Do‘s and Don’ts in Greeting Unfamiliar Dogs
🟢 Do ask permission! Asking the pet parent if its ok to meet their dog is first. Also, ask the pet parent what to do. This will allow the pet parent to make sure the greeting is smooth and comfortable for the dog as well as an opportunity to refuse. The pet parent knows their dog the best, respecting their decision and guidance is first and foremost.
🔴 Don’t straight up approach with arms stretched out and squealing or using a high pitched voice. This can cause a dog to feel distressed and overwhelmed with the situation. A dog that is uncomfortable doesn’t make good choices.
🟢 Do remain calm and keep your hands by your side. This will give the dog an opportunity to come say hello if he/she feels inclined to do so. By allowing the dog to make the choice to greet will help the dog stay safe and relaxed.
🔴 Don’t bend over, hover over or bend down and stick your face or hands into the dog’s face and ask for kisses. I witnessed a grown adult do this to an unfamiliar dog and I was shocked. Luckily for the lady, the dog is pretty easy going, but the dog didn’t approach and was not interested in saying “hi”
🟢 Do keep the greetings short. I would say 3 seconds, if and when the dog approaches and seeks out attention from you. By limiting the time the dog is being touched and petted by you, will allow you to do consent tests to see if the dog wants more from you. If the dog doesn’t continue to move into you, but rather is stationary or even moves away from you, the dog had enough and this is ok.
🔴 Don’t wrap your arm around the dog’s neck as though you are hugging the dog. This can cause the dog to panic and feel trapped. Also, don’t pat the dog’s head or come up over the top of the dog. This can make the dog uncomfortable.
🟢 Do follow the guidance of the pet parent on where the safe places to pet their dog. Commonly, dogs are most comfortable with petting on the chest or under the chin.
💥 Be safe and consider the dog’s point of view.
Not every dog wants to say hello, just like each of you wouldn’t enjoy a random stranger running up to you and giving you a hug and a kiss.