How to Introduce Your Dog to Other Dogs
13 November, 2012

As most dog owners know, our pups come in different shapes, sizes and temperaments.  Your dog might be the sweetest dog in the world, but has trouble with being overly shy.  Or maybe your dog has difficulty in behaving when first meeting another dog.  Most of these issues can be resolved with time, effort and, of course, understanding.

Below are some ideas and tips to help your dog be on his best behavior when meeting other dogs.

Start your pup with training

If you are investing in a puppy and want him to be well behaved and socialized, it is worth enrolling in some dog obedience training.  This is a great way to introduce your dog to other dogs and people from the start.  Your teacher will provide you with techniques and exercises to help socialize your dog.  As a dog owner, you will also learn some basic training that can be carried over and/or incorporated to other dogs.  Sometimes the training begins with you!

Socialize your dog

If you only have one dog, it would be a good idea to introduce him or her to other dogs in your neighborhood.  You can start slowly and try to calmly introduce your dog to other dogs on walks on a one-to-one basis.  Make sure to find a setting or time when neither dog will feel territorial, such as a local park.  You can certainly take your dog to a dog park and it is encouraged, but only after you feel comfortable with you pup in social settings.

Increase the time your dog spends around with other dogs gradually.  Start with just a few minutes. Increase the time by several minutes with each meet and greet. Eventually, your dog will become used to the presence of other dogs.

Watch for signs of aggression

While walking your dog and/or making an introduction, try to watch for signs of aggression and misbehavior around other dogs. This includes growling, baring teeth, hairs standing up, staring at another dog and walking with stiff legs. If you see any of these behaviors, separate your dog from the other dogs and distract him or her. For example, you can give your dog a simple command and then reward your pup with praise and a tasty treat while the other owner or owners do the same.   Then, walk away and come back another time when your dog is feeling more social.

Reward your dog for good behavior

Reward your dog with praise and treats when behaving well around other dogs. Positive reinforcement is the best training method to help your dog behave around other dogs.  Don’t ever punish your dog as it could lead to worse behaviors, including increased aggression around dogs and people.

While the above are merely the basics, it can give you a quick overview on how to slowly socialize your dog.  Some dogs take to other dogs instantaneously, while others take a little more time and training.  Just remember to be patient and some dogs need more time and training then others.  

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