I meant to do this post on our experience with Dog-Dog Greetings a few months ago. This was a smaller seminar that was part of the 10 week lifestyles training class we did with Kona last fall. It was good to do this with Kona as we had confined him for several months while recovering from the plate being removed from his leg, and he’s been really hesitant around unfamiliar dogs regardless of size. Since we do go to dog shows where there are lots of other dogs we have been working on his confidence.
First off I would like to mention that I am sharing a part of our experience with dog-dog greetings. Please note that we had a trainer available to guide us through this, to observe and ensure that we had positive greetings. If you are reading this post and your dog is reactive please contact a trainer/behaviorist for help with your dog. Kona does lack confidence around unfamiliar dogs and we feel that it is important to build that confidence but in an appropriate way. I am not a behaviorist and there is not enough information in this post to guide someone through a proper greeting. Inappropriately matched or executed greetings can go sideways and result in hurt dogs or people.
We had learned at a prior canine communication seminar that a proper dog greeting should go from the muzzle, to the neck and then to the rear. To be able to execute this we needed to make sure we kept the dog’s leashes nice and loose and to keep the greetings as short as they needed to be so that they were positive experiences.
Not all the dogs were appropriate for Kona to greet. We looked for lower energy dogs and we had two types of positive greetings. Ones where Kona was relaxed and in neutral body position near the other dog, generally in cases where the other dog was considerably larger than him.
And with smaller dogs we had some great greetings with good progression from the muzzle onward. The photos were good to look at afterward in that we were able to see that we had the leash too tight on more greetings that we realized. Something that we need to keep in mind for future greetings to be successful.
Even though you can’t see either dog’s faces in the photo below, both dogs have a nice curved body position and this was a really nice calm greeting that we let go on for a couple of minutes.
CB and Kona do greet larger dogs on occasion as we don’t want them barking or reacting to larger dogs when we are on walks or at shows. We do not let them play with dogs that are inappropriately sized to them. As friendly and nice as a bigger dog may be, a larger dog even stepping on a dog CB and Kona’s size can cause an injury.