What IS this?   3 comments

Today’s WTF moment provided by … meet & greet.


Miss D and I were out for a typical daytime neighborhood patrol when we ran across Nerf (names changed to protect the innocent). Nerf is a 7-month old border collie mix and full of exuberant energy. He’s clearly well socialized, quite friendly, and gave all the social cues of a dog just wanting a peaceful mutual sniff. Here’s where the WTF comes in.

I sometimes feel guilty limiting Miss D’s contact with other dogs. In the yard, her fence running definitely seems like play. She was clearly sad when Ruby was gone for a month while her folks were on vacation. And she was clearly excited when Ruby returned.

At a distance, her reaction in these encounters looks like pure excitement. Or maybe Alert would be a better word. Stiff and upright, ears standing, pointing straight ahead. Quivering all over like a dog waiting for a ball to be thrown.

But as they get closer, it starts to look more like fear (barking in a crouch, ears back, backing away) or aggression (lurching forward, ears up, tail fur raised, snarling and barking).

This time the encounter happened too quickly for us to avoid or create distance. Miss D was excited but it didn’t look like anything more than that so I gave her some leash and the dogs sniffed. Miss D quieted down immediately and all seemed friendly until out of nowhere she snarls, snaps, and lunges for Nerf’s throat. Luckily she’s too short to reach it. There was then some mutual swatting of the front paws and I pulled her out of reach. All of this in a matter of seconds.

Once out of reach, Nerf once again became the happy-go-lucky puppy looking for a friendly sniff. His owner and he cross the street and continued on their way. Miss D and I stayed where we were until she once again exhibited signs of calm. She shook herself (literally shaking off the encounter) and started sniffing the ground, ignoring the disappearing Nerf.

So… WTF is this? I’ve never lived in a multi-dog household. Is this typical greeting behavior? Is it meant to be playful? Nerf certainly seemed friendly throughout. Am I wrong to interpret this as aggression? I don’t know. We need a dog whisperer over here.

3 responses to “What IS this?

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  1. We had the same thing with a shi-tzu girl here… no idea why …maybe a secret between dogs ?


  2. My younger mini schnauzer does the same thing… She’s a tough one to read. Stella seems happy and then she’ll suddenly snap at the dog that she’s meeting. If you find out the reason, let us know!!


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