Today we are pleased to answer a question that arrived on our facebook page and we decided to do it publicly because the topic is interesting.
One of our readers asks us if her little dog, Laica, will get along well with “a friend” that she hasn’t seen for several months, but with whom she has played without limits as a puppy.
“NEW” AND OLD ENCOUNTERS
First of all, let’s make it clear at once that it is true that dogs can be recognized even after a prolonged absence, but this does not mean that they have to play and have fun as they did in the past.
They may prefer to quarrel this time, and one should not underestimate the issue in order not to ruin a relationship.
Of course, it is absolutely possible that even after a year, the two get along perfectly without any problem, but this happens especially in well socialized dogs that would still get along with anyone (even in a dog area).
In some cases, however, care should be taken. Two dogs that you see on a daily basis do not have much to discuss. They have more or less always the same smell, habits and ways of acting.
We could say that they know each other by heart, and as we know the routine is quite reassuring for a dog.
If, on the contrary, they haven’t seen each other for a long time, many things may have changed. One (or both) may have passed into adulthood, and the relationship will need to be re-calibrated.
The experiences that each individual has had may have led him or her to change the way he or she acts, and consequently his or her response to interactions with his or her peers. Just to give an example: a trauma or illness may leave him with little desire to run wild as before.
What would happen if the other dog continued to want to interact in the same way, ignoring a “leave me alone” signal? The misunderstanding is just around the corner.
Let’s not forget that adolescence can bring great confusion in the mind and behavior of the dog. Usually this phase occurs from the age of 6 months, but it can also reach the age of one year.
The hormonal change that will make it an adult dog varies depending on the breed and size of the dog, with significant differences.
If two puppies are thinking of nothing else but playing, two adult dogs (especially if not sterilized/castriated) have a lot of other thoughts on their minds. Hormonal change leads to a change in the way they see things and consequently a possible mistrust of their same-sex peers.
The solution in these cases is to treat a meeting with an old friend as if he were an unknown dog.
It is advisable to let the dogs meet in a neutral field at first, to avoid any risk of aggressiveness linked to the defence of the territory or the resources of one of the two.
Taking a walk together, at first on a leash, can help them take some tension off the air. Warning: this does not mean standing still in one place with the leashes stretched and the dogs pulling to get closer. This would only increase the tension between the two.
It is preferable to walk in the same direction and observe the reactions of the two. In the absence of warning or challenge signals, always in neutral territory, you can take off the leashes to let them interact freely.
These rules are practically indispensable when the dogs in question are of the same sex. If the sexes are opposite, however, everything should run smoothly, but caution is never too much.