The whole package
Walking down the streets of Greenwich, CT we encountered two very friendly dogs. One was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the other a Springer. Both dogs saw us; us being Luke, Elsa and myself. They lowered their body posture and wagged furiously with their tails at half mast; they wanted an interaction. I glanced up to see the humans attached to the end of the leashes; who gave off nothing friendly or interested looking in having interaction. In fact they radiated a very strong, not interested vibe. Luke and Elsa stopped very briefly to say hi as I took the signal from the owners. They were not concerned with the obvious eagerness of their canines for a social interaction. It was in fact as though their dogs and we were invisible. A whatever moment.
Every dog is different; every person is different so when you put the two together you will come up with a vast range of social teams. Approaching a canine/human team is always interesting. Like the women in the streets of CT, there are those humans who have no desire once so ever to interact even when their dog is dying to say hi. The range goes from these types all the way to people who are dying for an interaction with an extremely fearful dog who wants nothing to do with any human or dog. Their desire to interact goes against everything their dog wants and they react only from their own desire.
There are those who will walk right up to you for a greeting; knowing full well that their dog is not dog friendly. Much like the woman with the doxie who approached Elsa and I about a week ago. I don't know how many times I have had to veer off of the path to get some distance from a human/canine team that is not in sync. Typical an imbalance of awareness falls on the human team member. People just don't pay attention. They don't consider their dog's behavior before acting. We have passed by puppies who would have benefit hugely from an interaction but the human doesn't consider this. They walk past, not seizing the moment and lose out on a good interaction.
Positive canine interactions are always good. Nothing bad comes from a good interaction. The more good interactions your dog has with other dogs the less impact the bad ones leave. That means you must read and read quickly before interacting. Often when we are out on a walk we are directly approached by a team and after speed reading an assessment we step off the path, giving us some much needed space. My attention to detail as far as the other canine/human team gives me the information needed to make a proper analysis. Sometimes it is the dogs behavior; sometimes the human's, that gives me pause.
There is a canine/human team that we regularly run into. The dog is an over exuberant large brown Labrador; the owner is an older oblivious woman with no control. She indulges her boy to the extent of allowing hugely rude behaviors. Luke is not fond of Labs to start with; he has learned that many are over the type rambunctious types. So I typically get space when we approach Labs. When we see this team coming we get a lot of space. She walks her dog on an extension leash and does not reeling in once so ever. So at 15' we usually cross to the other side of the park and move on quickly to avoid her and her dog. As nice as he is it is not going to end well due to the woman's inability to control her dog.
I am always talking about reading dog behavior; it is essential if you truly want to understand your dog. But it is not just your dog or the dog species entirely that needs reading. When we head out into the world together we are a canine/human team; and as such we must monitor other dogs and their humans. Even humans without dogs must be read; many have no idea how to interact with dogs. Many do everything completely wrong, having never been educated about canine/human interactions. It is an interesting thing indeed when you head out into the world with your dog. The very old saying "the more people I meet the better I like my dog," is as they say...classic.