Looking for Opinions - Doggie Playdates? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for Opinions - Doggie Playdates?

Before I ask my question here is some background: Boogie tends to be dog-reactive especially on leash. He has been doing much better (probably about a 40% improvement) through a combination of clicker training and daycare, but I don't think he will ever be the type of dog to want to be BFFs with every dog he sees. I am OK with that, I just expect him to be civil when we are around other dogs.

My siblings-in law (there are two of them) both have dogs, one has a large dog and one a small dog. They are constantly asking us to bring Boogie with us when we come visit. I have done this a few times, and Boogie gets very reactive. We have to keep the other dogs out of his sight or he will bark at them the second he hears or sees them.

So here is my question: Is it reasonable to expect that at some point, Boogie should be able to visit other houses with dogs in them without reacting? Or is this a case where humans expect their dogs to be like people, thinking they will love "play dates" the way children would? Do any of you take your dogs to other people's homes who have dogs? Did your dogs take some time to adjust or did they run off and play with the other dogs right away?

My instinct tells me that forcing a dog into another dog's territory puts them in an uncomfortable situation, and I don't want to see Boogie lose any of the progress he has made.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 11:59 AM
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the best way is to meet on neutral ground through a gradual desensitization process. Once they make an initial greeting successfully they should be good later on their own territories. It's important for them to meet offleash in order to make this happen. Find a park where they can do this and it is important to keep each dog under threshold by adding distance very slowly. If you have trouble doing this, I would recommend seeking out a professional .
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-30-2016, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by davetgabby View Post
the best way is to meet on neutral ground through a gradual desensitization process. Once they make an initial greeting successfully they should be good later on their own territories. It's important for them to meet offleash in order to make this happen. Find a park where they can do this and it is important to keep each dog under threshold by adding distance very slowly. If you have trouble doing this, I would recommend seeking out a professional .
This is good advice, thank you!

If there is no nearby off-leash park, or the other dog doesn't have good recall off-leash, are there other options for introducing them? Can we take them on a walk together, or introduce them in a fenced backyard?
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-30-2016, 11:50 AM
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For what it is worth, what I have done twice is have an initial meetup at a nearby small park on leash for compatibility testing (size, energy level), then we have moved to fenced backyards for 20 minute playtimes scheduled for a different day It has worked fine both times.

I actively solicit small dog owners on our neighborhood listserv because all of the off-leash areas where I live are dominated by big dogs, and Cassie is still working on her recall...she thinks it is optional right now. I will probably never let her off leash in anything other than a fenced private yard.

This is not the kind of situation you initially described re wanting to be able to visit homes where the family has a dog...not exactly sure how I would handle that..but rather on a meetup on leash at a public neutral place followed up by playdate in one dogs home terriotry (fenced yard)
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