How to introduce dogs to each other

Pet Care Article taken from The Biscuit magazine Dogs Posted Dec 1, 2020
Ever wanted to introduce your dog to another dog but are unsure how to do it?

Meeting new doggy friends can be exciting and even a little bit daunting. We have to remember that dogs have their own personalities and not every pet they meet will become their best friend (which is the same for us). So it is important to respect both dogs when it comes to introductions; from a new fur-sibling, foster dog, a friend’s dog or a new pet sitting opportunity.

This article can be found in Issue 7 of RSPCA’s Magazine The Biscuit, written by RSPCA School for Dogs Trainer, Carly Bowden.

STEP 1: Parallel walking

This involves walking both dogs parallel to each other on lead, starting at a larger distance between them and if the dogs feel comfortable walking at a distance, you can reduce the gap. If there are any forms of aggression, lunging or aggressive barking, go back to the distance before they reacted.

RSPCA School for Dogs classes

STEP 2: Side-by-side walking

After parallel walking, you can then start side-by-side walking with the dogs on lead. The distance can be decreased to within 1-2 meters as they walk. Again if there is any sign of reactivity, go back to a comfortable distance.

RSPCA School for Dogs trainers walking dogs

STEP 3: Three second greetings

It’s good to keep greetings between the dogs to three seconds because as they say in the dog training world, ‘nothing can go wrong in three seconds’. If the dogs are walking together, allow for a short ‘hello’, remembering to keep their leads loose. Dogs will often great each other from the side or behind rather than face-to-face. Once you’ve counted to three, call both dogs away from each other and reward them for listening. Don’t use force by pulling at their leads, just use your voice to call them away.

RSPCA School for Dogs trainers introducing two dogs

STEP 4: Weave in and out

After a few successful three second greetings, you can let the dogs walk closer to each other. Once they meet, start the count to three and then move away. This starts the weaving in and out manoeuvre. The dogs should become comfortable walking beside each other, but keep a close eye on their body language.

RSPCA School for Dogs training

STEP 5: Quick off-lead greeting

Move to a fenced area for this step. An empty dog park is a good place for this. Keep the leads on the dogs but just drop them to the ground and let them drag (this is in case you have to separate them). Keep off-lead play short and have lots of breaks if play becomes too excitable, by calling your dogs back to you. Reward them for returning.

RSPCA School for Dogs trainers taking a class 

STEP 6: Heading home

Start outside of your property with some parallel walking before moving into your yard. Make sure to remove toys, bones or food to prevent resource guarding. Keep their leads on again and let the dogs interact for 2-5 minutes with supervision.

RSPCA School for Dogs Trainer demonstrating

STEP 7: Home alone

If you’re introducing a new companion in your home, supervise the dogs together for the first week or two at home. Once you notice both dogs are comfortable, trial leaving them both alone for short periods and gradually increase that duration. We also have some extra tips for welcoming a new pet at home here.

dogs sitting on the couch

It's never too late to book your pooch in for some training!

If these methods don’t seem to be working and you’d like your pooch to brush up on their social skills and training, School for Dogs offers dog training classes teaching ‘Leave it’, ‘Stay’, mat and crate training, as well as recall and lead training, which are all helpful skills for when your dog is ready to make best friends. If you’d like more advice when introducing pets to each other you can call us on 07 3426 9999.

To read helpful pet care tips, subscribe to The Biscuit magazine.

Zoe Stace
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