There are several explanations for why a dog may be uncomfortable meeting a new dog for the first time. One reason is aggression, which can be reduced by spaying and neutering, but it most commonly stems from fear or a hierarchal competition—also known as determining the “alpha.” Your dog may associate foreign dogs with a traumatic incident, or perhaps they weren’t properly socialized as a puppy and didn’t meet enough new dogs to feel confident. When introducing your pup to new dogs, try to keep the process as calm and patient as possible to limit stress for your furry friend. Here are some ways you can help.
5 Tips for Introducing Your Dog to Unfamiliar Dogs
1. Be Patient
If introducing a new dog inside your own home, keep your dog in a separate room until the new dog is comfortable and settled in. Then bring your dog out on a leash to meet the new arrival.
If meeting outside of the home, introduce the dogs in a calm, neutral space with limited stimulations or distractions for your pup. The first few dogs that you introduce your pup to should be properly trained, calm, and well-behaved.
2. Get Your Dog “Fixed”
Consult your local veterinary clinic about spaying and neutering services if you don’t intend to breed your pup. The Veterinary Centers of America highly encourages spaying or neutering your dog, as it can reduce their aggression significantly and make meeting new dogs a much friendlier experience.
3. Stick With the Leash
Introductions should always be leashed, and you should ensure the leash is held loosely. Applying tension to the leash or keeping a taut grip on your dog’s collar can increase the tension of the situation and make your dog unnecessarily anxious. Be sure to keep yourself relaxed and calm. If you’re anxious about another dog coming in your direction, your dog will pick up on your energy and react stressfully to meeting a new dog.
4. Give Praise
Allow the dogs to greet each other, sniff and circle. Then walk away. Once you’ve left the new dog, reward your pup for his or her calm behavior with a treat and praising words.
5. Keep It Simple
Only have two dogs meet at a time. Adding a third dog to the meet and greet can be hard to control and the situation can quickly escalate.
Some pups will need extra patience when it comes to meeting new friends. Seek obedience classes or professional help from a dog trainer that specializes in shy or overly excitable dogs.
If you’re interested in spaying and neutering as well as a full range of pet care for your pup, visit High Point Veterinary Hospital in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad. Offering a full surgical center, veterinary pharmacy, spaying and neutering services, and more, the clinic has been serving the tri-state area since opening in 2004. Visit their website to meet the staff or give them a call at (336) 889-3832 to set up an appointment.