Dog lovers want to meet and touch every dog that walks in their path. But there are some very big dos and don’ts of meeting a strange dog. For starters, you don’t want to spook the dog, as this can cause it to be aggressive. You want a strange dog to feel comfortable and safe when you greet it, and once that happens they will be like putty in your hands. But if they feel threatened, a meeting could go very wrong. Here are 8 tips for meeting a strange dog.
Ask the Owner for Permission
You always want to ask the owner of the dog if you can meet their dog. In most cases the answer will be yes, but if the dog is a bit aggressive or is not good with strangers then the owner may say no. If they say yes, then follow these additional tips.
If a dog feels that you are scared or are not relaxed then they will respond to this in a negative way. You want to be relaxed and have a smile on your face. This shows the dog that you are not a threat.
Never make eye contact
Looking a dog in the eyes is a sign of aggression and they will see you as a threat. It’s best to never look a strange dog in the eye if you want it to trust you.
You want to turn your body so you are facing the dog on your side, rather than being face-to-face with it. Again, this is a sign of aggression to the dog and he/she may see you as a threat. You can see this when two dogs meet each other. They never go face-to-face. Instead, they pass each other at their sides and go nose to butt to gain trust before ever going face-to-face.
You never want to crouch over a dog. Instead, you should stand straight or squat in front of it. Crouching over a dog will make it feel threatened.
Let the dog come to you
Dogs are very curious, and chances are if they want to meet you then they will come to you. Let the dog come to you, which means it is interested in meeting you. If it doesn’t come to you, try not to take it personally.
Never touch it
Let the dog smell your hand before you ever touch it. Again, this is seen as aggressive and threatening. If the dog can smell your hand then it can gain trust in you. If it trusts you or it is interested in you it will most likely wag its tail. Once this is established, you can touch the dog on the head, neck or shoulder.
Stop if it backs away
If the dog starts to back away from you than leave it alone. This means it has finished interacting with you and wants to move on. Don’t take it personally. There may be a smell that they want to follow or a tree that they want to pee on.