Inviting a dog into your home is a wonderful experience, they can be the best of friends – they offer love and affection, they know when you’re feeling sad and will offer a doggy hug and good company, they know when you’re unwell and won’t nag or bother you and they are great for fighting loneliness and promoting a healthy exercise regime.
However, dogs and dog owners can sometimes feel lonely and want for the companionship of others so we thought we’d put together some information that can help you and your pup get out there and make sure furry friends for walks, for play and for companionship.
How to find Furry Friends
If you’re looking for other dog owners or groups where you can meet up and make friends the internet is a great place to start, these are our top places to look:
- meetup.com – specifically designed for advertising meetings, search for dog related groups in your area
- Facebook Groups – search for dog groups with similar breeds or interests in your local area
- Your Vet – dog groups, meet ups and classes are often advertised through your vet so keep an eye on their noticeboard
- The Local Park – sometimes you just need to get out there and start chatting to people in your local park and it’s easier when you have your dogs to bond over
- Activity Groups – you can find lots of classes and activities, for all levels of ability that you can join and make new friends at
- Dog Groomers – often other dog owners will be waiting with their pets or you may bump into them as you arrive to collect your dog
How to make Furry Friends
So, you’ve found some new friends but you’re worried about your furry companion will fit it. Maybe they’ve not been socialised before or maybe you’re worried about them not getting on as well as they could. Well again, we’ve got a few tips for you:
- Introduce the dogs to each other properly – Walk both of them together in a neutral territory, allowing them to sniff and greet each other. However, some precautionary steps are necessary – each dog should be leashed and walked by a different person, you shouldn’t let them walk too close to each other at first as they may feel threatened by other dog’s presence and if you see signs of tension between the dogs, separate them at once.
- Establish dominance – Dogs are pack animals by nature. Every animal pack has a leader, an alpha animal who dominates and leads the other members in the pack. Dogs will instinctively compete to become the alpha in the pack, and this is obvious when a new dog is being introduced to the pack, because you are also considered part of the pack you need to seize the alpha position in the pack and dominate the pack. If dogs see you as leader, they won’t see each other as rivals in the pack and could possibly get along well.
- Supervise all interactions between the dogs – Whilst allowing dogs to interact freely, make sure you keep an eye on them. Dogs won’t become friends instantly and it can usually take several months for two newly acquainted dogs to be comfortable with each other. Therefore, supervision is absolutely necessary to stop a fight potentially occurring.
- Watch for body posture – Watch carefully for body language/posture in dogs that can indicate defensive or aggressive behaviour: teeth baring, staring, stiff tail, ears forward, hair raised on the dog’s back. If you see these signs in your dog, intervene and separate them immediately or there will be a fight. You can only allow them to interact again after they are calm and relaxed.
- Be patient – Dogs are just like us people. Some dogs can become fast friends within a few hours, but some dogs may never get along. It could be due to clash in personalities – where some are active and lively, others are quiet and antisocial. Be patient and let the dogs take time getting to know each other.