Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hello There!

Ok, this week's post is going to be pretty short but sweet for three reasons:

-I found it already written out perfectly by someone else and there's no need for me to just re-write what has already been said.
-It seems like this is all I've been working with lately- dogs who are fearful or shy and stubborn strangers who think they will be the dog's best friend.
-I am super busy the rest of the week and this is honestly all I have time for. I promise I'll post something of my own next week.

Roxie tolerates hugs from Ethan, but she'd rather be chasing a bird and stealing his snacks. 

The diagrams are especially useful here in demonstrating how rude we really are to dogs at times. As canines, dogs are inherently not as comfortable with the types of greetings we as humans use. They have learned that we are not meaning to be threatening when we hug them or lean over and pat their head. It's still weird and it's even more weird when a stranger does it.
For a dog, a normal greeting means approaching at an angle (about 45 degrees or so) so that you aren't charging head on at them- this would be a threat. Avoiding direct eye contact when meeting someone for the first time is a very safe habit in the dog world- why start a fight right away?
Sniffing is the other important part. We people talk and exchange pleasantries when we meet ("where are you from?" "What do you do?", etc). Dogs can skip the small talk and smell to find out that and so much more (who they are, where they are from , where they went today, what they had for lunch, if they live with another dog or a cat, etc.). This is why it is important to allow a dog to sniff you (not force them to sniff) to gain some understanding of who you are.

Oscar does love a good ear rub from his buddy, Matt. His body is relaxed and he is leaning into his friend. 

As you can see from the date on Dr. Yin's post below, this is not terribly novel information, but I can tell you and my clients can tell you- it's important information to know.

Have you and your dog experienced a rude greeting?

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