5 Tips and 3 Seconds to Good Dog Greetings
If you have a dog , you have no doubt had a time when your dog had to meet another dog they did not know – on or off leash.
Here are a few key tips to help you manage those sometimes butt-sniffingly awkward moments:
1. Because your dog is great with other dogs, do not expect all other dos to get along with yours – the chemistry may not be right!
2. Always ask the other caregiver for permission to make an introduction. Watch out for yellow ribbons on the other dog’s leash or collar – that is generally a sign that the other dog’s caregiver wants them not to meet for medical, behavioural or other reasons. Dog walkers, for example, may be concerned with liability. For more on yellow ribbons as warnings, check out www.theyellowdogproject.com)
3. When you are calm and comfortable, make sure that you approach with a loose leash. If the leashes start to tangle as the dogs circle, drop your leash and then pick it up from the ground.
4. If you are meeting a new person, if your handshake lasts for over three seconds they may start to think you are a creepy cling-on. Three seconds is also the maximum time an initial dog-dog greeting could be expected to last without one dog getting grumpy and starting to give “get away, you creep” signals (from stiffness to growls or bites). Count 1-thousand-and-1, 1-thousand-and-2 and then get your dog’s attention and walk away as you count 1-thousand-and-3. Of course, if there is growling or rudeness (jumping on the other dog or barking) then walk away immediately. Do not let a problem get worse.
5. If the other dog comes in straight towards your dog with a hard-eyed stare, just turn away and don’t let the meeting happen. Watch the tail – if either dog has a stiff tail, tucked tail or if the very tip of the stiff tail is wagging to the left, then bail on the greeting. That means too much tension is present for thing to go well. You are looking for a relaxed, curvy posture with loose wagging tails, loose ears and relaxed mouths.
If the initial greeting went well and you are walking away after the 3 second mark, invite the other dog and caregiver to walk with you. Usually any significant issues between two dogs are best worked out when walking as a pack in distracting surroundings.