When friends and family come to visit they might ask to bring their dog along, so you’ll need to get clued up on how to successfully and safely introduce a four-legged visitor into your home. We give you our best advice!
Prior to a visit from another dog, you should put all toys and food (including treats) away – these are often triggers for territory issues and conflict. Provide two bowls of fresh drinking water and allocate separate spots to feed the dogs – sharing food or bowls is a recipe for disaster. Both dogs should have a separate area with a bed, so they can have some chill out time alone, if they want to. In the majority of cases, assuming neither dog has socialisation or aggression issues, you should be able to introduce a new dog smoothly. However, do give some thought to what you’ll do if they really don’t get on and you have to keep them separated.
Although you’ll be welcoming a visiting dog into your home, you should introduce the dogs on neutral territory – a space where neither will feel territorial. With another confident, calm adult, start your walk with a distance of about 20 feet between them. Assuming there is no negative behavior such as growling or tense body language, gradually bring them closer together, until they are walking side by side, but still on their leads. Keep both dogs on their leads but keep their leads loose and relaxed as when you tighten or tense a dog’s lead it sends a message to them that you are anxious about the meeting, which will hinder friendly introductions. Use verbal praise throughout the walk, tell your dog you are happy with them being friendly and walking alongside this new canine pal.
Are they getting along?
After a 30 minute walk, if all has gone well and they are now walking together, enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of the walk, without pulling toward each other or exhibiting any signs of aggression or anxiety, let them greet each other. Keep their leads loose and allow them to have a good old sniff of one another. If this goes well, then continue your walk until you are somewhere it’s safe and appropriate to let them loose and watch them run and play together. Now you are ready to head home and allow the visiting dog into your home. It’s a good idea to give the dogs some supervised play time in the garden (without toys) first and then let them both come into your home when there are thoroughly worn out and ready to relax.
Leaving them unsupervised
Don’t leave your dog unsupervised with your four-legged house guest until you are 100% sure that there are no unresolved issues over territory and both will continue to behave as they are when you’re present.
Have you got any further tips for introducing your dog to a visiting dog? We’d love to hear from you!