Seeing dogs running around with each other, interacting in play, being happy, being social, well balanced and well mannered looks and feels wonderful.
It is no doubt every dog owner's dream to have a companion like that, but sadly this is not always possible.
In many cases this might not be possible because some dogs are just not into interaction and play, and no amount of socialisation will ever change this. Like humans they can be happy to be alone in their world.
Of course there can also be underlying mental and physical issues, but that is a very different ball game altogether, and not something I can even attempt to address in a short post.
I do dog and people watching when out on my travels, it is just something I do, I watch their interactions, or in fact the lack of it, and at times watch in dismay how some dog owners let their companions meet other dogs.
How would it be if strangers meet one another for the first time, and one comes running towards the other with open arms, waving them about, and proceed to wrap them intimately around the other, and to top it all up give them slobbery kisses all over their faces and let their hands wander all over them . ??
Hmm .. let me guess, I am sure the one on the receiving end would not be impressed and would more than likely slap this strange lunatic!
Well , I most definitely would.
We all know the rules of meeting other people because they have been taught to us by our parents, guardians, teachers and it is part of our culture.
The same goes for dogs, there are certain rules and manners which should really be followed, it is something dog guardians have to teach and encourage. So it is not all about sit, stay, lie down ect., but first and foremost it is about good manners.
Behaviour is instinctual as well as innate, but a huge amount of behaviour display has to do with nurture.
So I feel that I want to encourage dog owners to take the lead when meeting other strange or unfamiliar dogs; the introduction should be slow, making sure to watch both dogs body language at all times.
Ask the other dog walker if it would be ok to meet, keep the dogs on the lead, stay 2 to 3 meters apart and let the dogs settle while having a chat with the other person for a few minutes. Never let the dogs pull towards each other, and do not let them take the lead. It is the guardians job to keep their companion safe by giving him the opportunity to make his own mind up if he wants to make friends.
By then the dogs are able to use their sensitive noses to be able to make a picture of each other.
Then there should be the usual behaviour, namely standing side on, sniffing eachothers backends, and then .. and only then, when the dogs are sure of each other, would they consider sniffing each others faces.
This is what is called ` Canine Etiquette` If all is well then they will engage in play.