How to Approach a Dog Correctly

Knowing how to approach an unknown dog is an important skill. You will avoid hostility that may arise as a result of pushing the dog’s personal boundaries.

It is essential that all people (whether dog owners or otherwise) learn how to approach a dog in the right way.

Here are the main points to remember:

  1. Do NOT make full eye contact with the dog as this makes them believe that you are a threat and are competing against them.
  2. Do NOT face head to head with the dog if you have not met them before. This again makes the dog believe you are not safe.
  3. Don’t thrust your hand at their face or actually pat them at all. Quick fire actions like this are sure to put the dog in a stressful and unpredictable state.
  4. By the same token don’t move to stroke the dog slowly or hover your hand above them as this will make them unnecessarily anxious.
  5. Avoid speaking the dog in an overly friendly and excited tone as this can wind the dog up making them anxious.

The Right Way to Do it

The ideal way to approach a dog would be to:

  • Hold your hand a little in front of you and wait the dog come to come to you. Give the dog a chance to smell you scent on your hand.
  • Speak to the dog calmly in a middle tone. Reassuring him that you are not a threat.
  • If the owner allows you to pet the dog it is important to pet the dog correctly

Petting the Dog Correctly

The main thing to remember is to avoid petting the head or back of the head. Instead aim to pet the pooches upper back and sides.

It is important to remember that some dogs have a natural grain of direction of their fur, particularly in short-haired dogs. Some dogs get grumpy and sometimes hostile if they are petted against the grain as it can sometimes causes pain.

All dogs bite if they feel threatened, it is in their nature. So it is vital to not give them reason to feel threatened.

If you are unsure whether to approach a dog, or if you should in a particular situation – don’t. And always ask the owner before petting the dog.

If you have any questions regarding behavior of a dog contact your local vet care or animal care professional.