How to Meet Our Dog24 Nov 2018
Update 5/20: We used to ask people to read this before visiting our home, but Wish has become much more chill, so we now just ask people not to pet her.
Dog body language is different from human body language. Even people experienced with dogs can have a hard time understanding dogs’ body language; similarly, my dog is bad at understanding human body language. She wasn’t exposed to many people as a puppy, so she is fearful and prone to interpret your behaviors in the wrong light – are you reaching to pet her or hit her? Are you looking at her or threatening her?
Wish is very friendly and fun with people who follow “dog protocol.” She keeps getting better over time, and meeting her is usually a positive experience at this point, but she can be very loud and disruptive with people she finds scary. And she can hold a grudge: more than one person has met Wish, decided she’s not nearly as bad as we said, talked to her in a stern tone or tried to pet her, and made a permanent enemy. Here are some tips to prevent this from happening.
Read this page
Read this article.
Meet outside, on neutral territory
Wish is very afraid of strangers being in her home. If you’re coming to our house, we’ll meet a little way down the street. Then we’ll walk into the yard together, spend some time in the yard, and eventually move into the house.
Ignore the dog
At first, your job is to be boring and blatantly nonconfrontational. Keep your distance, don’t look straight at her, and chat with me and Ben about your day. She’ll probably come around to you by herself.
Things to definitely not do
- Don't talk in a loud or stern tone. You will see me or Ben giving her commands; don't imitate us.
- Don't pet the dog. Wish usually doesn't like being pet by anyone except Ben. She may come up to you and sniff you, drop a toy at your feet, or even jump on you (sorry). That doesn't mean she wants to be pet.
- Don't make eye contact. A typical Border Collie, Wish manipulates the world through her eyes. She may read way too much into your eye motions.