Can’t we all get along? Well, when it comes to the best ways to help our dogs get along with other dogs, we need to set them up for success, manage their environment, and proactively monitor their interactions. And, the key to helping your dog get along is knowing each dog: likes and dislikes, how their day went, how tired, hungry, or thirsty. Meeting their individual needs makes it easier to meet new dogs for them and for everyone.
How can you successfully set up your dog to play well with other dogs
Setting up dogs for success includes everything that happens before they interact with each other. This means:
- Choose a neutral position for referral.
Examples include a park in a quiet area that is not frequented by dogs, a neighbor’s yard with no pets of its own, a wide field and a wide meridian of a quiet street with the aisle is very wide. Or, if at home, move all items of interest to the dog. Items such as toys or food can cause problems with resource protection, which will prevent dogs from getting to know each other. Make sure your dog is mentally, emotionally, and physically ready to learn from this new experience in the best possible way.
Environmental management means monitoring, guiding and handling the dog’s interactions as they are occurring. Adapt to each individual’s needs and proactively scan how those interactions are going (like the beach lifeguard sweeping water to ensure the safety of those in and around it) .
Management also includes keeping interactions fair and brief, even as relationships develop and time spent together increases. Slowly and gradually increase the amount of time together from one minute to 10 minutes of play. This is a great way to manage the amount of time the dogs spend together and then stop, instead of letting them play a little longer and suddenly a bad interaction happens. Managing means being proactive, rather than reacting.
Useful tips for being proactive are:
- Keep your introduction short while it’s imperative
- Provides space with parallel walk
- Has a good short-range quick recall like “subscribe” to know when they’re not tied down
- For some dogs, this may mean wearing a muzzle, if that’s what they claim to be sure additional safety measures have been in place before they are needed.
Merging your dog with other dogs through a parallel walk
Parallel walking means walking together on a wide road, an empty lot, or opposite sides of a quiet road while walking parallel to each other. This is a great way to help dogs experience time together without the need for social contact. Sometimes parallel walking is improved for individuals if they are walking both staggered and parallel, with a dog slightly ahead and then trading with another dog walking in the front, still staying. on the opposite side of a wide or empty aisle. This gives each dog a different vantage point in their shared environment within a manageable close range with another dog, to experience walking together.
Help dogs share with other dogs
One sharing game I play with my dogs is to say the names of each dog before giving each one a small reward / treat. I prepare a small amount / bowl of junk food and say:
“Summer a treat” (Hand Summer a treat)
“Bear’s turn” (Bear’s hand enjoy)
I repeated the sequence until each dog was given an equal amount of food in succession. This game is for dogs that have started getting along, but don’t get overly excited when eaten like junk food. Use something delicious and easy to put them in small pieces so they can be quickly consumed. This can be done with dogs on either side of you or with dogs on either side of the doggie port if necessary. Remember, we can always set the environment to ensure greater success. The dog can stand, sit or lie down. Repeat the process of freely distributing this resource to each dog to get the many rewards you have on hand. For two dogs, six is a good number to divide between each dog with three turns for each dog.
I find this sharing game easier to manage with food, but it can also be played with affection by petting each dog after saying their name. However, I don’t do this with toys. Playing fair with an individual, then shared moments with a toy can become complicated, as it involves getting rid of the shared toy. Choose your moment. Do not play this game when the dogs are very excited, hungry or have problems with resource protection.
Continue reading: How to socialize your dog