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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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