Introducing your dog to a potential borrower
As per our wagtastic news yesterday, our pawsome friends David and Hannah from David Cuffe Associates have been keeping their paws busy writing tips and tricks for the lovely BorrowMyDoggy community. With the aim to create the best possible matches, below is some advice on how to introduce your doggy to a potential borrower, high paws….
As with human beings, there are a myriad of doggy personalities out there - from the bouncy and gregarious, to the socially challenged, to the very cute and shy. How you go about introducing your dog to a new friend, be they human or canine, will depend to a certain point on what type of personality they have. Personality of doggy and the personality and abilities of the borrower should be taken into account in order to find the perfect, happy match.
There are some basics which apply to everyone and are helpful points to consider.
Having arranged your ‘Welcome Woof’ in a public location, prepare your hound for a normal outing. Be sure to bring your lead, some poo bags, a toy (if your dog is play driven) and possibly some treats (in case your dog needs some extra convincing that their new friend is ‘a good person’).
Keep in mind that we all commonly experience a slight tremor of social anxiety when we’re planning to meet a new person. Remember that dogs communicate largely through body language and so are experts on picking up on what you are feeling, sometimes before you are even aware of it yourself! When you meet in the park, be aware of your own body language, keep your dog on the lead at first and maintain a relaxed grip on the lead. If you are tense your dog will be tense.
Try not to make too much of a fuss. Simply exchange a friendly greeting with the borrower, and let your dog say hello if this is what they wish to do before you starting walking again. On no account should you force a greeting between your dog and their potential borrower. Dogs like to make friends in their own time and having a petting session forced on you from a tall stranger can be quite intimidating for some doggies.
As you wander you will probably start ‘talking dogs’ automatically, being fellow canine lovers. This could be a good chance to start going through any care information you’d like to impart or for your new friend to casually observe your dogs marvellous ways. It could be helpful if you bring a list of things you want to cover so you can ensure nothing is missed amongst the excitement.
As the dog becomes used to the new person (this can take seconds for hounds of the playful, social type and longer/multiple walks for others if they are a sensitive soul) it will be beneficial for your new friend to engage in some of the activities your dog loves. If off the lead, they could throw a ball for them to fetch, play a game of ‘catch me if you can’ or ask them to perform some tricks for treats. This will help bond your dog to their potential new borrower and also help establish pack hierarchy, something which is very important. Before going out with a borrower your dog must feel they are a higher member of their pack, worthy of being summoned by and obedient to.
Once you have finished your walk you should all have a pretty good idea of how the borrower and pooch are going to get along, and can potentially look at arranging the next ‘doggy date’…:)