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You’ve Got a Friend In Me or Do Ya? Managing Dog Introductions in a Dog Friendly World.

February 12

2:00 pm PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: CCPDT - Behavior, CCPDT - Training, IAABC, KPA


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.

Presented By:

Michelle Mullins CDBC, KPA CTP, CPDT-KSA

Michelle Mullins (she/her) is the owner and director of training at Honest To Dog® in Richmond, Virginia, USA. As an IAABC Certified Dog Behavior Consultant she offers private in-home pet training with a focus on evidence-based training and behavior modification for dogs with fear, aggression, and reactivity, basic training for puppies, and Fear-Free training of pets for veterinary and grooming procedures. In her work she collaborates closely with veterinary professionals to ensure her clients have a complete pet care team.

She has guest lectured at Ohio State University and the University of Tennessee and presents at a variety of training and veterinary conferences. Michelle is the current board president of the IAABC Foundation, has served on the board of directors for the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) and mentors IAABC Foundation courses. She is a content contributor to the Fear Free Animal Trainer Course, and both a Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer and Elite Certified.

Michelle’s animal training and behavior education includes Purdue University’s DOGS Course, University of Richmond’s Canine Logic and Advanced Canine Logic courses, Karen Pryor Academy’s Professional Trainer Course and Ken Ramirez’s Professional Animal Training Seminar. Michelle believes continuing to seek out advanced education in her field provides her clients, both human and canine, the highest quality services available.

All her work has the goal of developing long, enriching relationships between pets and their people. Michelle’s goals are to teach people to communicate with and train their pets while developing the skills they can apply to all future pets. Michelle is passionate about sharing continuing education in her field as it ultimately provides our clients, both human and canine, the highest quality services available.