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Canine communication (or dogs are really weird)

Last night Buddy and I were first to arrive at the training class, and were sitting there patiently,minding our own business, when a chocolate Labrador burst through the door, and barrelled over to say hello. I always think that being so sturdily built, it's as well that Labs are such a thoroughly friendly breed, but I reckon one at full tilt could still do you some damage! So the chocolate Lab reached us, and hurled himself over onto his back, at which point Buddy approached to check him out with a thorough sniffing.
Just as Buddy approached, the chocolate Lab did a spray of wee - right up poor Bud's nose! Buddy leapt back and shook his head in surprise. Within seconds though, they were both on their feet sniffing and licking each other.

Now the funny thing is that the behaviour of the chocolate Lab was what is called an "appeasement" signal. He was supposedly showing Buddy that he wasn't a threat, was friendly, and acknowledged Buddy was his superior. Now call me eccentric if you like, but if someone treated me in that way it would not "appease" me at all. In fact I'm pretty sure it would have exactly the opposite effect on me. I would probably have never been so entirely unappeased.

But that's dogs for you. Buddy and Milo (that's what the chocolate Lab was called) were soon the very best of friends. As I watched them circling and play bowing, licking and both demonstrating energetic but thoroughly passive body language, a strong similarity about them struck me. It turns out that Milo is from the same breeder as Buddy. I'm not sure they're exactly related, but she does have the knack of producing enthusiastically thoroughly nice dogs; absolutely bombproof dogs who will fling themselves on their back in greeting to everyone they meet all day long if you give them the chance. Thankfully they don't wee on all of them as well!

So Buddy and Milo are firm friends now, despite an apparently unpromising beginning. Just goes to show that with dogs first impressions do count but in a totally different way.

Take care,

Julie x


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