Hosts: Five Tips for Ensuring That Your First Meeting with a New Dog Goes Well

Hosting a new dog can be an exciting and sometimes nerve-racking experience. It is important, therefore, to ensure that your meeting with the new dog goes well. Often, ensuring that things go well is as simple as understanding the nature of dogs and adjusting your own behaviour in accordance. Here’s how you can make your new canine friend as comfortable as possible during your first meeting.

Meet Him on a Good Day

Since it's true that dogs are extremely sensitive to the emotions of both owners and strangers, it's important to make sure that you are feeling calm and happy when you first meet the dog you will be hosting. If you happen to be upset, anxious, nervous, or fearful on this day, the dog will certainly pick up on this - and it may result in a bad start. Negative energy will likely make the dog feel tense and fearful, which can in turn make it more aggressive - so take a deep breath, smile, and most importantly, relax.

Let Her Come to You

Dogs, especially really cute dogs and small puppies, can be hard to resist. For dog lovers, we know how easy it is to approach a dog first when that dog is a loving pet. But when meeting a dog you will be hosting for the first time, it is important to allow the dog to come to you first. If the dog feels intimidated at first, allowing the dog to come to you will help to build trust between you and her. If the dog has boundary issues, the same method will help you to establish yourself as "boss" or "pack leader," whereby the dog will learn to follow you and not vice versa.

Let Him Get a Scent

Dogs like to sniff. Most people who have ever come into contact with a dog know that. Dogs are especially 'sniffly' upon first greeting. The best thing to do is to allow the dog to get a sense of your scent by simply ignoring him while he goes about sniffing you. Normally this process won't take any longer than a few seconds, and it is almost always necessary for the dog to get acquainted with you. Therefore, you shouldn't interrupt the process, and should simply allow him to complete his sniffing ritual. This means you should refrain from petting and making eye contact while he gets acquainted with your scent.

Make Initial Contact with the Dog

After you have met the dog, and she has become acquainted with your scent, you can offer her your hand in a gentle and calm manner. Sometimes getting down to the dog's level - especially if it is a smaller dog - will help to make them feel comfortable and less anxious. If it is a big dog, you can ask her to sit and then give her a nice pet on the head.

Let Him Have the Familiarity

When hosting a new dog, it can be helpful if the dog has something from their home that is familiar to them. When you first meet the dog, it can be helpful to associate something they are familiar with to yourself, who they are unfamiliar with. You could, for example, play fetch with their favourite toy to help establish your first meeting and build the trust the animal has for you. Taking these small, simple steps can make a world of difference when hosting a new dog. So be mindful, and do what you can to make sure your relationship starts out on the right paw.

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