Follow Us

Petco on FacebookPetco on TwitterPetco on YouTubePetco on LinkedIn

Facebook Activity

How Do You Safely Approach a Dog?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Penny

    This is a fantastic article! As the owner of a dog who is leary of people, it is nice to know my dog is not the only one who freaks out when approached inappropriately!!!

  • Bonnie

    Geez, I’m guilty of standing over the dog petting it’s head and under the chin. I’m surprised I haven’t gotten bit yet but usually look at the dogs body language. If they’re wagging their tail and look happy to see me then I usually go for it and pet away.
    My big dog loves strangers….anybody and everybody!But my little one hates it when strangers put their hand out for her to sniff. That makes her more scared.

  • Sandy

    If you want to really understand dogs, and learn how to communicate with dogs the way they do with each other, contact Susan Overfield, Montana’s dog behavior expert. Check out her website, http://www.aahhtt.com. Watch the video. Susan has been teaching owners, trainers, rescues, shelters, and humans in general how easy it is to get well behaved dogs fast. That is because she is practical and gets dogs. She has been doing it this way for 38 years, all over the U.S. She is conducting one of her well regarded and popular BOSS Dog Clinics outside of Great Falls, MT on May 22. Contact her at wellbehaved@aahhtt.com and join us!!!

  • anna l

    that’s really good information. i’ve been doing it all wrong, but i will do it the right way now!
    thanks PETCO for the useful stuff

  • http://timwheatley.org Tim Wheatley

    Great article. Awesome for someone to be highlighting this. The only thing I would perhaps question would be stroking on the chest. I had read elsewhere that the chest is an area dogs protect because, after all, when something wants to kill a dog (like another dog), it’s going to go for the neck.