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Pulling Towards Other Dogs (Or Not)

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Our male grey is the first dog I've ever owned (we got him 5 months ago). The question I have is, I doubt, specific to greys. But why is it that, when on walks, some dogs that come our way (or are somewhere in the distance) ABSOLUTELY have to be met and checked out (life or death importance, clearly, with me having an intensely pulling, deaf-to-me dog on my hands) and others that we meet are of no particular interest (he keeps right on walking)? Is it all based on the other dog's body language, scent, actions, vibes, mood, whatever else? He's good with other dogs, never has shown aggression, is very confident; so it's not per se a problem. I just want to understand better what makes these guys tick. Any good books on that?

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