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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all – I have been puzzling over this for some time.

I find that when a strange (unmet) dog approaches our Lila, from time to time the approach will look like stalking – head down, body held low, tail either down or gently waving, gait slow and calculating.

Sometimes this appears to be submission (‘I want to meet you, but I am unsure’), sometimes it appears to be baiting into play (‘let's have fun - make a move and chase me while I run like a maniac!’), and still other times it appears to be aggression. When the hackles are up, it is more likely to be aggression, but not always, they are not always up, and with some coats it’s hard to tell.

Lila, for her part, takes it very easy. Approaches with a neutral stance very slowly, and if she senses there may be trouble she just moves away and finds something else to do.

I am wondering if there are some signs I can look for. Usually I am pretty good at identifying the playmates/the crazies/ the bullies, but this particular approach has me stumped because it can lead to so many different conclusions.

D
 

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I think dog body language is fascinating and important to understand! Here are a couple of my favorite videos about the subject (I am not affiliated with this channel in any way)

body language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00_9JPltXHI

play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY8NpMm2OVA

A lot of people will say crouching or stalking is intimidating but I think it is just careful information gathering. I don't think those behaviors, or hackles, necessarily mean the dog is about to launch into play or an attack (though it is possible). I think for a lot of dogs there is a lot of stress when approaching another dog. Stress can be due to excitement (oh boy, I might get to play!) or fear (uh oh, what's this dog gonna do). But dogs will assess the situation and present themselves in many different ways. Once the dogs are physically interacting, things can be drastically different.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks - those are great links. As a matter of fact, the 'stalking' behavior is identified in the second video, with a statement that you should keep an eye on it!
D
 
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