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How do you approach a dog for the first time may not have been something you have spent a great deal of time thinking about. However, when it comes to dogs, first impressions are important.
The majority of dogs you’ll see out and about love meeting new people and aren’t alarmed when a new person is on the scene. However, some dogs, even well socialized dogs, aren’t fond of strangers approaching them. To ensure your safety, and the safety of the pup you are approaching, here are some tips helpful to remember when greeting a new dog.
Ask, then approach
Before you approach an unfamiliar dog, it is always best to ask the dog’s owner if it is ok to pet or interact with their dog. Once the dog’s owner has given you permission, allow the dog to take the lead. Allow them to come to you when they have warmed up some to you. It can often help if you get on the dog’s level by squatting or kneeling down. It’s very important to remember not to tower over the dog, as this can be seen as an aggressive act by the dog, even if you don’t mean for it to be. Always listen to the dog’s owner if they suggest it’s best not to approach or pet their dog, they know their dog and are likely trying to protect you and the dog.
Leave the hugs for humans
Hugging is a natural way for humans to show love to people affection, which may make you wonder, if it it is ok to hug a dog? While some dogs may be ok with it, we suggest more petting, less hugging. Hugging dogs that aren’t familiar with you can make them feel trapped and anxious and could make them become aggressive. Resist the urge to hug, no matter how tempting the precious pup may be.
Slow and Steady
The best way to get to know a new dog is slow and steady. Avoid making any sudden movements or loud noises as these can frighten dogs. Some dogs are curious and will sniff around you, even rubbing against your hand or legs inviting petting. While other prefer you to be an arm’s length away and start by only smelling your hand to begin with. It’s important to remember, that like people, all dogs are different, and it is important to treat each new dog individually.
Don’t force it
We know you love dogs and want to pet and love each one you see, believe us… we get it! However sometimes, like humans, dogs just aren’t in the mood to be fussed with. If you attempt to pet a dog and they seem to be disinterested or bothered by the interaction, don’t force it. If a dog turns away or moves away from the petting, they are giving you signals they’d rather be left alone and it’s important to watch for those signs, especially in new dogs.
In meeting and greeting new dogs, it’s important to remember that it is not much different than meeting new people. We are all different and like to be approached in different ways. Stay attuned to what signs the dog is giving you and allow them to lead the way and we foresee lots of new pup friendships in your future.
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