Meet and Greets: Don’t Force Your Dog Into An Arranged Marriage

 In Dogs

Why are meet and greets so essential?

If you follow our Facebook Page, you’ve presumably seen our dog posts. We write a short biography on each dog to give potential adopters an idea of an individual dog’s personality. You’ve also probably read numerous times that a dog “has potential with other dogs, though a meet and greet with your current dog(s) prior to adopting is highly recommended.” We feel like we write that over and over! But at a lot of shelters a meet and greet is not required to adopt, so we can’t force people to do it. However, if the option is there we would think every potential adopter would want to take advantage of it.

Why wouldn’t someone want their dog to meet their potential new dog before bringing them home? Well, a lot of humans seem to think that dogs are different from us in that dogs should love everyone and everything and never dislike a person or dog they meet. While this might be the case for some dogs, it shouldn’t be assumed for all dogs. Just like humans don’t like every person they meet, dogs should not be expected to like every dog they meet. Certain personalities just don’t mesh. So when you hear that a dog up for adoption is good with other dogs, that shouldn’t make you think that a meet and greet is not necessary. 

Potential adopters also should not think- “Ooooohh this dog is so sweet, no way she couldn’t like other dogs!” There are tons of dogs out there in the world that are loving, friendly, and cuddly until another dog comes around and suddenly they’re foaming at the mouth! We’ve met a lot of sweethearts during our time working in animal welfare, and this happens a lot. People friendly does not equal dog friendly. What can we say, lots of dogs want all the love for themselves 😉

Having a meet and greet is just the smart way to do things, not only for the dog but for you as well! If you realize that the dogs don’t get along prior to paying the adoption fee, you can move on right away and continue your search for the right companion for you AND your dog.

Dog greetings are typically done by a staff member. Our team of behavioral trainers can also be requested when you are adopting from Summit County Animal Control. An inexperienced person introducing two dogs can, and often times does, have very different results than when done by a professional. Just like with people, first impressions matter a lot! Setting two dogs up for success on their first meeting will strengthen their relationship further down the road.

Additionally, dogs are more likely to do well on their first meeting when it’s done on neutral territory. That way no dog is trying to protect what’s theirs from a dog they don’t know. The perfect, most convenient place to do this is right there at the shelter.

Still not convinced? Let’s talk about the consequences if it doesn’t work out.

Think of adopting without doing a meet and greet as arranged marriages. You’re planning on the two dogs loving each other without ever taking their opinions into consideration, because it benefits you. You want another dog, they’ll have to get along. And we hope they do for the sake of everyone’s happiness! But let’s say the “marriage” ends in divorce. Even though both dogs like other dogs, they just don’t like each other and are fighting all the time. The people who set this union up without introducing the two beforehand should be the ones held responsible, but it’s the divorcés that end up suffering the most heartache and disappointment.


Your very loved first dog has just gone through unnecessary stress and upset. Their lifestyle changed, and it’s possible they don’t instantly switch back to their old selves once the second dog is returned. Oh yeah… and that second dog, who is not at fault, will most likely be labeled as needing to be the only dog in a home, which makes him harder to place. And let’s not forget all the stress he just endured! He ended up at a shelter (stressful), was taken to a home (again stressful), introduced to a dog possibly improperly (even more stressful), they didn’t get along (really stressful), and then he ends up back at the shelter (REALLY REALLY stressful). 

So it’s not good for the dogs. Now let’s talk about how it’s not good for you.

It’s costly. Odds are you won’t get your adoption fee back and you might not be able to return the used supplies you got for the new dog. If you decide to do what’s right and try your best to make this new union work- that will require a trainer. Though it’s what we recommend, it can get expensive. More importantly not only is it a costly mistake, but when a person has a bad experience with rescuing, they get turned off by the idea entirely. Yet, there’s no reason that every adoption can’t be a success when people are working together to find the right fit for each dog and each family. We want successes not failures. And bottom line, your adoption is more likely to be successful when you do a meet and greet prior to adoption. 

You wouldn’t adopt a dog without meeting them right? We shouldn’t force that on our beloved dogs either.

Please note: We understand there have been adopters who have done the meet and greet and everything went great at the shelter but when they get home, the dogs started fighting. Meet and greets aren’t guarantees but they without a doubt more times than not, give you a good idea. Also realize that dogs go through adjustment periods. Introducing a dog to a whole new life is stressful for the dog, even though you’ve saved them. It might not be perfect right away even if you did everything the proper way. It can take a dog anywhere from a few weeks to a several months to fully adjust to a new home. Please don’t give up on them too soon! Be patient and understanding. No human is perfect and the same goes for doggies. But as pet parents we are supposed to love our furbabies unconditionally, faults and all! However sometimes they need our assistance to help them become the best doggie they can be! If you’re having any issues with your dog, please consider calling one of the trainers listed below:

All are highly recommended, and work with Pay It Forward For Pets directly.

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