Whenever I see a cute pup walking my way, my instinct is to immediately go toward it and shower it with love and affection. Apparently, that’s not the best strategy. Dogs have certain boundaries just like people do, and we need to respect those boundaries by approaching dogs in the appropriate way. Not only that, but injuries are much more likely to occur if you engage with a dog in the wrong way.
So let’s respect dogs and protect ourselves! Here are some simple guidelines to consider when approaching a furry friend:
- When greeting any dog, always ask the pet parent first if it is ok. If it is, stand still and let the dog to approach you first. This will help build rapport at a pace that is comfortable for the dog.
- When a dog approaches, stand sideways to the dog, and hold your relaxed closed hand next to you. Don’t look right at the dog. This allows the dog to choose the interactions that he/she feels safe with. Remember, not every dog wants to be petted or greeted.
- Once the dog has approached, try not to lean over him/her. While standing or squatting near the dog, gently rub the chest slowly. Dogs really don’t enjoy being patted on top of the head or back.
Another way to learn more about dogs and positive interactions? Check out a dog training class! Even if you don’t have a pet yourself, it’s helpful to learn and prepare yourself so you can have better, safer and more focused interaction with a dog. And if you have a dog it will definitely enhance your pet parent skills!