Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Proper Way to Greet a Dog

Approach dogs from the front or side, so they can see you.

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Like humans, dogs are social animals with an understanding of body language and status. However, canine rules are different from human rules. Behaviors you consider to be friendly and welcoming might be threatening or challenging to a dog, and you might prompt reactions you don't expect. Before approaching a strange dog, ask its owner for permission; if the owner isn't present, you are safest leaving the dog alone. When you do greet a dog, it is least likely to bite you or startle if you approach it with an attitude dogs perceive as respectful and nonthreatening.

Related Searches:Difficulty:Moderately EasyInstructions 1

Relax your body and your breath. Tension conveys aggression or fear to a dog, so make sure you are at ease before you enter the animal's space.


Approach the dog from the front or the side, not from the back. Come close to it silently, and squat down so you are not standing over it. Let the dog come the rest of the way to you.


Look away from the dog and close your lips. Making eye contact and smiling are signs of friendly openness between Americans, but eye contact and baring your teeth are signs of warning or aggression to dogs.


Offer the back of your wrist to the dog to smell. According to Gregg Flowers, a dog trainer and behavioral consultant in Shreveport, Louisiana, showing a strange dog an open palm can be risky.


Pet the dog slowly. Touch it under its chin or on the side of its face or body. Do not reach over its head to pet its back or ears. It might snap at you if it cannot see where you are putting your hand.


Speak softly and in a low register. Let the dog leave when it wants to.

Tips & Warnings

Do not approach a dog quickly or with high energy. Tell children to avoid making sudden movements or loud sounds. Never hug a strange dog, because dogs perceive this kind of contact as a sign of dominance.

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ReferencesCave Canis Dog Training: Dog Etiquette -- How to Greet a DogByron Pet Clinic: Safe introductions of Kids and New Take It Slow When Greeting New DogResourcesGood Dog Behavior and Training: Your New "Pack Member" -- Introducing Your Dog to a New BabyPhoto Credit Jupiterimages/ ImagesRead Next:

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