Should I let my dog meet other dogs? Surprising Answer

A colleague posted an interesting question on her Facebook page last week: “Do you let your dog greet other dogs on leash?”

The question wasn’t as interesting as the trend the answers took. There were almost 200 responses at last check. Most of the responders were professional dog trainers, although I’m sure there were a few pet owners responding, too.

The interesting thing was that the answers followed a trend: dog trainers were emphatic that dogs shouldn’t be meeting on leash, whereas dog owners were either neutral or liked the idea of dogs saying hello while on leash.

The differences were clear. The pet owners didn’t see anything wrong with letting dogs greet on leash (some even encouraged it), while professional dog trainers rarely let their own dogs greet other dogs while on leash. I think it’s because trainers have thousands more hours experience reading dog body language and can tell, sometimes before the dogs even get to greet, that the interaction won’t be a pleasant one. Many dog owners think that their dog should like — and want to greet — every dog it runs across, when in reality lots of dogs don’t really want to meet (or shouldn’t meet other dogs). Think of it this way: do you want to shake hands with every person you come across in the mall? Probably not — and neither do most dogs want to sniff up another dog.

) Visit your vet’s office just for puppy treats

Make special trips to your vet. Ask your vet to give your puppy a treat when you visit. Try to visit the exam rooms and back of the hospital so your pup is familiar with the hospital and staff. Give treats in each room!

Find a puppy socializing class and start classes right away. If your puppy is not well, speak with your vet before going to class.

Human parents of new pups worry about exposing their cute little fuzzy kids to adult dogs too soon. But waiting too long can be a problem, too, if the puppy is going to be part of a household with other dogs.

In order to have a normal, outgoing dog, let him play with the other dogs. Just make sure they have been vaccinated.

If there are other dogs in the household, make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. This way, they can become safe playmates and guides for the youngster.

Keep your puppy on a leash when he meets other dogs, even indoors. The leash is his safety device. Always keep him on a leash when he’s outdoors, particularly while he’s still being trained and not finished with his vaccines.

Puppies need socialization, particularly once they’ve been weaned, which usually starts at three weeks and is over by eight. At this stage, they may not have had all their vaccines yet, but they do need socialization.

Learn how to let your reactive dog meet other dogs