- Posted by Gilleen Witkowski
- On July 28, 2017
- 2 Comments
- common dog reactions, dog body language, dog psychology, dog-walking, dogs, pet care, pet sitting, safety, Toronto
When we welcome a new doggy client, someone from our company has already met the dog when their owner was home. But meeting them again when mom/dad/caregiver aren’t home is another story. That’s when we encounter one of the five most common reactions when we enter a dog’s home.
If you are visiting a new dog in their home, keep these common reactions in mind. Remember: try to get an idea of the dog’s comfort zones from their owner before you meet them and give them time to get to know and trust you.
1. Happy greeting at the door or crate, tail wagging
In this case the dog comes up to you with loose, relaxed body language or is happily waiting for you in the crate with tail wagging enthusiastically. They want to sniff you and be pet by you. Their butt is probably wiggling a lot.
2. Barking, tail wagging
This is the face Remy gives you when you walk into his home, even if he doesn’t know who you are. Dogs like Remy bark loudly to make a point – whether that point is to say how excited they are or to show that they are the protector of the home and can sound the alarm if needed. But his tail is wagging and he soon tries to rub against you, asking for pets. In this situation, let the dog chill for a bit before fully entering, and see if the barking will quiet down while you move forward slowly or offer a treat.
3. Unsure, nervous body language, and 4. Warning barking
I lumped these two together because it can be hard to tell if a dog is alert, anxious, threatened, or angry. When we see tense body language, we give the dog space (we don’t force eye contact, touching, or going out on walks). For our safety and theirs, we take our time to get to know a dog until they trust us – that can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few sessions on different days.
5. Quiet, sleepy, indifferent
Sometimes anxiety (think a new rescue), older age, or just not wanting to go outside due to weather or something good on TV means that a dog will greet us quietly and not want to move. They may be receptive to our petting, but show no signs of getting up. In this case we hang out with them inside so they get some socialization, sometimes giving them space to see if we can get them intrigued by what we’re up to, or help them up if they are open to it.
We hope that these tidbits about dog body language and common reactions are useful the next time you meet a dog in their home!
Walk My Dog Toronto offers dog walking services and in-home pet care services in downtown Toronto. With easy online booking, we walk your dog while you are busy or at work. We give your dog love, socialization, and exercise, and we keep in touch with you every step of the way with our walk tracker.