DemoDick wrote:Introducing dogs on leash is a bad idea. I'm glad nothing happened.
In any introduction between two animals, each has a choice to make if the other becomes aggressive or offensive: fight or flight. When you introduce them on leash, you have removed the option of flight as the dog realizes that he is tethered. This leaves one option.
If you are going too introduce two dogs, the best method is to make sure both dogs are collared, take them to a neutral location and allow them to meet off leash.
I don't generally allow nose to nose on-leash greetings. What we basically did was do some parallel leash walking at a distance and observed both dogs' behavior toward each other, gradually moving closer together, eventually allowing some ultra-quick butt sniffing for the first greeting; I don't generally allow any real contact when they're on leash, but I strive to keep a loose lead. Once we had calm body language from everyone while close to each other, then we moved to off-leash.
This is one of the reasons I've been hesitant to introduce Robin to other dogs. First, I don't know many people who have enough control over their dogs or wherewithal to jump in that I trust to break up a fight quickly enough. I know a lot of people who DON'T understand dog body language, yet I have to be careful with my friends of being too much of a control-freak know-it-all
. For example, when we tried to introduce River to our friend's boxer, I was EXTREMELY thankful I had her on a leash. River is not very tolerant of overly exuberant pups, and Belle is one of those. She showed her exuberance immediately-- not aggression, just really happy to see another dog, and it didn't help that she was kept on a super TIGHT lead the whole time. She's very dog friendly, but I know River, and a dog of Belle's size and energy level running up to her would be bad news; but at the same time, my friend wasn't keeping the leash loose and had tried to usher everyone into a tight space. River took one look at her, started flicking her tongue, looking away, and trying to stay behind me. No way was I letting them go off-leash. I think if we'd taken a short leash walk, with enough distance between them, allowed Belle to calm down to the idea of a NEW! DOG!, and for River to be more accustomed to Belle's energy, we might have been able to allow off-leash play.
We also have, up until this point, had little sense of Robin's level of dog tolerance. I DO however, know that my mother's dog is very dog-friendly and tends to be very chill and easy-going and (I hate the word) "submissive" with other dogs. She doesn't get a ton of regular dog socialization/play-time, but I've had her around a lot of different dogs since she was adopted, and I know her pretty well; she's also older and Robin is one of those exuberant types, too, and I wanted Robin to get a little more used to the idea of a new dog and not RUSH her immediately. Now I feel like I know Robin's body language better, what her different growls mean, when it's play, when it's a warning, what kinds of warnings she gives to our other dogs, etc. I felt it was really important to know Robin's signals before introducing her at all. And I don't like lunging leash greetings; parallel walking at a distance, gradually getting closer. Finding people willing to take that kind of time with their dogs' introductions is difficult.
Off-leash meetings are the one thing dog parks have going for them.
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