Dog to dog interactions on walks

Written by Naomi White

People seem to be dangerously unaware of dog-dog interactions and what their dogs are actually trying to communicate. Having an understanding of your dogs’ body language, behaviour and social needs will enable you to avoid potentially dangerous or negative situations.

Unfortunately, many people don’t take the time to consider these things and their dogs end up exposed to all manner of stressful or risky interactions.

We aren’t expected to enthusiastically greet every person we meet, imagine the stress that would cause to us, especially if it happened all day, every day! Yet, we often expect this type of interaction from our dogs and seem almost surprised if someone else says their dog doesn’t want to say hello.

How many times have you been walking in the park and had another dog come barrelling over to your dog, perhaps this results in a game, maybe your dog gets chased across the park, or maybe your dog reacts in some way … growling, barking, lunging, snapping…? Have you ever considered the possibility that for months, or even years, your dog has been trying to communicate that he actually doesn’t appreciate this sort of greeting?

We need to be asking our dogs if they even want to interact with another dog (and make sure the other dog is equally okay with it!). If they decline, respect their choice, then move on and no harm will be done.