Two dogs playing; Shutterstock ID 421183495; PO: license(27029)

Caitlin UltimoPet Socialization / Training / Training Tips

Doggie Play Date Etiquette: Introduce Pets Successfully

Whether a family member has adopted a new dog, you’ve just started dating someone who’s a dog owner or you just want your pup to befriend your pal’s dog, at some point, you’ll introduce your pack to another.

Time to set up a dog play date!

Introducing New Dogs

The key to introducing dogs who are new to each other is to hold their first meeting on neutral ground, such as a park that is unfamiliar to each dog. Instead of showing up and throwing your precious pups together, take a long walk together first to help drain some of that excitability before you let them run free together. For dogs that tend to be anxious on an everyday basis, you might try giving them a calming chew like Virbac Anxitane (L-Theanine) Small Chewable Dog & Cat Tablets. Plan to meet a few blocks away with the dogs on secure dog leashes, keeping them separated by their humans if there’s any tension. Specific dog collars and leashes such as a no-pull leash or headcollar can come in handy when first introducing dogs and will give you more control during the meeting. Walk to the park together so that both dogs feel they’re on equal footing by the time they get there.

If you want to then introduce one dog to another’s home, the humans should enter first, then the dog whose home it is, then the visiting dog.

Encouraging Dogs to Get Along

One concern of introducing dogs to each other is that they may show aggression when they first meet. If this happens you may need to take a few extra steps to socialize them.

As you begin your walk, for instance, the person with the dominant dog may want to walk ahead first. After some time and distance, you’ll want to allow the dominant dog to drop back and come around to sniff the submissive dog’s rear. Although it may seem awkward to humans, butt-sniffing is just the way dogs get to know and greet each other. If all goes well, walk on and allow the submissive dog to drop back and then sniff the dominant dog’s derriere.

If either one of the dogs does his business, let the other dog sniff it. Trust us, it helps!

When you reach your destination, whether it’s the park or someone’s home, occasionally give the dogs time apart with each owner stroking, praising and rewarding his or her dog, then bring them back together.

Good luck with your dog play date!