’t come away, someone’s going to end up not enjoying themselves.
There isn’t an exact science to any of this, rather setting your dog up for making the calmest choice is the key. Knowing when maybe a little interruption and re-direction is going to help each dog relax and choose something else to do instead.
Meeting other dogs needn’t be a big deal for your puppy, providing we tick as many boxes as possible – but initially it can be a scary, nervy or queasy event for any dog.