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The Proper Way to Greet a Dog

Puppy Dog
  • 3 May 2017
  • Pet Wants

There are a lot of people who love dogs. For many people, it’s natural to want to interact with every dog they see. Although the Pet Wants team completely understands this feeling and always enjoys meeting new pups, following some basic ground rules is a must.

Every dog has its own personality and there are some who aren’t as comfortable with social interactions as others. And while some pup owners enjoy letting their pets meet new people, not everyone lets their pet greet strangers. The good news is as long as you know the basic protocol to follow for greeting a new dog, you’ll be able to ensure that every interaction you have is a positive one.

Understanding Dogs’ Boundaries

Not only can someone walking directly up to a dog and trying to pet it put an owner in an awkward position, but this can provoke fear or even aggression in a dog. Since you don’t want to pressure an animal that doesn’t have a social personality or simply isn’t in the mood to interact, the first step is to approach the owner. By telling someone you like their dog and then asking if it’s OK to pet it, you’ll put the owner at ease and avoid trying to interact with the wrong dog. This will start your experience off on a positive note, as dogs tend to feed off their owners’ emotional cues.

Moving Forward with An Interaction

Once you’ve asked permission and an owner has said that it’s OK to pet the dog, the next tip to keep in mind is to precede with confidence. If a dog’s owner says it’s fine to pet, you shouldn’t have any reason to worry. But if for some reason the animal senses fear from you, it can cause the interaction to go south very quickly.

Another tip is to avoid eye contact. Even though this may seem counterintuitive for humans, dogs can view it as a threat or sign of aggression. So while you’ll obviously want to look towards the dog, avoid directly locking eyes.

When you start to approach the dog, do so from the side. Avoid crouching over the top of the dog. Offer a closed fist and allow the dog time to move towards you. Then if everything goes well, you can extend your hand to pet the dog. The chest, neck or shoulder are the best places to pet a dog you’re meeting for the first time. Finally, pay attention to the dog’s body language throughout your whole interaction. If it ever seems like the dog wants you to stop, that’s exactly what you should do.

By following the tips and guidelines we covered above, you’ll be able to truly enjoy the experience of meeting new dogs when you’re out and about around the Denver area.

For information on pet nutrition or to try one of our formulas, please contact Pet Wants Denver at: 303-818-1014.