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How to approach a dog (correctly) - Only Pawsitive Solutions

How to approach a dog (correctly)

You love dogs and would like to pet them all? Me too!

But have you ever asked yourself if they want you to pet them? Approaching a dog, even one you know, needs some assessment and to respect the dogs limits.

In short, be polite…

Here are some basic rules to avoid making Doggo uncomfortable, or worse… getting bitten.

You can apply these precautions to ANY dog. Small, big, that you already know or not, whether it’s a labrador or a German shepherd.

It is crucial to teach kids the best gestures and moves, since, because of their height, they’re more likely to be bitten in the face.

Take it easy!

Don’t run with your arms open yelling « puppyyyyyyyyyy« ! I know, sometimes holding it is reaaaaally hard!

But there’s no better way to scare a dog, who wil live a traumatizing experience.

Walk calmly, stop a few steps before him, keep your hands near you.

The best is to slowly turn your body , to not directly face the dog. It’s a non-offensive posture for a dog (while starring and facing are confrontational). Then, wait for Doggo to come smell you and show you that theses preliminaries are conclusive on his side and that you can take the next step.

Keep in mind that a dog who comes to smell you is absolutely not saying « please pet me ». Some actually are, while others are just interested in smelling you.

Keep your eyes down!

No need to start a staring contest, even if you’re looking at this beautiful labradoodle, with his eyes full of love. The dog will only see it as unsettling, and will feel uncomfortable.

Ask for permission!

I know, it seems stupid, but that’s the least you can do. Just because the lady seems nice and her corgi seems soooooo fluffyyyyyy, doesn’t mean you can rush to him squeaking to pet him.

Imagine, someone finds you « sooooo cuuuuuute » and takes you in their arms without asking! Not really pleasant, huh?

The least you can do is ask the handler if you can pet their dog. And respect their decision!

Let’s go!

Even though everyone is ok for you to pet Doggo, there are still a few precautions to consider.

  • Keep your face far from his mouth,
  • Don’t make sudden movements,
  • Don’t yell in his ears,
  • Don’t squeeze him into your arms like a teddy bear,
  • Keep observing him to make sure that he is still comfortable. Be especially careful with the calming signals that he could show.

If you’re on the other side of the leash

You have to know your dog’s limits and make sure people respect it, don’t leave anyone pet him any which way.

Nobody can assure that a dog will NEVER bite. You have to keep it in mind. Even your old family dog could, one day, get tired of your nephew fiddling with him and jumping him everytime he comes to your place.

Observe your dog, check if he sends you calming signals to let you know that he isn’t enjoying the situation.

Never punish your dog for showing you that he’s uncomfortable. A dog who growls to ask you to stop (because you didn’t understand the calming signals he sent you) is better than a dog who bites.

Never forget that you are responsible of your dog’s well-being, and of the damage he could do if you don’t listen to his signals.

Pro tips for dog pawrents: It is a full time job sometimes, to prevent people from petting your dog, even if you had the time to say no. Some people don’t listen or choose not to respect our instructions. « I had 100 dogs in my life, so I know dogs » is one of my favorite. That’s why now I deliberately choose to lie, if I don’t have the time or energy to debate. Nobody wants to pet a dog with fleas… So my dogs have fleas…a lot of fleas…I know it’s sad…But my dogs are safe and happy with their fake fleas. 🙂

To end on a nice note:

Take a look at this beautiful drawing by the talented Lili Chin.

One Comment on “How to approach a dog (correctly)

  1. Pingback: THANK YOUR DOG FOR GROWLING! - Only Pawsitive Solutions

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