At Dog Day, Every Day, we’re proud to offer a positive and safe environment for dogs to explore their natural instinct as pack animals. Sniffing, wrestling, chewing and slobbering are all things enjoyed by attendees of our dog daycare. Whether a pup enjoys just watching the other dogs engage or they are in the thick of it, these types of interactions promotes proper socialization skills and dog speak. Although the environment we’ve created is ideal for dogs to meet and interact on their own terms, the same isn’t always true for dogs who are meeting on a sidewalk or other setting.
Plenty of dog owners have had the unfortunate experience of initial meetings turning out less than ideal. Since this is an issue that owners of dogs of all ages struggle with, we want to use our knowledge of doggy interactions to share some best practices for introducing dogs to each other:
Avoid Face to Face
The biggest mistake that dog owners make is pointing two pups face to face for their initial meeting. Since this isn’t how dogs naturally approach each other, it creates a confrontational tone. A better option is to give dogs some space so they can move towards each from the side. This method also makes it easy for dogs to sniff each other, which is a very important part of initial interactions.
Leashed But Loose
When dogs are in a location like a dog park or our daycare environment, leashes aren’t a necessary part of introductions. But if you’re out and about with your dog, it’s a good idea to keep your pup on its leash during any meetings. Just be sure to keep the leash loose and avoid pulling. Doing so will cause your dog to feel tense and likely derail the meeting.
What to Watch For
If you combine the first two tips we covered, you have a recipe for an ideal dog meeting. What that means is instead of bringing both dogs to a standstill in front of each other, both owners can walk the dogs in parallel. This provides an opportunity for some sniffing and initial interaction while keeping the dogs from feeling any anxiety due to a lack of movement. During this time, you’ll want to watch for signs like raised hackles, staring or lip curling, which indicate that the interaction is going south.
In the event that you notice any warning signs of a negative interaction, guide the dogs apart instead of abruptly jerking. In addition to their assessments of each other, dogs feed off their owners’ energy, which is why staying cool and enjoying this experience will give it the best chance of turning out positive.