Tips For Introducing Your Dog To A New Canine Friend – Part One
“What is a good way to introduce my dog to my friend’s new dog?”
First – What NOT to Do
Bringing your dog over to another dog on leash (or vice versa) is not the ideal way to introduce two dogs.
Reasoning: Often people talk excitedly & try to encourage a dog to sniff another dog. People often misread a dog’s wagging tail as a sign of being happy, when it just means it’s excited or alert.
But is excited always a good thing?
An excited dog can annoy a calm nervous dog just the way an excited person can annoy a shy person wanting to be left alone. What would a shy person do? Maybe walk away. A dog would likely too…if it could. But with an unknowing owner not allowing a leashed dog to move away, it can turn ugly. If that dog isn’t allowed to move about freely, it could growl at the other dog.
And what would you do if your dog growled at another dog? Sadly, most people would scold the dog for growling. “Hey! Stop that. Be nice!”. When in fact the dog is just trying to say he’s uncomfortable.
The best thing to do when a dog growls (at a dog or person) is to give the dog more space. If the dog’s growl isn’t heeded, it can escalate to a snap or bite. Now the other dog may get attacked & people will come to me to fix the dog that was attacked & it was because his owner wasn’t teaching him manners.
Like the picture here. The golden is getting into another dog’s space, either he doesn’t know or doesn’t care that he’s making another dog uncomfortable. If your child were chasing after a shy kid who was trying to get away, you’d stop him right? Let’s talk in human terms for a minute. If you approached me to say hi, and I backed away, what would you do? You would stop moving right? If you proceeded to approach me as I backed away from you, you’d be considered a weirdo right? I see this ALL THE TIME with dogs. Dogs, like humans, do not come out of the womb with manners or social skills. It’s up to us as their parents to guide them through this crazy world.
We teach our children to say please & thank you, to say excuse me & not grab things out of your hands….we need to teach our dogs not to run up to another dog. I’ve heard a zillion times on facebook “My dog likes other dogs, but just doesn’t like getting charged at”, like it’s their dogs problem. I say “I don’t either!” why should we expect a dog to appreciate getting charged at by a complete stranger. If a stranger (or strange dog) came charging up at you, I don’t think you’d appreciate that either. You’d be likely to run away or go on offense if you were trapped (think: on leash) –you wouldn’t foolishly assumed they were friendly, would you?
Yet we expect our dogs to accept being charged at. In class I always ask the people if they think of their dogs as their babies. Almost all of them say yes, which I think is a good thing! If you think of your dog as your baby, you will teach them manners & protect them from harm. Look at this picture. This black & white dog looks terrified, does it not? If your baby were being approached by a scary looking guy, would you worry about hurting his feelings when you told him to back off? I think we need to worry more about what our dogs think of us. Do they think we will protect them from harm? The more they feel we have their back, the less anxious they will feel when approached by a person or dog they may make them uncomfortable.
Stay Tuned For theNext Article on How to Best Introduce Two Dogs