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Adam England

Here's how to successfully introduce two dogs, according to an expert

Dog sniffing another dog outside .

When you’re introducing two dogs for the first time, it can be a nerve-wracking experience.

There’s no guarantee they’ll become fast friends, particularly if you’re bringing home a puppy for the first time

Even if you have the friendliest, most sociable dog in the world, you never know whether the other dog might be scared – or even if your dog might be having an off day. 

But while you can never truly guarantee success when two dogs are meeting for the first time – they are animals, after all – there are ways to increase the chance of a successful encounter, like bringing along some of the best dog treats

And certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive has offered some advice in a recent Instagram post. 

In the video, Goodman introduces Golden Retriever puppy Luke to his Goldendoodle cousin, Theo. 

Both dogs are sociable, and were excited to see each other, but Goodman explains that it’s important to take it slow and steady, introducing them before they have the chance to actually interact. 

“Part of that is getting both dogs calm around each other and able to focus on you,” she says. “Once both dogs were calm, which took about ten minutes, we took the leashes off.”

However, for some dogs, this early stage of the meeting might take longer than ten minutes. It could take multiple visits for the leashes to come off, but there’s no rush. 

As Goodman continues, “Every dog is different, and it is worth it to take your time to make sure both dogs are not only comfortable with each other, but that they are not overstimulated when they first interact.

“When they are calm as the leashes come off, that helps make their interaction much nicer.”

After Theo and Luke were taken off their leashes, Goodman explains that the first interaction went well. Luke did get slightly overwhelmed due to Theo’s size, but after seeing that Luke was nervous, Theo disengaged from him. “Because Theo respected Luke’s space, that made Luke want to reengage,” Goodman says. 

The dogs’ humans intervened after Luke began to get overexcited and mouthy – something Theo wasn’t comfortable with. 

Of course, safety is important. Make sure you’re supervising the play date, giving your dogs breaks from each other if they need them, and intervening if they’re unhappy – perhaps if one is being a little rough with the other. 

It might sound daunting, but introducing one dog to another can go smoothly when you don’t rush things, and stay on hand, just in case. It’s the same story when you’re introducing a new dog to the pets already in your home – here’s how to introduce a new dog to your home and other pets.

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