We all want our misfit families of multiple animals to be friends with one another like one would be with their siblings. While human and different animal relationships are easy enough to create, cross-species friendships can sometimes be a bit trickier to produce.
Introducing your canine pet to an exotic pet, including lizards or snakes, is a decision not to take lightly.
Safety should be your top priority when introducing any sort of animal to another.
1. Consider the Type of Reptile First
Everything Reptiles say you should start by taking a look into the nature and behavior of the reptile you want to introduce to your dog.
This is a key when deciding if it is a good idea for them to meet.
Snakes in general, for example the Ball Python, are very skittish in nature, making them more likely to strike in fear.
The same goes for small lizards but instead of attacking, their little legs will help them run away as fast as possible.
Larger reptiles like the Green Iguana and Bearded Dragons are confident enough to stand their ground for a bit before running away or attacking.
2. Consider the Personality of the Dog
You know your pup as well as any parent would know their child so you should take a look at your canine’s personality before meeting an animal that is practically an alien to them. A good way to judge how your dog will do with an exotic animal is to watch them play with smaller dogs.
If they are all paws, tapping and punching their way around the dog park, your dog wouldn’t be a good fit to be introduced to a reptile as they will react the same. Terrier breeds are also not a good idea to introduce to an exotic animal as they were bred to hunt down and kill pest-like animals.
3. Trip to the Pet Store
If you think that your dog would be okay around a smaller animal, try taking them to the local pet store to walk down the reptile aisle.
Let your pooch investigate the glass and point out the reptiles before getting their attention with something more interesting like a toy or treats.
While in the aisle, practice attention commands with your dog. Doing this sets the precedent with the dog that they should give their owner their attention despite the distractions of an exotic animal.
4. Smells are Important
Smells are very important to our pet canines and giving yours the opportunity to know a new animal through their scent is the best way to make introductions easier. If you have access to a reptile or own one already, let your dog sniff your hands after handling the reptile. However, do not allow them to lick your hands due to reptiles being carriers of salmonella.
5. Meet with a Barrier
Meeting with a barrier is the safest way for a dog and a reptile to meet for the first time without the fear of something going wrong.
Putting a closed door or window screen between them is the best way for them to hear, smell, and see each other.
Doing this a couple times over a few days lets both animals get used to each other in those respects. Continue doing attention commands with your canine so they continue to understand they should listen to you over the lure of a new animal.
6. Face to Face
Have a second person with you when you finally decide to let your dog and reptile finally meet. Each animal goes to the person who is most comfortable handling them as you don’t know how either animal will ultimately react.
Keep the face to face meetings very short and infrequent as you don’t want to stress out the small reptilian heart.
7. Prepare for the Worst
Some animals just don’t integrate well and you have to be prepared for that reality. Try not to push the animals into doing things they don’t want to do as they will act on instinct and might hurt themselves, the other animal, or even you.