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There is a proper etiquette to the infamous inguinal sniff (i.e. dogs smelling each other’s bits). A polite approach involves:

  • a slow bee-line towards the other dog, not bolting in a straight line;
  • a couple of reassuring and respectful pauses – as in: ‘I am respecting your personal space. Let me know if I can come closer’; and
  • withdrawing at subtle signs of discomfort from the other dog, not waiting for a growl or snap.

If your dog is the kind to boisterously run towards other dogs, expect trouble down the road, as that is as rude in the dog world as you hitting a complete stranger across the back to greet him or her.

I know the pug in one of the picture very well, and I am very fond of him, but, but he is terrible at reading other dog’s body language, and has been growled and snapped at many times. He just keeps pushing and pushing and has no sense of personal space. In short, he does not take a hint. The human equivalent would be someone you barely know standing inches from your face… Constantly.

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Last updated April 2010