You did it! You found another addition to your family who is just perfect, and now it’s all about the introduction. The following provides guidance on introducing your dog with an adult newcomer who is well-balanced.
The direction provided is particular about the age and stability of the dog because where the newcomer is from strategies for the introduction will differ. For example, if the newcomer is a rescue, special care will be needed to develop a plan given what you know of its background. If you don't know anything, have it assessed by a behavioralist. The investment will go beyond the preliminary introduction into the family and assist with the pet's life-long quality of living.
Speak to Sparky about our strategy services, and how we partner with you to establish balance and friendship, on a foundation of knowledgeable insights, and calm and gentle care.
The Meeting Place:
To introduce your dog to an unfamiliar dog, first, find neutral territory, like a large, fenced area. Neutral space means it is unknown to either dog reducing territorial guarding. Avoid a dog park, even if both dogs have never been there, and even if it is during a quiet point where only the two dogs are in the park. Dog parks are distracting, and often increase stress. The best space to choose is open to avoid either dog feeling fearful of being trapped.
Ask yourself if you are nervous about the introduction? If so, you may wish to ask someone more experienced. You will also need two skilled people, who can provide calm and capable handling. No short-cut will have a positive outcome on this point. If you ask a neighbor who doesn't have a dog or someone whose dog is not well-behaved, you will need to engage professional pet service assistance.
Ensure you know something of the dog you are introducing. Has it been traumatized in the past? Is it a rescue? Any previous issues with aggression towards other dogs, or even humans? It may be necessary given the other dog’s background to come up with a particular strategy. If you are unsure, weigh on the side of caution and have the dog assessed by a qualified canine behaviorist before the introduction.
The Introduction Exercise:
Have both dogs on a leash and on the opposite sides of the fenced area. Slowly walk around the perimeter ensuring they can see one another. The dogs should appear interested in one another but watch for warning signals like staring hard at one another, stiffness in their body, ears pricked forward, head held high, fast wagging tails and rapid barking. If there are warning signs or potential warning signs, then a slower approach is required. Escalations may need the exercise to stop and a new strategy developed.
If you observe friendly social behavior, make your way closer so that eventually you are walking together in parallel around the fence area with a human in between the dogs. Once you are walking side by side, and an easiness exists between the two dogs, you can drop the leads and allow them to go through their standard social greetings. Look for play-bows, bumping and licking of faces. Next, remove the leads to allow them to play and get to know one another.
Please let us know how you made out, we would enjoy hearing from you!
'Sparky' Smith is a Canine Behaviorist and Practioner, educated through the International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour, earning her ISCP.DIP.CANINE.PRAC.