Penny had a visitor today. A strange dog, probably a red kelpie cross, stayed for about five hours. I had come across the dog, who I now know is called Rocky, strolling along the busy street amongst the shoppers. My friend Sue always carries a spare dog lead so we were able to make sure he came with us. After traipsing up and down the street for ages, calling into each shop, "Has anyone lost a dog", we rang the Ranger, who said to take him home and she would come to look at him.
Thank goodness for microchipping. The Ranger checked him and we discovered he lived a couple of streets away. The owner didn't answer her phone, so we decided he could stay at my place, overnight if necessary.
Last time a lost dog stayed overnight, it was rather nightmarish, as Penny spent hours snarling at him - if I hadn't witnessed it I wouldn't have believed she could hold a snarl for most of a night. She must have had a tired face the next day!
I've had some advice from more experienced dog owners since then, so I decided to make sure this time that Penny did not feel her home had been invaded. We allowed Penny to meet the new dog on the front porch , the nearest we could manage to neutral territory. He was led in by my friend, rather than coming in with me. Then we took him out the back and, since he was too big for the doggy door, Penny could come in an out but he couldn't.
In October I posted some info on dog body language, including an article on calming signals by Turid Rugaas. This evening, it was fascinating to see the two dogs using yawning, licking and turning away of the head to calm each other. There are many other signals mentioned in the article and I believe I saw them too, in the interaction between Penny and Rocky.