How Dogs Meet

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Where Dog Meetings Take Place

Most confrontations occur when dogs are introduced on one or other dog’s home turf (territory). For a dog, territory is not simply what is defined in the owner’s plot plan but rather extends up and down neighboring streets, especially anywhere the dog urine marks, and includes the owner’s car. For the best chance of success when attempting to familiarize strange dogs is to introduce them away from either dog’s territory and under pleasant circumstances. Later, once they have had a chance to interact and have shown that they can get along together, they can be brought back to one or the other dog’s home.

Owner Influence on Dog Meetings

If a dog trusts his owner to look after him, he will be less aggressive with other dogs and will be more likely to respond peacefully to potentially provocative encounters with other dogs. It’s as if the dog knows that his owner will protect him, and he gains confidence from that fact. Many owners misunderstand their dog’s aggressiveness to other dogs as signaling its protectiveness of them whereas, in fact, the dog is more likely protecting itself, believing his owner to be incompetent in this respect.

Dogs are social animals and, as such, normally enjoy the company of other dogs. In order to get to know other dogs, of course, they first must meet them and then appreciate them … or not. Just because dogs are social creatures does not mean they will therefore enjoy the company of all other dogs they meet. Barring occasional posturing that goes on during some encounters, there is usually little to be concerned about when dogs meet. The only serious problems come when unsure dogs of near equal dominance status meet or when unwelcome meetings are forced on a dysfunctional, anti-social dog. To avoid such catastrophic meetings, it is important to know your dog, his strengths and weakness, to control the moment, and, above all, to be his strong and trustworthy leader.

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