Greeting dogs. Friendly or not?
As I stood outside the shop, I noticed a standard poodle. I walked over slowly and asked "is she friendly?" The woman on the other end of the leash said "oh yes". Not one for taking anyone's word, even about their own dog I stood and talked to the woman and watched the dog. She glanced over her shoulder at me, very quickly and without any desire to further the greeting. She was panting and uncomfortable. There was no way that I was going to push a greeting on the dog; she wanted nothing to do with it.
Continuing a discussion with the woman; I discovered that the dog was a rescue. She was rescued from a mill situation as a puppy, placed and then re-homed as a an adult. I like to hear about other people and their dogs but it means nothing to what is in front of me. I read the facts in the moment. The past makes no difference, it is the here and now that we deal with. Yes the past may give us the why but we must deal with present.
If a dog doesn't show a desire to greet with relaxed and willing body language then don't. Even if the owner tells you that the dog is friendly, read first. Many owners think that just because they think that their dog won't bite you means that they want to say "hi." So as I stood talking to the woman on the end of the leash about poodles I just watched the dog. A person came out of the store and reached out to say hi, and I watched. The dog pulled back and averted their eye contact left and right. Nope she wanted nothing to do with any strangers.
So does this mean that she was unfriendly? No, it just means that she doesn't want to say hi and be touched by strangers. She didn't look like she would bite at all; but she did give obvious messages as to how she felt.
Don't push. Why do we push our dogs into doing things that they clearly do not want to? Do we want to say "hi" and shake every stranger's hand who walks by us? No. This dog was fine just being in public; albeit a little nervous of the situation. She was doing pretty darned good in my opinion. Pushing too hard very often backfires.
Let's let our dogs be who they are. It is our job to assist, education and be their support system. If they don't want to say hi to people then why push the issue?