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Karen B. London
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Greeting Old Friends
Sometimes dogs are extra excited
Zuma and Radar getting some loving

When my family visited relatives and friends in Portland, Ore. recently, everyone was glad to see us. However, nobody expressed their exuberance more than Nick and Margaret’s dogs Zuma, Keeper and Radar.

These dogs have always liked us and been happy to see us. During this visit, though, they really outdid themselves with their wags, wiggles, spins and general enthusiasm. It’s certainly possible that this was simply because it had been a long time—several months—since we had seen them. (We felt pretty excited to see them, too, after such a long absence.)

Ever since our happy reunion, though, I’ve been contemplating another reason for their especially upbeat greeting. Because they moved from Arizona to Oregon several months ago, these dogs have not seen many familiar people lately. Most of their interactions have been with strangers or with people they don’t know that well yet. So, it’s possible that seeing old friends for the first time in a long while was especially exciting for them.

After our initial hellos, all three dogs solicited attention and petting more than usual. They went onto their backs and gratefully accepted belly rubs. They put their heads in our laps and looked up at us longingly until the petting commenced. They wanted to be near us and oozed happiness in response to any physical contact. They’ve always been friendly with us, but this exceeded their usual signs of love and friendship considerably.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Dawn ODonnell | August 16 2014 |

All of our children have dogs and we always took our now deceased dalmation with us. One of the routines was to walk each night, not something the "cousins" always got with their busy families. When we would arrive each dog would be over the top and clearly telling us they were so glad we were there because it meant long walks.

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