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Puppy to puppy meeting - Dog to dog greetings


There is a right way and a wrong way for canines to meet and greet each other.

Young puppies, on lead, will experience a positive meet and greet if the owner is aware and does not permit the puppy to rush, paw or pounce on the other puppy.

Whether it’s puppies greeting each other, or older canines, the meet and greet, MUST be controlled by the owner, who should be holding the lead. Small children do not have the understanding or the control for a successful meet and greet.

A young dog’s temperament can be changed in an instant, with one negative meet and greet.

Dog greetings serve to gather information.

Dogs are social animals, when your dog greets a familiar dog you’ll witness his body moving from side to side, maybe a bark, a happy reunion for both dogs.

Unfamiliar dogs will have an entirely different approach.

They will move toward each other in a calm and relaxed way, ( please be aware, if either dog has locked eyes, starring at each other, DO NOT approach) they will often approach from the side or along an arc, this is non-threatening, rather than head-on. Sniffing is a huge part of the process.They might touch noses first, then move their investigation to various body parts, especially the rear end. Males generally sniff the area under the tail first, while most females will seek to sniff the head first. 

Greeting dogs want to find out

     Are you a male or female?

     Are you Intact or altered?

     What is your scent?

     How old are you?

     Are you friend or foe?

If the greeting proceeds, they will be relaxed; their tails will have a flexible look about them.
Both dogs should not be afraid or anxious, they should be feeling comfortable with their interaction.

Owners can change the mood of this interaction between 2 unfamiliar dogs.
If one of the owners is concerned in any way, the dog will pick up on this apprehension, and begin to react.
Tightening up on the leash; insisting that the dogs work it out (this is an extremely dangerous practise); speaking in harsh or anxious tones; or punishing the dogs, are all negative behaviours from you.

Remain calm and in control.

Be aware
Don’t permit your dog to rush at or jump on the other dog, this is not only bad manners but can overwhelm or frighten the dog who’s being charged.
Body language from the dogs, may include a tail that is slowly twitching at the tip or stiff or tucked under the body.
Laying the head or paw over the top of another dog’s shoulders is very pushy negative behaviour.

Intense staring, goes beyond rude this is threatening.

Yelping or other high-pitched vocalisations should be addressed with a correction on the lead.

Leaping up and growling fall far outside the bounds of acceptable greeting behaviour.

If one dog sniffs but refuses to let the other dog sniff back, move away before the meet and greet gets out of hand.

Behaviour that is questionable, should see you move on. 

Conclusion:- Understanding canine body language is of great benefit when dogs and puppies meet and greet.


written by Lee Hettiger


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