The art of the meeting
The art of the dog meet and greet.
I spend a lot of time at off lead dog parks, as I am a Professional dog walker. And nothing makes me happier than seeing new dogs do the correct meeting signals as they approach our pack, and both groups get to know each other.
Today we met this young Labrador puppy dog at our local off lead dog park. The owners were not sure how their puppy was going to go in meeting the dog pack I was walking, but I could tell by the way that it approached that it was a curious puppy with no ill intent. In fact it (Abby) turned out to be very submissive at first, then as one of our pack increased the play imperative, Abby responded by playing more on an even level, not fully submissive.
I know that the other owner was at least getting as much out of the meeting as my pack were. The incredible thing for dog owners is that very few know that the 3-5 month of age period is critical for dogs to learn socialisation. There is only a short period between being given up by the mother, finishing injections and the end of the 5th or 6th month. If you dog misses this time learning how to interact with other dogs, they can be stilted socially (excessively timid or aggressive) for life.
Then of course there were all the dogs we didn’t see at the park. While we go a little later than peak hour, only a tiny fraction of dogs are walked daily off lead in the morning. Except nutrition (and meat based dog treats) the off lead morning walk for socialisation is the critical thing for Every dog. That is what keeps them fit, balanced, social, mentally active, so they can sleep when they get home and not be bored, dig and bark.
The image included in this dog blog post is of a puppy meeting two new dogs for the first time and them all checking out their scent. Getting to know each other, then play to challenge for who sits where in the newly formed pack. Done socially there is no danger of injury.