How to Approach a Dog: Dog vs Dog 

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Life with our pooches is unimaginable. Be it going to the park or meeting a fellow dog parent, everything revolves around our cute fur babies and rightfully so. Your dog might be friendly with other humans but does he extend the same behavior towards other dogs? Well, fret not! We are here with the second segment of How to Approach a Dog: Dog vs Dog. Stay tuned for some nifty tricks as to how you should introduce them to other dogs and you sure won’t be disappointed.  

Dogs are social animals and love engaging with other humans and animals. But what a lot of people don’t know about them is they also have a process of engaging with other dogs. Not all dogs get immediately accustomed to the presence of other dogs. What is key is understanding the psyche of your dog and introducing them to other pooches accordingly. 

If you are planning to adopt another dog or just want your pooch to make new friends but don’t know where to start, here are some steps that will make the process easy for you: 

Finding a place that is neutral to both 

an image of two dogs in  the blog how to approach a dog: dog vs dog
Photo by Joshua Köller:

Dogs are extremely territorial beings. They feel like it is their duty to protect their houses and surroundings. When you are trying to introduce your pet to another dog in your area, chances are, he will try to guard his place and show aggression. Same goes for the other dog. So the place of rendez-vous needs to be neutral for them to be at ease. Best place would be to take them to a huge ground or dog park where they meet different dogs and don’t feel overwhelmed by it. The space also helps us to separate them more easily if they do start getting too stressed. 

Size of the dog matters and so does the breed and upbringing 

image of several dogs in different sizes in the blog How to approach a dog: dog vs dog
Photo by Edgar Daniel Hernández Cervantes:

The breed may or may not be an important factor in how friendly the other dog is. For example, they say that Rottweilers are aggressive but we have also seen a lot of rottweilers who are absolute goobers and have no kind of aggression in them. And if the upbringing and training isn’t done right, a labrador retriever is also capable of hurting other dogs. The key is in keeping a fine balance between these two factors. 

Another important point is to understand that a lot of dogs do behave differently as per their size. We have seen tiny Chihuahuas being aggressive and Great Danes being giant babies. A lot of times, some dogs are okay with tiny dogs but not with big dogs. Some have a weird gender bias where they aren’t aggressive around females but won’t be the same with a male dog. Many pet parents don’t know how to approach a dog with their dog and this leads to a lot of mishaps.

Letting them meet first over the fence or without a leash

Image of a dof behind a fence in how to approach a dog: dog vs dog
Photo by Janko Ferlic:

When you aren’t sure of your dog’s reaction towards other dog, introducing them over a safe fence can make a huge difference. This will keep both the dogs safe and you will have better control over the situation too. In many cases, if the dogs are on leash, they tend to be more stressed because they don’t have the freedom to meet the pooch in a normal way. Dogs have their own social etiquette and they like to sniff each other first. The leash can restrict their movement and make things worse sometimes. 

Getting rid of their territorial behavior 

Image of a dog meeting another dog in how to approach a dog: dog vs dog
Photo by Hilary Halliwell:

Many dogs feel like it is their duty to protect their humans. When you come across another dog, their tendency is to show aggression because they think your life is at stake. But when the same dog meets another dog at a place that is unknown or with people he hasn’t met before, they tend to lose their guard and make friends more quickly. 

Closely observing their behavior

Photo by Thijs van der Weide:

This is the most important step on how to introduce your dog to other dogs. Dogs have a pattern of showing aggression. If they are tense, there are some giveaways for the same. They keep licking their lips or the hair on their back is raised. Their body might suddenly become stiff or they might start growling. Their tail will become stiff or be tucked between their legs if they feel unsafe. These are just some of the signs that have a way of telling the whole story. The key is to recognize these and many more signs in your dog. The shift in the mood and behavior is a classic giveaway. So pay extra attention to their body language and you will be able to salvage the situation in a better way. 

Tire them or walk the dogs 

Photo by Blue Bird:

Dogs are the happiest when on a walk or while doing some activity that tires them quickly. When they have no nervous energy left, the chances are, the interaction will be easy. Another way to introduce them is through walks. They tend to focus more on the activity and the number of dogs and less on the nervous energy. 

Let them explore their new surroundings 

Photo by Skitterphoto:

If you have adopted a dog recently, chances are they will feel overwhelmed by the new place and surroundings. this very fact can stress them out and make them aggressive towards the other dog. You can change this by letting the dog explore his/her new surroundings independently. This act calms them down and get excited for their new home. you can keep your other dog away and let your new dog sniff the place at his own pace.

Keep their food, toys and bedding separate for some time 

an image of a dog eating food separately in the blog How to Approach a dog: dog vs dog

many dogs are possessive about their food, toys and bed. So feeding your dogs separately and letting them have two separate beds is crucial. Toys can also be a huge reason of a fight and they need to have two different boxes of toys to avoid a sticky situation. Once they get used to each other, they will automatically be okay with sharing.

Give them their own space and separate them when anxious 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska:

Many dogs get super excited when they are surrounded by people or other dogs. This could turn to quickly becoming a sticky situation if not handled carefully. But if you give them some space and time to calm down, the understand the cues more lucidly. another situation is when two dogs are playing with a lot of enthusiasm, they might get too excited and the fun might turn into a fight out of nowhere. This is where giving them some space might prove beneficial.

Patience is key  

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev:

Dogs take some time to get used to new changes and you need to be patient with them when it comes to meeting new dogs. They also need time to get used to new dogs and behave like family. it may take a couple of days or months but if you see positive signs then don’t give up. They will surely come around and feel at home eventually.

Keep away from dogs who are known for being aggressive 

An image of an aggressive dog in the blog - How to Approach a dog: dog vs dog
Photo by SplitShire:

This is one of the biggest mistakes pet parents commit: introduce their dogs to an aggressive dog without knowing their temperament. This can lead to a lot of injuries or death of a dog in some cases too. Many owners also don’t gauge the behavior of their own dogs and don’t know if he/she is aggressive and that may also lead to accidents. If adopting a new dog, make sure that he is capable of sharing a life with another dog. Same goes for your current dog too. If he is too aggressive and likes being the only dog in the house, adopting another dog could be a foolish decision.

If and when things go out of hand 

Photo by Gili Pup:

Now this is a situation when things go out of hand and the dogs are fighting. You need to have a water hose to separate them or distract them with some food. The key is to distract them enough and immediately take the aggressive dog away and see the damage. You also need to be more careful and wear some gloves while separating them as they might bite your hand. There are special sprays that help you separate the dogs or separation boards that can be used to push them apart. You can also put big blankets on them and that will take away their sight for a couple of seconds while you separate them.

Always have a professional dog handler or behaviorist present if you are unsure about things 

Photo by Jozef Fehér:

A lot of pet parents make way for such accidents as they aren’t good at handling such intense situations. A professional dog behaviorist or a handler can make the introduction seamless for you as they understand dogs really well. They are also adept in separating the dogs if things get out of hand.

Staying calm and confident is key 

Photo by Kampus Production:

Dogs understand our vibes and if we aren’t feeling confident, they feel like they are in charge of the situation. Instead of being unsure of yourself, lead the dog in a confident way and he might feel much more relaxed and protected. This will take away the nervous energy and make the interaction happy and fun.


Dogs love to interact with other dogs or have other companion dogs. If dealt with this situation smartly, your dog will come across life-long companions/friends and lead a happy life! Now that you know how to introduce your dog to another dog, go through this blog to know how to introduce them to fellow humans too!

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