It has often been said that a dog is a person’s best friend. Dogs can relate to us on a certain emotional level and we can certainly relate to them. Dogs have the ability to appreciate changes in human emotional levels and can respond in kind.
But, have you stopped to consider that a dog may want to have friends of the same species?
Many dog trainers will tell that dogs, indeed, like to make friends with other dogs. As opposed to humans, dogs, by nature, are pack animals. Thus, when they meet another dog, their instinct compels them to establish the pecking order. The first order of business is to thoroughly check out the other dog through sniffing and body language. Be sure to give the dogs plenty of space so that they do not feel threatened.
It is important to note that an undisciplined dog may become aggressive when meeting another dog for the first time. Snapping, growling and snarling are problematic signs. Thus, unless your dog has completed obedience training and you are confident of your dog’s behaviour, it would be wise to delay the new friendship and arrange dog training classes for your pet.
Even a well trained dog will naturally want to protect its personal territory. Therefore, it is wise to introduce dogs to one another in a neutral location such as a public garden or even at a designated spot when taking your dog for a walk. Until you are certain that the two dogs have established a rapport, it is best not to have the other dog enter your home or garden.
If you and a friend have arranged to have your dogs meet, take your dog out for a short walk prior to the meeting. Dogs, generally, enjoy going for a walk and are quite excited. Allow the dog’s excitement to abate before the meeting. A little walking and neighbourhood sniffing will put your dog in a relaxed state.
At the appointed time and place, remember that your state of being is also important. This holds true for all aspects of home dog training. If you are uptight or agitated, your dog will sense this. Therefore, you should also be relaxed when the meeting takes place.
Try to keep the leashes untangled and the collars should be loose. If both dogs are trained and generally obedient, they will be ready to play after a little initial sniffing and shouldering. If there are no signs of aggression, you can walk them to a fenced-in garden to play freely.
Sometimes, similar to humans, the relationship just doesn’t click from the initial introduction. You may sense some agitation from one or both of the dogs. Now, you and your friend must become dog trainers together. Take your dogs for a walk side by side. This allows the dogs to coexist without having to concentrate on each other directly. After a few minutes of walking, each of you should issue some simple commands to your dog, such as “sit” and “stay.” These exercises, combined with the walking, will reduce the dog’s agitation and allow you to try the introductions once again.
Once the dogs have established an initial, calm rapport, you can take them to your garden, remove the leashes, and allow them to play. After running free for a little bit, they will likely begin playing together. If it seems that the dogs are acting friendly, you can feel comfortable about allowing both dogs into the house together.
This new friendship will last and, just as with children, you can now make play dates for your dog and invite your dog’s friends. Your dog will enjoy the canine company and you can enjoy inviting your friends who are dog owners.
For more information and helpful tips about home dog training, visit our website www.dog-obedience.com.au.