Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.
When you’re introducing two dogs for the first time, it can be a nerve-wracking experience.
There’s no guarantee they’ll become fast friends, particularly if you’re bringing home a puppy for the first time.
Even if you have the friendliest, most sociable dog in the world, you never know whether the other dog might be scared – or even if your dog might be having an off day.
But while you can never truly guarantee success when two dogs are meeting for the first time – they are animals, after all – there are ways to increase the chance of a successful encounter, like bringing along some of the best dog treats.
And certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive has offered some advice in a recent Instagram post.
A photo posted by on
In the video, Goodman introduces Golden Retriever puppy Luke to his Goldendoodle cousin, Theo.
Both dogs are sociable, and were excited to see each other, but Goodman explains that it’s important to take it slow and steady, introducing them before they have the chance to actually interact.
“Part of that is getting both dogs calm around each other and able to focus on you,” she says. “Once both dogs were calm, which took about ten minutes, we took the leashes off.”
However, for some dogs, this early stage of the meeting might take longer than ten minutes. It could take multiple visits for the leashes to come off, but there’s no rush.
As Goodman continues, “Every dog is different, and it is worth it to take your time to make sure both dogs are not only comfortable with each other, but that they are not overstimulated when they first interact.
“When they are calm as the leashes come off, that helps make their interaction much nicer.”
After Theo and Luke were taken off their leashes, Goodman explains that the first interaction went well. Luke did get slightly overwhelmed due to Theo’s size, but after seeing that Luke was nervous, Theo disengaged from him. “Because Theo respected Luke’s space, that made Luke want to reengage,” Goodman says.
The dogs’ humans intervened after Luke began to get overexcited and mouthy – something Theo wasn’t comfortable with.
Of course, safety is important. Make sure you’re supervising the play date, giving your dogs breaks from each other if they need them, and intervening if they’re unhappy – perhaps if one is being a little rough with the other.
It might sound daunting, but introducing one dog to another can go smoothly when you don’t rush things, and stay on hand, just in case. It’s the same story when you’re introducing a new dog to the pets already in your home – here’s how to introduce a new dog to your home and other pets.
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Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.