Principle 6 for achieving balance: nose, eyes, ears

Portrait of a dog with nose, eyes, ears in that order

The 4th Natural Dog Law tells us that a dog`s senses form her reality. She perceives the world through her nose, eyes, and ears (in that order). That`s very different from our human way of eyes, ears and nose.

That means if we`re not thoughtful in the way we meet and approach dogs, we can easily breach dog etiquette ` possibly sparking unwanted behavior. `Nose, eyes, ears` helps us mind our dog manners.

When humans meet for the first time, we make eye contact and often exchange a handshake or hug. It`s very direct and face-to-face. But if two strange dogs met this way, it would likely lead to a fight!

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Related: Natural Dog Law 4: A dog`s senses form his reality.

When dogs approach each other, they do it indirectly. This is the reason for the inevitable circling and mutual butt-sniffing. They are getting to know each other`s scent and energy first. To dogs, scent and energy are like `names.` Once they know each other`s names, then they`ll decide if they want to interact.

If a dog isn`t interested, he will just walk away. If the dogs are interested in playing, they will come around to face each other, and this is when the eyes finally engage.

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As humans, we naturally want to run right up to a new dog, talk to him, look him in the eye and immediately pet him. That`s because this is how humans meet one another. But to a dog, this is a very rude approach.

That`s why Cesar recommends this rubric when meeting a dog for the first time: `No touch, no talk, no eye contact.` A dog won`t be offended if you don`t greet her immediately. In fact, ignoring the dog is the best way to respect her space. Once she`s had a chance to smell your scent and assess your energy, she`ll decide if she wants to approach. If she does, she`ll give you permission to interact by sniffing, licking your hand or otherwise making contact. Then, you can engage with the dog. If she doesn`t approach, don`t be offended. Indeed, she likely appreciates your `nose, eyes, ears` thoughtfulness.

By meeting a dog in this way, not only do you respect her space, but you avoid making her over-excited or anxious, which will help her stay balanced and calm.

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