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Socializing Your Dog to Other Dogs

You have a new bag of dog food and a bunch of new toys. You planned to take a day off work just to make this trip just as you have been planning for weeks and waiting for the pup you picked out to be weaned. You placed a deposit on the animal six months ago, long before it was even born and the day has finally come. You’re bringing the new puppy home today. On the way home, one of the kids asks, “Dad do you think him and old Yeller will get along?” UH OH... Forgot to plan that one out, didn’t you? Now what? Well, it looks like you are going to get a socializing lesson for your dogs. So how hard can it be? It’s not really difficult at all if you follow these simple steps.

For the First tip, insure the Safety of Both Animals and Yourself. To start, make certain that the puppy will be safe. If the new dog is small enough, place the new pup in a pet carrier or some other sturdy structure that prohibits the dog from actually physically contacting the animal but still allows for both animals to see, smell and hear each other. This provides a way for both animals to acclimate to each other in a safe situation. In the case of larger dogs or two adult dogs, leashing both animals may be advisable and having an assistant on hand is recommended.

Secondly, rewards will work wonders at achieving a peaceful home life for your two pets. After the animals have both calmed a bit give them each a small reward, such as a morsel of some favorite food. Be sure to give the dogs lots of verbal praise and affection for not barking or trying to be aggressive towards each other as this will show the dogs that you are accepting of the other pet’s presence and you expect them to be also. Repeat this process several times until both animals seem fairly accustomed to the presence of the other and their aggressions seem to have subsided.

The third tip to socializing your animal is Get Help. This step will require an assistant to help with one of the animals. Have the assistant leash the dog and hold him firmly on a very short leash. After instructing the assistant to maintain control of the dog, open the pet carrier and bring the new pet out carefully or if both animals are on leashes, bring them together. Your dogs will likely move towards each other to explore the other animal so be sure the assistant has the dog held tightly and be careful not to let the new pet panic and escape your grasp. Gradually bring them closer together and let them calmly adapt to each others presence. The dogs may show a bit of an aggression towards each other and this is ok at first. They will learn a pecking order quickly and resolve any small dilemmas between themselves.

The final point to remember is that not everyone is going to get along. There will be days where the dogs are going to feud. Some animals were just never meant to live in harmony but with a lot of patience and a little direction you can make your household fairly peaceable most of the time. When things go sour, just take it in stride and put the animals in their separate areas for a bit and, given a cooling period, they will be friends again in no time.

Another great idea for socializing your dog to other dogs can be done long before you get a new pup. Take your dog to the park or some place with lots of dogs and let him explore the other animals. Perhaps even be the host of a Pooch Party and invite several playmates for your dog and their human companions to come over for a treat and some time together. This is a great way to teach your dog some manners and also gives you a great way to relax. With these simple tips you can be certain that life around your home will be much more peaceful and your pets will have companions for a lifetime.

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