Dogs have been our friends for a long, long time. 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.
- 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.