We have all been there before, we see an unbearably cute dog walking on the street, and we just have to go up and say hi. Who can turn down a stocky little corgi waddling down the sidewalk? They need to be greeted. And Pet. There are rules to doing this though! You should never walk up to a stranger’s dog to greet it without first receiving permission. Following are our 4 tips for safely approaching a strange dog.
1) Ask Permission
The most obvious and important detail, always ask for permission before approaching a strange dog. The dog may look friendly, but you cannot make assumptions. Just because you love all dogs, does not mean that all dogs will love you.
2) Approach with caution
You may be full of enthusiasm and excitement, but the dog might not feel the same. It may be a little more apprehensive. Especially if you run right up to it. Imagine how you would feel if someone did the same thing to you? You would feel a little surprised and spooked probably. Treat a dog the way you would like to be treated. Be polite and friendly.
3) Let the dog initiate
So, you have received permission from the owner to approach, and you have done so carefully. The next step is to let the dog initiate contact with you. Extend your hand to let them become familiar with you and your smell. Avoid making direct, extended eye contact. Some breeds of dogs will read this as a direct confrontation or threat, and may respond accordingly.
4) Pet appropriately
You may think you know everything there is to know about petting a dog, but we are willing to be you could still use a lesson or two. Avoid petting a dog on the top of head or around the neck. Pet gently. Do not thump the dog roughly on the sides as you do not know how the dog will respond.