Here are a few tips that will help ensure the process of introducing two dogs to each other is a positive experience for everyone involved.
· When you are introducing the dogs, choose a neutral location that is unfamiliar to both dogs.
· A different person should handle each dog, making sure the dog is on a loosely held, six-foot leash. Both people must be calm and relaxed.
· It is important not to force an interaction between the dogs. Instead, simply walk them near each other for a few minutes. They may ignore each other, which is fine. Remember to stay calm, relaxed and positive and provide them the time they need to get comfortable with the situation.
· Once the dogs feel comfortable around each other, allow them to sniff each other briefly. If this is a positive interaction, praise them using a high-pitched, happy voice. Then lead the dogs away from each other again.
· You will want to repeat this brief introduction several times. As you walk away from the other dog, refocus each dog with short walks or obedience commands. This will allow the dogs to meet each other and learn to tolerate each other without exhibiting bad behaviours. This also ensures that meetings are friendly, so the dogs associate positive, relaxed experiences with being together.
· Make sure to watch both dogs’ body language. If things are going well so that you can move on to the next step, you’ll see loose muscles and body movements, relaxed open mouths and playful postures.
· In the event that you see unfriendly reactions, quickly lead the dogs away from each other. Then get them to refocus their attention on their handlers. You can then try a short introduction again, but you’ll want to do it at a further distance.
· Take caution if you see any of the following:
o Slow, stiff body movements
o Hair standing up on the back
o Teeth-baring or tensed mouth
o Prolonged staring
Only move on to the next step when you see that both dogs are tolerating each other. It is important to be adaptable and patient during this process.