Introducing your dog to other dogs – transcript

Hi, I'm Beth and I'm a Canine Behaviour and Training Advisor here at Battersea 

Today, we're going to show you how to safely introduce your dog to other dogs when you're out on a walk 

Dogs are naturally sociable animals and they generally enjoy interacting with each other but some dogs can find this intimidating 

This could be because they've had a bad experience in the past, or they just haven't had enough practice being around other dogs 

Dogs need to learn social skills when they're a puppy usually by having positive meetings with other dogs 

If they don't learn these skills they can end up behaving inappropriately 

It's your job to referee these greetings and move them away for a break if necessary 

When dogs meet, they communicate through body language 

In order for them to have a positive experience 

it's important for us to know what they're saying 

You need to observe your dog and know how they look 

when they're relaxed as well as being aware of the other dogs so that you can be sure that they're both enjoying themselves 

Let's look at an example of a good and a bad interaction 

If your dog's body is fluid and free of tension it's a general sign that they're happy and relaxed 

If your dog is relaxed it's more likely to bring out a positive response from the other dog 

When dogs meet, they will use their sense of smell to find out more 

Calm circling with nose-to-bottom sniffing is a calm and polite greeting for dogs 

A not-so-great interaction is when a dog becomes tense retreats, or lunges whilst barking 

This usually means they are overwhelmed 

If you think your dog is uncomfortable don't prolong the interaction just move them away and give them some space 

A good way to start is to keep interactions short and sweet and allow your dog to greet the other dog for three seconds 

Let them have a quick sniff, nose-to-bottom and then move them away 

Avoid face-to-face greetings as it can be really intimidating for the other dog 

Keep the lead loose and free of tension to help your dog stay relaxed 

Stay next to your dog's shoulder and move with them as they circle 

This way, you can keep the lead loose but you can gain control quickly if you need to 

If you have a friend who has a friendly dog meet up with them to practise this first 

If your dog's behaviour escalates within those first three seconds you may need to consult a behaviourist 

You also need to know how to manage a greeting when your dog is off-lead 

We recommend building up a strong recall before you let your dog off the lead 

This way, if you need to call them back from an interaction, you can 

If your dog doesn't have this, check out our recall video 

In the meantime, we recommend using a long line training lead attached to a harness 

When greeting other dogs there are a few golden rules to follow 

Always ask the other owner's permission first 

Even though your dog might be friendly the other dog might not be 

Choose walking routes that are appropriate for your dog 

If they're easily overwhelmed by other dogs then avoid walking them 

in a busy dog park 

Remember that dogs do understand each other better than we do, and they're 

not going to like every dog that they meet 

So if they do bark or growl occasionally at another dog don't tell them off for it 

However, if your dog's growling a lot or it's clearly aggressive then you may need to seek 

the help of a behaviourist 

Those are top tips on how to introduce other dogs but you need to remember 

that every dog is different and you need to judge each greeting as it comes 

Use this training when you need to but remember, don't force 

your dog to say hello to every dog that they come across 

It's also important for your dog to be able to walk past other dogs and not need 

to say hello to them 

It's best not to let your dog run up to other dogs who are on the lead when yours isn't 

This is because the other dog might not want to interact with your dog, but they've 

got less space to move away 

That was how to safely introduce your dog to others while they're out on a walk 

If you'd like to learn more on how to train your dog 

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