How to Approach and Interact with a Dog You Don't Know
Petting a dog seems so natural for most of us. However, you might not realize it but there are a right way and a wrong way to pet your pooch. Not only that, but you also need to know how to pet a dog that you don’t know, especially for children who might not yet fully understand how dogs behave.
So, in this post, we want to know: how do you properly pet a dog? How do you approach and interact with a strange dog? Finally, how should children deal with dogs?
How To Pet A Dog?
When done right, petting a dog is a great way to forge a strong bond. It has therapeutic effects on both you and the dog you are petting.
The first thing you need to do is start with a proper greeting. As a general rule, don’t pet a dog who doesn’t initiate contact.
What you need to do instead is to invite the dog to make the first contact. You can do this by squatting down to lower yourself to his level. If the dog is fearful or reserved, you can turn yourself a little bit to the side so you appear less threatening.
Give a dog a few minutes to get used to your presence. Eventually, the dog will see you as a friendly person and realize that it is safe to approach you.
Once you have established the first contact, you can now start petting a dog. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
You know a dog is ready to be pet when he approaches you with tail held out at medium height behind him and ears held back slightly. He shows a wiggly body posture, relaxed eyes, slightly opened mouth, and friendliness in his aura.
The best spots to pet a dog include the shoulders, chest, under the chin, and base of the neck.
When starting to pet a dog, reach in from the side. Avoid moving your hand over the top of your dog’s head, which may be perceived as a threatening gesture.
Most dogs don’t like to be touched on the muzzle, top of the head, paws, legs, ears, and tail.
Slow petting has a calming effect on dogs compared to fast and harsh strokes that may lead to over agitation of the dog.
How To Approach A Dog You Don’t Know
Sometimes, it’s hard to resist petting a cute dog you meet on the street. However, a single mistake in your approach can lead to unpleasant encounters.
When approaching a dog, be sure to ask permission. The owner should be able to tell whether it is a good idea for a stranger to pet his dog or not. Once you got the blessing of the owner, you need to see if the dog agrees. It does not mean that you can move your hand closer to the dog immediately if the owner says yes.
What you can do instead is to speak to the dog and try to get his attention. If the dog shows signs of friendliness and willingness to make contact, you can then proceed and pet the dog using the tips mentioned above.
If you are approaching a dog who doesn’t have an owner nearby or a stray dog on the street, it is better to leave the dog alone.
How Children Should Approach Dogs
Children may lack the wisdom and judgment to properly interact with a dog, especially dogs they don’t personally know.
The best thing you should do is to provide adult supervision. Never leave your child alone with a stray dog.
Proper education is also important here. It is best to teach children to never initiate first contact with dogs. They need to wait until the dog shows signs of readiness for the interaction.
Teach your child not to pat, slap, squeeze, spank, or tease a dog. These things can be annoying, stressful, and even nerve-wracking to a dog. Your child should also avoid hugging. It could hinder a dog’s movement. If the dog wants to move away but it can’t, it could bite your child just to be free.
Another important point to remember is for children not to approach a chained dog or a dog that is behind a fence or any type of barrier. When a dog’s movement is limited, it can be more defensive and may bite your child as a result.
Now that you know how to pet a dog and how your kids could also enjoy the company of a furry friend, we’re sure that you are now better equipped for life-changing dog interaction. With proper education and guidance, you and your kids would be safer around dogs. Everyone would then experience the joy of having a loyal, adorable, and playful four-legged buddy.
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