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Common Canine Greetings – What To Watch For

Posted in Blog

Oh how lovely it would be if our canine companions could talk. If dogs could talk we would never wonder what exactly it is that they are trying to tell us, and we’d find out why the mail man is such a nuisance. However, that isn’t the case, and for now we’ll just attempt to decipher what they mean (they’re pretty good at telling us). Despite not knowing exactly  what your dog is “saying” it is still important to know common dog greetings and behaviors so that you know when something might be wrong. For dogs, body language is more important than verbal communication, so although it may be confusing at first, it is still good to know the basics of a dog’s body language. No need to worry though, we here at Hope Lock Kennels have got your back! We’ve compiled a list of the most common dog greetings/behaviors just for you!

Dog to Dog Greetings:

Dog to Dog greetings (when they go well) generally are very calm. Dogs usually will sniff each other either nose to nose, or they might go for the other dog’s back end. This is completely normal and even polite behavior though, so no need to worry! even states that  dogs generally approach each other at an arc or from the side rather than head on, as approaching head on is a sign of aggression or dominance. Direct eye contact is something else to be wary of when it comes to dog greetings. It is another sign of dominance, which in an initial meeting is something that you don’t generally want to see. Signs that your dog is stressed is frequent yawning, nose-licking, or shaking. These are things that you want to be aware of because they show you if your dog is uncomfortable. In order to keep you and your dog safe, Thriving Canine suggests to only let greetings last 3 seconds.

Dog to Human Greetings:

When observing dog to human greetings, things tend to be much simpler. Many people can tell if a dog is scared or nervous. Their tail is tucked, neck tense, ears back, and eyes are downcast. Dogs are rather easy creatures to read if you know what to look for. If  a dog is aggressive, they will stand with their shoulders squared and their neck tense. They will also generally show teeth or growl. Now enough of all that negative talk, lets get down to the positive greetings. When a dog greets you by stretching, it means that they are happy to see you and that they are welcoming you back. Dogs generally jump up as well when they are happy to see you. When dogs are really happy, you’ll notice that their bodies wiggle like a worm! It seems like their head goes one direction and their butt goes another, and it’s quite amusing to watch.


Works Cited:

“A Guide to Dog-to-Dog Greetings.” The Bark, 17 Aug. 2018,
Bydogtime, and Dogtime. “Dog Greetings: What’s Really Going On.” Dogtime, 7 Aug. 2015,
“Letting Dogs Meet: The Three Second Rule.” Thriving Canine, 2 Feb. 2016,
Luck, Laurie. “On Leash Dog Greetings: Yes or No?” Smart Dog University, 15 May 2018,
Staff, Rover. “An Illustrated Guide to Dog Behavior.” The Dog People by, 21 Mar. 2019,

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