Allow Them to Introduce Themselves

The best introductions are made either on a loose lead, such as a long line, or off-leash: dogs need space to check each other out and communicate in their own private language. Human tensions and interference will confuse them and may skew their reactions. Consider taking the dogs to a field or a park to meet. Although tensions may arise initially, when left to their own devices they will work it out.

When dogs greet

• They approach one another from the side;

• They often circle, sometimes with the hair on their backs raised, to determine who will be in charge;

• They may flash their teeth, snarl, or jump on each other; all signs of normal interactions in their attempts to get along.

When they've finished with the initial introduction, you may notice that they lower themselves into a submissive posture to play, grab a stick or a toy, or begin sniffing and marking the surrounding location.

Puppies are a special case. Puppies up to six months of age don't act like other dogs and are nurtured and forgiven for many "bad" behaviors for which an older dog would be corrected, such as stealing a toy or biting. They often approach straight on, in a lowered, submissive posture. Piddling is a sign of respect. If a dog has not been socialized well with puppies, she may consider their chaotic behavior threatening and attack or avoid them.

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