Dog and Human Greeting Behavior and The Muzzle Nudge

Dog and Human Greeting Behavior
How do dogs greet humans and is it the same or different from how they greet other dogs?
I have been fascinated with greeting behavior and nonverbal communication since I took my first body language class in college. I was so excited when I was asked to be the spokesperson for Pup-Peroni and talk about human body language as people interact with their dogs I was so excited. So many aspects of human greeting behavior and dog-greeting behavior are similar.

In this post your will learn some of the engaging behaviors that dogs use as they meet and greet other dogs and humans.
When a dog seeks attention or affection and joins humans and or dogs for interaction, he does several things that are similar to human body language. Dog behaviorist call these bids for attention and affection acting in an “affliative” manner.
Just like humans who get closer to each other to greet dogs also decrease distance with various behaviors. One of the most obvious things that dogs can do to decrease the distance is bring their ears and or nose forward. Remember, a dog’s sense of smell is extremely acute and better than their sense of vision. A dog my bring his may bring his nose forward to smell you. The smell is like a human handshake for dog. He reaches out his nose to check you out, just like you shake someone’s hand or give a high five to check out a stranger. Dog's may also put up a paw in what looks like a human handshake. It's a natural behavior to show submission. My dog Bo only took one lesson and several Pup-Peroni treats to "learn" how to shake hands with me.

A dog that is feeling affectionate or seeks warm attention may give you a muzzle nudge or muzzle nuzzle. In a muzzle nudge, a dog may bring his nose up to nudge your face, your hand or your leg. I think of it as a doggie hug that is warmer than a doggie handshake sniff.

The muzzles nudge or muzzles nuzzle stems from redirected behavior from a dog's puppyhood feeding rituals in the wild. Many dog behaviorist consider genetically the muzzle nudge genetically encoded. Wolves and other wild canine mothers hunt for food and bring it back the puppies chewed up inside their mouths. Puppies nudge their dog mom’s mouth and nose to get their mom to give them this food. It reminds me of kids bugging their mom for treats

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
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