Dogs have been our companions for centuries. That kind of familiarity often leads some wanting to approach and pet an unfamiliar dog. That said, there are six things you should do when approaching a dog you don’t know (or who doesn’t know you).
- Ask permission from the dog’s owner before interacting. Never approach a dog if the owner is not present or if the dog is tied up.
- Don’t offer your hand to be sniffed. Instead, stand with your side facing the dog, avoid eye contact, and let them come to you.
- Be Calm. Don’t make sudden movements.
- Don’t make high-pitched noises. Greet the dog using your normal voice.
- Bending over a dog or petting their head from above can frighten them. It’s better to squat down to their level and pet their chest or sides.
- Not every dog can be your friend. Read the dog’s body language. Keep your distance if they’re tense, their tail is between their legs, or they are growling.