Keep your dog greeting quick and positiveDima-Oana-Gabriela/Shutterstock
Before you allow your pup to greet a potential four-legged friend, pay attention to body language. “When two dogs are meeting, make sure both dogs are calm and show inviting body language,” says Vicky Haines, a rescue and rehabilitation trainer in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. You can recognize when dogs are calm when they have relaxed tails, relaxed bodies, soft eyes, and are responsive to their handlers. Since dogs can sense your energy, it’s important to make sure you are calm as well. “Avoid face-to-face contact and let the dogs smell each other’s rears,” she notes. “Allow the dogs to guide you by their body language and energy. I like to keep on-leash meetings quick and positive,” she says. In contrast, Haines cautions, “If either dog is puffed up, making themselves look big, stiff, tail held high, fixed eyes, or at the end of their leash, keep walking. That dog is not a good candidate to introduce to your dog.” Find out the 50 secrets your pet won’t tell you.
Walk your pup on a leashJaromir-Chalabala/Shutterstock
Please don’t be that person—the person who walks their dog down the sidewalk without a leash. You may be surprised how your dog reacts to an unfamiliar pet or situation. Caitlin Ultimo, content manager, managing editor, and resident pet expert at Chewy, shares, “Your pet may be well-behaved off leash, but you should consider that other pets on a leash may not be okay with a curious dog walking right up to them. Additionally, a leash protects your dog from the unexpected. You never know if something will spook your dog into running into harm’s way.” Ultimo’s leash of choice? A retractable leash to give your pet that feeling of freedom, but with the necessary security, she says. Just make sure you keep it reigned in when entering crowded areas or you’re near busy streets.