Dog owners are well aware their four-legged companions can be extremely territorial. Even the sweetest, most laid back dog can lash out if they feel another dog or human is encroaching on their territory. If you’re traveling for the holidays and your host has a dog of their own, it’s important to understand how to handle the situation. Holidays are a special time to spend with loved ones and that includes your furry family members so they should feel comfortable as well.

Practice Basic Obedience

First and foremost, it’s important that your dog gets along with other dogs. That said, it’s essential to go back to the basics. Make sure you go through basic obedience commands and ensure your dog is used to them again. This will be invaluable in helping your dog behave around other dogs and the unfamiliar people who will be around as well.

Introduce in a Neutral Location

The biggest risk of a dog fight occurs when you bring a new dog around the one that already lives there. This is why it’s essential to first allow the animals to meet in a neutral location, such as a park. Taking a 20 to 30 minute walk with the dogs on a leash, while maintaining a safe distance, is a good way to gradually introduce them in a non-threatening manner. This also burns off some of their energy so they are more likely to be relaxed. This walk can help you identify if there are any warning signs, such as growling or tails up. It’s essential to make sure neither dog is showing signs of being dominant or submissive.

Create Structure

Once you feel confident the dogs will get along well together and aren’t showing signs of aggression, you can allow them to socialize in the home. However, it’s necessary to have structure as well. The dogs should lie comfortably around each other and avoid roughhousing. This behavior can quickly lead to a fight you may be unable to stop. Toys and treats should be put away so there’s no reason for the dogs to fight over anything. Feeding should also be done separately.

Bring the Crate

You may not want to crate your dog because it’s their holiday too, but it may become necessary if either dog shows signs of aggression. Therefore, if possible, bring your own crate along. Not only does this give you a place to safely put your dog, but it’s also a feeling of home that can help your pet feel more comfortable. Also remember to feed your dog in their crate and make it a happy place.

Always remember, dogs will show signs of their discomfort and dog fights rarely happen with no prior warning. Therefore, it’s essential to always keep an eye on your dog when it’s around the other dog so you can cut off the problem before it escalates.

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