We LOVE dogs, we love their soft ears, their waggin’ tails and their quirky smiles. Our instincts are all wrong though when we approach a new dog for the first time. It’s easy to forget that dogs see us as GIANTS who may or may not be out to harm them. Dogs are very protective of their families and themselves, so they have a system of “sniffing” someone out first before they can feel safe around us.
The following is a list of what NOT to do when you want to Greet a dog . . .
1. Never stare a dog in the eyes as you are approaching – dogs immediately see this as threatening.
2. Never scream loudly as you are approaching, even if you are excited and the dog is totally adorable, this sound is very scary for a dog.
3. Never lean over a dog and then attempt to put your hand in the dogs face or touch the dog in any way. The dog has no idea what you are doing and this is a very threatening position.
4. Never reach out and try to hug or pick up a dog. Even though every inch of you wants to hold and embrace a dog, this is horrifying for a dog.
5. Never put your face in a dogs face to say “Hello”, or to try to kiss a dog. Until a dog knows you and trusts you, keep your distance.
6. Never smoke cigars or cigarettes and then approach a dog. Most dogs are allergic to this toxic smoke and their instincts are to stay as far away from a smoker as possible.
7. Never wear heavy perfume and then approach a dog. Dogs noses are very sensitive to smells and heavy perfume can actually make a dog sick.
8. Never take your dog and push it in the face of another dog. Dogs have a method of socializing and this action is just too invasive.
The following is how to CORRECTLY have a dog APPROACH YOU . . .
1. Stand or sit in a non threatening position, usually with your body direction pointing away from the dog.
2. Do not give the dog eye contact at all.
3. Allow the dog to sniff you and approach you on his own.
4. After the dog feels comfortable around you, only pet his back.
5. Always speak in a soft and calming tone.
Dogs need to take time to feel comfortable around new people. All dogs are different, some dogs are very social and some dogs are not – until you know exactly what personality a dog has, always allow a dog to approach you when they are ready. Be patient and you will be rewarded with doggie kisses!