Introducing dogs to other dogs is not just a consideration for a dog being added to a family. Dogs are welcome more places all the time such as breweries, restaurants, and festivals. This puts them in many situations and means they will closely encounter many new dogs in these “dog friendly” spaces, Additionally, the popularity of dog parks, doggie daycare, and dog play dates often forces dogs together in some awkward settings and too large groups. Some dogs do quite well in these situations but like many people, aren’t universally very social, especially in these sometimes-chaotic environments.
Dog to dog introductions can go so many different ways. While it would be great if all dogs instantly got on with all other dogs, that’s just not realistic. In this presentation we will discuss appropriate steps to proactively manage safe dog to dog introductions. How might we facilitate these introductions with other experienced dog handlers as well as with not so experienced handlers? We will also look at how to evaluate the dogs’ body language and temperament, how to set up and encourage low arousal during interactions, and thus manage those interactions in order to foster future calm behavior or even play time.
We also need to carefully examine our reasons for introducing dogs and evaluate our skills to do so successfully. Of course, even with great planning and execution something could go sideways. Let’s also make sure to manage expectations and have a plan to safely exit introductions. This is a lot to plan, manage and pull off in one introduction. I prefer to approach these as a series of introductions to increase the odds of what we consider friendly dog behavior. We will take a look at the when, where, who and whys of introducing our best friends to each other. So yeah, let’s all be friends…maybe.