How to Greet a Dog – The 7 Steps to Know
- 28 December 2016
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It’s no secret that the Pet Wants team is made up of dog lovers. So when we’re out and see a cute dog, we get excited! However, since we’re also dog owners, we know not to let that excitement translate into us immediately running up to the dog. While many dogs are friendly and fine with being greeted by new friends, there are some important steps to follow in any interaction with a new dog, which is exactly what we’re going to cover right now:
1. Always Ask the Dog’s Owner
The most common mistake we see and hear about people making when they greet a dog is going right into pet the dog without first asking the owner. Regardless of whether it’s the dog or owner who isn’t comfortable with this type of interaction, it’s important to get permission before doing anything else. And if an owner does decline, be sure to respect their wishes.
2. Don’t Make Direct Eye Contact
A direct stare can make a dominant dog feel challenged and a submissive one feel threatened. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on a dog you’re getting ready to greet but avoid making direct eye contact with it.
3. Approach the Dog Slowly
Another common mistake people make when greeting dogs is lunging into pet it. Since this can startle a dog, move in slowly and calmly so the dog has time to process what’s going on.
4. Get Down on His Level
In addition to moving slowly, you want to avoid towering over a dog. By leaning down or moving in another way that allows you to get close to the dog’s level, you will be able to help the dog feel completely at ease.
5. Wait for Him to Approach You
While it’s fine to move towards the dog and important to get closer to its level, you don’t want to dive right into its space. Instead, calmly and confidently stay in your spot while the dog moves towards you. This will allow the dog to get your scent and process any other information it needs to feel comfortable with you.
6. Pet Gently
After you’ve followed the steps covered above and allowed the dog to approach you, the time will be right for you to pet it. Although plenty of dogs enjoy vigorous or even playfully rough petting, your initial interaction should be gentle.
7. Pay Attention to His Body Language
Even though this is the last step in our process, it’s something that applies throughout your entire interaction. Keeping an eye on how a dog is acting will help you know if it’s feeling uncomfortable or threatened. In the event you notice any change, avoid abruptly jerking away. Instead, calmly move back a little bit to give the dog some space and see if its body language changes at all.
By following the seven steps we outlined above, you can feel confident that all your interactions with new dogs are positive.