Do you know how to greet a dog you don’t know? As much as you might want to hug every dog you meet, not all dogs love strangers. In order to respect the dog and his or her personal space, you should use caution when approaching a canine you’ve never met. Luckily, your friends at Union Lake Pet Services are here to help you safely (and respectfully) greet new dogs. Use these tips to make some new canine friends:

Ask Before Saying Hi

Dogs build trust with their owners. Since they cannot speak for themselves (in ways everyone can understand at least), they often look to their owner for protection. Before approaching a new dog, you should always start by asking the owner if you can. Ask things like “May I say hello to your dog?” If the answer is yes, you may then go ahead to ask if it is okay to pet the dog. Remember to be respectful of the owner’s answer. If they say no, they are not trying to be rude, they are just trying to look out for the best interest of the animal.

Wait for the Dog to Make the First Move

Once you have the owner’s permission, you still need to get the dog’s. Stand slightly sideways with just your peripheral vision facing toward the animal. In the wild, a face-to-face interaction could be a sign of aggression, so standing sideways makes you seem like a friend not a foe. Don’t loom over the dog and hold out your fist so the dog can give it a sniff. If the dog approaches you, you know that he finds you worthy of his attention. This helps you avoid making the dog anxious or suspicious, which could lead to some unexpected behavior.

Pet Respectfully

You should still use caution even after receiving the dog’s permission to say hello. Try to keep your pets around the neck, back, or chest. Avoid petting the top of the head, as many dogs do not like this. Don’t try to hug the dog or keep him restricted in any way. Go slowly and pay attention to any cues that he might be starting to feel uncomfortable. As soon as you sense any discomfort, stop touching the dog and wait for him to approach you again.

Use Caution with Stray Dogs

If you encounter a dog without a leash, it is important to fight the urge to chase after the dog to see if he or she is okay. Just like with any other dog, you should stand still and let the dog come to you. If the dog does approach you, use gentle tones and avoid any quick movements. If you cannot get the dog to come to you, you can call your local animal control or animal shelter to catch it and try to find the owner. 

This is how to greet a dog you don’t know. Whether you want to work on your own dog’s behavior or you need to find a safe space to leave your friend while you are away, Union Lake Pet Services is here for you. We offer training, behavior modification, daycare, and boarding services for your pets. To learn more, please call (248) 363-6262.