Okay, so we’ll admit that we like staying home on a Friday night in our PJ’s, ordering Thai food and tuning out the rest of the world, just as much as the next person. In the company of our dogs of course, though. While not interacting with other people is a great choice for us humans from time to time, your dog is a different matter altogether.
In the wild, dogs are naturally pack animals and use their interactions with each other to form complex social structures. Dogs perform many tasks together in the wild. From hunting to sleeping to working together to raise young and protect their families, dogs frequently travel and operate with other dogs. It only makes sense, then, that teaching your pooch to accept another dog would be a critical behavior for your pet’s social well-being.
If you’re bringing home a second dog into your household, it’s critical that you know how to properly introduce your current pet with your new companion. Setting the stage for positive interactions will help ensure doggy harmony in the future, lowering stress and preventing hassles such as gating and separating your canine family members.
Even if you don’t plan on bringing home a new dog any time soon, it’s inevitable that your furry friend will need to mind their manners around other dogs at some point in their lifetime. Dog parks are great sources of off-leash interaction and play. Veterinarians’ offices will typically have multiple patients waiting in the lobby to be seen and no trip to the pet store would be complete without the occasional friendly sniff. It’s essential to start your dog off as young as possible with good doggie manners and reserved interactions with other pooches in order to set the foundations for a lifetime of good behavior.
Before you get started teaching your dog to be accepting of other canines, it’s important to point out that some pups should not be home taught. If your dog has previously displayed serious aggressive and potentially harmful or dangerous behavior you should enlist the services of a qualified canine behaviorist or trainer that specializes in aggression. You should never put yourself or a friend or family member at risk by creating a dangerous dog fight scenario.
If your dog hasn’t displayed previous aggressive tendencies, then training can begin and requires only a few special items to get you up and running. You should have a sturdy flat buckle collar and leash for all dogs. Stay away from pinch, prong or choke collars for introductions as you want to create as much positive reinforcement as possible. Toys and treats should be on hand but are reserved for more advanced interactions, after dogs have gotten to know each other, in order to avoid contention over these coveted items. Grab another adult to help introductions go smoothly and you’re ready to try out one of our training methods for teaching dogs to accept another pooch in their lives.