Lucy loves our daily walks. She is fascinated by what she sees and smells especially if another dog is involved. That’s the best. (“Another dog? Yippee!”) I’ve discovered that on the leash, Lucy is friendly and submissive, albeit a bit jumpy, but that’s the Black Lab/ Border Collie in her. Her body language says, “Let’s get to know each other,” with ears all floppy and tail all wagging. Off the leash is another story. (Have I mentioned her herding tendencies?)
Whenever we approach a dog and his/her owner, I ask, “Is your dog friendly?” Usually, the answer is yes, the dogs greet each other and we’re on our way. But, the other day, when I asked an approaching man walking three small, hound-type dogs, I got an emphatic, “NO!!” No problem. He stayed on his side of the road and I stayed on mine. His three dogs growled, snarled, and strained at their leashes as we passed for good measure.
I explained to Lucy that not everyone is as open and friendly as she is (she understood, trust me). And it got me thinking…
Is a dog’s ability to greet other dogs a reflection of his/her owner?
I wondered what made the three hound dogs unfriendly and aggressive. Maybe they’re guard dogs. Then I thought about my friend’s dog who was injured by another dog at a dog park. My friend’s dog is nervous but not aggressive. We have met other aggressive dogs and Lucy’s body language says it all—tail between the legs, slightly hunched back and ears all flat on the head.
Some dogs are shy, sadly some have a rough start to life and some may have behavior issues. Lucy is my first dog so I’m learning as I go. But we had never met a person who so emphatically said, “NO!!” when we asked the question.
It’s certainly the man’s prerogative to have whatever kind of dogs he wants. And he has no obligation to stop and say hi if he doesn’t want to. I don’t know what his dogs say about him or themselves. And I don’t know what Lucy says about me.
But, hon, I do know what her ability to greet other dogs says about her.