But whether your furry pal is social or aloof, it’s your job to read the signs and keep him as safe as possible. Use these tips when meeting other dogs at the park, at home or in the neighborhood.
- Watch body language – Body language will let you know if either dog is ready to meet. If he’s relaxed, wags his tail or faces the other dog in a crouch with hind end in the air, your dog’s feeling friendly or ready to play. If there are growls, bared teeth, a rigid stance or a fixed stare from either dog, it’s best to move on and avoid conflict.
- Mind your own body language – If you’re hesitant or fearful, your dog might sense it and be more aggressive in his own behavior. Keep your tone calm and try not to tense up or jerk his leash.
Offer positive reinforcement – When dogs first meet, talk to them in a friendly tone of voice. After they sniff each other briefly, praise your dog and lead him away.
- Prevent aggression – If you see signs of aggression from either side, distract your dog then lead him away before the situation escalates.
- Ask the pet parent – Your social butterfly might want to greet every dog he sees during his walks, but it’s often best to ask the other pet parent first. If the other person doesn’t want his dog to meet yours, don’t take it personally. His pet may have aggression issues it would be best to avoid.
Your dog may love meeting other dogs and making new friends. Just be sure to keep it safe and fun with these tips!