Watching a canine interaction from afar gives you a great deal of knowledge.
Do you want your dog interacting with every single dog that passes by? Nope. But it is up to us to control each individual situation. Sitting at the beach on the weekend I watched a woman with an adult female Rhodesian Ridgeback approach another woman with a young male Labrador Retriever. They were both friendly but, the woman with the Ridgeback was not in control of her dog. She had her dog on an extension leash (which should be outlawed) and was allowing her dog to hog tie the younger dog. You could tell that the young male was friendly but apprehensive. Being on leash changes everything; getting tangled up in each others leash can turn good into bad very quickly.
I could see that the woman with the Lab was getting angry. She tried to pull her boy away but the woman with the Ridgeback continued to allow her dog to pass the other and create a tangled mess. Finally the woman with the Lab asked her to rein in and move away which the other woman did and the Lab lady thanked her. I had the information that I needed; we were not talking to the Ridgeback lady. The last thing I needed was Elsa being tangled up in another strange dog's leash. So we let her pass by and waited for the little man to come by.
I called out to her "how old?" Which she replied "six months." Nice, young dogs are great for meet and greets, that is if your dog likes the craziness that can come with puppies. Elsa happens to enjoy young dogs. So I got up and asked if Elsa could say hello? She very appropriately asked if Elsa was friendly which I then explained "if the other dog is friendly she is." So we allowed the two to say hello.
Leash greetings take a great deal of strategy, even with friendly dogs. It is always best to have dogs off leash but if you cannot then you must take great care. You want a lose leash but you don't want leashes becoming tangled or crossing over the other.
The owner of the male Labrador explained that her boy had been bitten in the face at his training boot camp and was now leery. Then I explained that Elsa had been attacked by a bulldog nd chases twice by a big Bouvier which had left a huge impact on her behavior. We talked a long while about dog parks, inconsiderate and oblivious people like the woman with the Ridgeback. Both Elsa and the other dog were fine with each other but for some reason were not interested in play or further contact. So respecting our dog's we chatted with each dog by our side. Had they been off leash, things probably would have been very different.
Holding Elsa back, waiting for the "okay" from the other owner.
They sniffed each other, had a very friendly greeting and they were done. The young male was done with the greeting but was reaching out as he could smell the treats in my pouch. Elsa is clearly done with this guy. Respect that.
A day at the beach has turned into a new book. I've just started writing it so it will be a while, but stay tuned. :)