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Avoid Face To Face Meet-and-Greets Dogs

If you have taken one of our group classes or even private lessons with us, one of the things you hear us warn clients about is to avoid allowing dogs to meet face to face on leash. Most people look at us like we are crazy and their response is something like…”well how in the world do they ever meet another dog then!?”

Dog meetings can go bad very quickly! Take this photo (above) for instance…4 dogs, 2 handlers, leashes with tension on them, some about to cross over each other…what do you think is likely to happen next?

Do you like every person you meet right away and want a hug, sniff in the ear and kiss from them? Probably not!

Why should your dog want to have another dog up in their face when they first meet? Do you have a dog that can be “reactive” on leash to other dogs when you are walking? Imagine how the tension and/or anxiety can escalate quickly with another dog up in their face?

We get a lot of responses like…”well, I want my dog to have other dog friends…he NEEDS other dog friends!” There are ways to give your dog the opportunity to make friends (and avoid making enemies) without the other dog immediately up in their grill! For example:

● Take a walk together. Walk the dogs in parallel, moving forward, until they have the chance to relax, do
their business and get a whiff of each other.
● Let the dogs sniff each other through a fence, crate or kennel. Sometimes the pressure of being
around another dog can be a lot. This gives them a chance to do a little sniffing of each other, the way
dogs are intended to meet, and the opportunity to size up the other dog, without the pressure to be in
each other’s face or interact. Many dogs that are reactive calm down rather quickly when in the kennel
next to other dogs that would commonly set them off. Keeping them separate through fencing maintains
more safety.
● Do not expect them to immediately share toys, chews, bowls, etc. Guarding behaviors are quite
common in a lot of dogs. Keep this added pressure out of the picture until the dogs become more
comfortable with each other or do not even expect sharing at all.
● After they have the chance to size up each other on parallel walks, sniffing through fencing, not
competing over toys, then, take them off leash into a safe fenced in area and see if they want to play.

You can teach an OUT command, so both dogs learn to back off if the interaction becomes too intense.
If you are uncomfortable with the interaction, chances are good at least one of the dogs may also be
uncomfortable.

Not all dogs are social butterflies, we just see that type of dog out and about a lot because they enjoy the
interactions and aren’t put off by the interactions of other dogs. Learn to read their body language. The truth is that most dogs are dog selective…they seek out those they can be comfortable with and buddy up with them. Like us humans, they don’t like 100% of all the dogs they come in contact with…and that is perfectly acceptable.

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