Why is the parallel leash walk introduction a safe way to have two dogs meet?
A parallel leash walk introduction is a one of the safest ways to introduce two dogs because it reduces the chances for direct interaction, aggression and fighting. During a parallel leash walk, two handlers retain complete control of the dogs on separate leashes. The dogs remain a few feet away from each other at all times, walking side-by-side. During the walk, the walkers should alternate having one dog go ahead of the other dog, and then switching to even out the playing field.
This manner of introduction promotes stability and calm amongst the two dogs because the parallel leash walk should be done in a neutral territory under very controlled guidance. The situation takes away the dog’s instincts to be territorial or show dominance. The dogs learn to walk naturally with another dog without worrying about face-to-face, direct contact.
At the end of the parallel leash walk, if the dogs have behaved well and seem calm and attentive, the handlers can allow the dogs to briefly meet with contact. The dogs will be allow to sniff each other for a moment before the handler regains control of the dog and guides him away. Several attempts at this type of introduction can be made before dogs are fully allowed to greet and sniff each other.