Introducing Dogs on Leash


Introducing Dogs on Leash

Dog Greeting

Photo Credit: Lindsey Islas

Too often, greeting another dog on leash does not go well, even when both dogs are well socialized and dog friendly.  Leashes limit your dog’s natural greeting movements and can create tension and frustration for many dogs. Here are 7 tips for successful leash meet and greets for two dog friendly dogs:

  • Ask Permission and Play it Safe: No matter how good your dog is with other dogs on and off leash, it’s important to ask the owner of the other dog if their dog is friendly on leash and if it is ok if your dog greets them.  If someone asks your permission, but you don’t have a good feeling about the other dog, be your dog’s advocate and don’t allow the two dog’s to meet.  You can always politely tell the other person that your dog is currently in training.
  • Control the greeting:  If one or both of the dogs are overly excited, pulling and/or barking to greet, it is best not to let the dogs greet each other.  Arousal can turn into aggression quickly. The greeting starts before the dogs meet, so it’s import that they are both calm and on a loose leash.
  • Keep the Leashes Loose:  A tight leash can change your dog’s posture to look aggressive and can add frustration, tension and stress to the greeting.  Therefore, it is really important to always have slack in the leash.
  • Follow the 3 Second Rule:  When the dog’s first greet, give them only 3 seconds and then move them apart.  It is not uncommon for dogs to have a confrontation after the 3rd second.  If there is barking or growling before 3 seconds, immediately move them apart so it doesn’t escalate. If the first interaction went well and both dogs have loose bodies and look like they want to continue to interact, allow them greet again.
  • Keep the Dogs Moving:  When they greet, dogs move around to sniff each other at different angles, including the butt.  Stillness and stiffness are signs that there could be a confrontation, so keep the leashes loose and allow the dogs to move around as naturally as possible.
  • Be Aware of Body Language:  It is so important to keep a close eye on the dogs when they are interactingStaring, body stiffness, tight jaws, tucked, stiff, or high tails that are only wagging on the tip are all signs that there could be a confrontation.  Dogs should have relaxed bodies and loose wagging tails when interacting with each other.
  • Limited Greetings to One Dog:  Having a successful meet and greet with two dogs can be a challenge, when you add a thirdit makes it even more difficult to manage loose leashes, watch for body language and move the dogs apart in a timely manner if a confrontation arises.