How to introduce dogs on a walk correctly
So often, greeting another dog on a lead becomes a total disaster, with both owners apologizing for their dog’s behaviour and neither dog enjoying the experience. Neither owner is sure what the correct meet and greet procedure is, or the what the right thing to say is, and we become too involved in what should be a pure dog affair.
So I have put this simply post and video together so that you have a few key pointers up your sleeve for next time.
The video above is a ‘must watch’ – How to introduce dogs on a walk correctly. In the video you’ll see everything I discuss below, in action.
Meet and Greet Tips
Here are my 5 tips when meeting another dog on a leash, helping everyone (including the dogs) to stay safe and ensure a relaxed and natural encounter.
1. Play safe
Every situation is different so it’s worth firstly checking out the dog coming towards you. No matter how many dogs your dog has met there are always some that you should stay clear of. Sometimes the simple question “Is your dog friendly?” before you introduce them can save you a lot of hassle. Other times you can make your own decision from a distance.
Usually we are wise to go off our gut instinct and intuition. If you feel unsure or uneasy simply take a small detour around the person and their dog and carry on your way.
2. Loose leash
Once you decide to let your dog sniff the other dog, make sure that their leash is loose. If you are unsure about doing so then maybe you should not be letting the dogs meet. Clearly if your dog gets over excited and you need to pull them away or restrain them, then the leash will not be loose. However if they are behaving nicely give them the respect they deserve and a nice loose leash. Imagine trying to meet somebody for the first time with somebody tugging you back by your neck!
If your dog is pulling so hard you can’t loosen the lead, then you more than likely have an issue with your dog believing they’re in control of the walk. And this stems from their built-in pack mentality. A dog is either a leader or a follower, and if you’re not the Pack Leader, then your dog will naturally assume the role. This leads to 95% of the dog behavioral problems I work with everyday – from pulling on the lead, jumping up and barking to biting and separation anxiety. So make sure you are the Pack Leader – read more here about becoming the Pack Leader, and the 5 Golden Rules.
3. Give space
Once your dogs are sniffing each other give them a little space. You don’t have to walk a long way away, but simply giving them a yard of space will allow them to breathe easier and give them the feeling that you are not concerned. Standing over them and crowding them because you are getting ready to pounce gives off all the wrong messages.
4. Two’s company, three’s a crowd
When you are really trying to understand what somebody you have just met is trying to say and a third person starts talking over the top of you, it really doesn’t help. It’s the same for your dog. When they’re getting to know each other and sniffing, stay out of it and give them the time they deserve. The best way to do this is to avoid any pats, words of encouragement or affection. Of course you can talk to the other person, especially if you keep the conversation light and jolly, but allow the dogs to check each other out in peace.
5. Change the energy
Sometimes if things look like they’re a bit stuck or frozen you can get it all moving again by simply walking away. In the video I walk 2 yards away with Jezebel when things look a little strained and she immediately relaxes. Sometimes that is all that is needed to break the ice.
Have fun, love your dog and enjoy the video. And if you’re need need of any additional dog training resources, I highly encourage you to check out my program called The Dog Calming Code. In this program I’ll teach you how how to get your dog to listen and take your lead when it matters most, so he can life a happy, healthy, and stress free life!