Sometimes, our pet dog which is gentle and loving with his family turns into a snarling hooligan when he meets another dog.
This is often because one of them is trying to establish dominance over the other. Most often, one of the dogs will give signs that he is not a threat to the other and things will go along smoothly, these signs are known as calming signals and, as a dog owner, you should be able to recognize them.
If the two dogs get into a fight the first time they meet, it is likely that their relationship will never be a smooth one.
When your dog meets a new dog, you should control the introduction process.
Start Off The Right Way
Don't put two dogs together and just hope for the best.
The initial introduction should be on neutral ground. Dogs become protective of their home territory and your dog may feel he's protecting his home if another enters.
Keep both dogs on leashes. Some dogs are more aggressive when they're on the leash than when they are running free. However, if trouble starts, it is much easier to separate the dogs if they're leashed.
The initial introduction should be relatively brief. Be patient with your dog - he could be feeling the same discomfort that you do when meeting new people.
If the first meeting goes off OK, the next step would be to take the two dogs on a walk together. They should still be on leashes and you should keep a close eye on their behaviour. At some point, the dogs will establish a pecking order. This is natural behavior and you should just let it happen. Your role is to make sure it happens without fights or injury.
It is important that you remain calm at all times. Your dog will be able to feel your anxiety. He may interpret this as fear and try to protect you from the other dog.
When a dog is involved in a fight, the owner becomes anxious every time another dog approaches. While this is natural, try not to let it happen. Your dog will sense your anxiety and become more stressed himself. Remember, dogs live in the moment and they react to what is going on around them. If your dog has been involved in a scuffle, that was his reaction to the circumstances at the time. If he meets another dog, the circumstances will be different and so will the reaction of that dog. Just deal which situations as they arise.
The Next Meeting
When you are planning for your dog to meet a new dog, it is a good idea to tire him a bit first. If possible, get the other owner to do the same with their dog. Energetic dogs tend to play more boisterous games than tired dogs. These games can get out of hand and lead to aggression.
If you've taken the leashed dogs for a walk together a few times and this has gone well, it's time to try them together off the leash. Before you do this, it is essential that your dog responds well to commands. He must come when called.
Take the two dogs to an open area where there are few distractions. Take them off the leash and let them play together. By this stage, they should know each other well enough so that problems don't occur.
If your dog act aggressively towards every other dog be meets, and the simple introduction methods described above don't work you should consider specialist help.