A great greeting
Yesterday morning I had Jessie out for her walk; I took her alone because she had missed out the day before. As we made our way around the park I saw a friend of mine; she had one of her two dogs with her, the young one. Now; Jessie is well known around the dog world as............ let's just say not a social butterfly. I have discussed how I go to great lengths to avoid other dogs and keep Jessie from being retaliated on. But today as my friend and her dog grew nearer I thought this might just work. Although her dog is very young and very energetic she is very submissive and has excellent communication skills.
They grew closer and closer; I can't say anything to Jessie, she can't hear me unless I yell. So I gave her a heads up; with the smallest amount of tension in the leash I let her know that I was paying attention. And then I let it go slack but without any extra leash; just in case. The young dog started lowering her body posture about 3 feet from where Jessie stood; she also urinated just a couple of drops. Anyone who understands dog language could clearly see the interaction here. Jessie was standing tall; head up, tail up, no mistaking her dominance. The young dog literally towered over Jessie and probably out weighed her by a good 35lbs. Jessie stands 12.5" at the shoulder and this young gal is probably at least 24".
Even with Jessie's vision and hearing almost gone; she can still get her message across and somehow understood this young dogs communications. Jessie never growled; her hair did not go up, it was clear to her that this much younger dog understood who was boss. When everyone is clear on who is the supreme reigning Queen then huffing and puffing and putting on a display is simply a waste of time; Jessie knew this. Jessie is a very confident dog; so much so that I have had to save her from herself several times as she tried to tell a very dominant large dog that she was more dominant. It didn't go over well.
As far as the humans go; staying out of it is often very important for a good interaction. And that means leash tension as well as touching. If Luke is greeting a strange dog I make good and sure that there is no tension at all on his leash. The first sign of tension puts Luke on guard and he is likely to react to it with a dominant or aggressive display. When you allow a greeting interaction between dogs it is important to try not to pull your dog away by the leash. This act itself can cause an aggressive response. If you can teach your dog to listen to you under distractions; you will have a better outcome by simply calling your dog out of a dog/dog interaction.
Once we had a wonderful and very positive greeting behind us; the young dog started to bounce around with excitemeny. Jessie is not a fan of young bouncy pups so we made our exit. She stood and watched the young dog for a moment or two and then we went on our way. I was very impressed with my old cranky gal and very much so with the young dog. And of course I enjoyed every second of the interaction; dog communication at it's finest.