Dogs are known as one of the man’s best friend. They are loyal, charming, friendly and provide protection to their owners. Since dogs can be easily found anywhere, it becomes very hard not to greet them. Usually, when we meet a dog, we rub our hand over their head and their back. But when greeting a dog who is not really known to you or you’ve just met, it becomes mandatory to be cautious.

If you’ve seen a dog for the first time, then probably the dog has also seen you for the first time. This means that your rushing over the dog and touching it without letting the dog know you a little bit can have consequences but it generally depends on the dog. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t introduce yourself to the dog or avoid the dogs you don’t know. All you have to do is be a little patient.

If you approach a dog and it doesn’t get happy or wiggle its tail, then you should never feel bad about it. Also, if you are giving the dog a little fuss and it isn’t replying then it means that the dog’s just not in the mood as there are a lot of things that can contribute to changing the dog’s temperament and mood. It can be anything, either the heat or the food or absence of their owner.

You have to make sure that the dog isn’t feeling scared or threatened in your presence. A scared dog can take some actions like biting or scratching in order to protect itself. To prevent these kinds of situations, follow the rules given below. These will help you in understanding what’s the right approach one should make towards a dog.

How to Approach a Dog Safely

The given steps will tell you everything you want to know about approaching a dog and what’s the right thing to do around an unfamiliar dog.

Asking the Owner

The first step towards approaching a dog is asking the owner of the dog if it’s okay to touch or go near it. This also counts as a gesture of respect and manners. Sometimes the owners feel offended if their dog is approached by a stranger so it’s always important to ask. If the dog is on a leash or tied up, then don’t ever approach it without the owner’s permission. If it’s a stray dog, then it is clear that there’s no owner whom you can interact with before approaching the dog. In such cases, check the body language of the dog. If the dog is looking playful or is making an advancement to make contact with you, only then you should approach. If the dog looks angry or scared then wait for the dog to calm down a bit.

Making the Right Move

It is always crucial to know the right move while approaching a dog. If the dog is relaxed and happy, bring your hand close to the dog and let it sniff your hand. Don’t force your hand onto the dog or near its face rapidly. Dogs can take this as a threat and can bite your hand. If the dog gives you an okay sign which generally means that it doesn’t bark or bite you then you can approach it and rub its chest and shoulders. Avoid touching their belly and face and most importantly the tail during your first meet. Trust us, you can save yourself from a lot of trouble by avoiding those areas.

Check the Dog’s Response

Once you start stroking the dog, stop after a few minutes and so. Now see the dog’s reaction. If the dog asks for more then keep continuing. If the dog walks away, then it’s better to let go for a while. Try not to overdo the fuss. This can irritate the dog. Stroking generally counts as a first step towards making a contact with a dog. So, try to keep it that way. If you attempt to forcefully hug the dog or get too close to it, then the dog can get anxious.

Maintain Eye Contact

This is another crucial part of approaching a dog. Generally, it is advised not to look straight in the eyes of an animal as it can frighten them, but if you are trying to make a physical contact then it becomes a necessity. Looking straight into the eyes of dogs while approaching them shows that you are not afraid of them. This increases the comfort level of the dog.

No Surprises

This is something that one should always keep in mind before approaching a dog. Dogs or any living being in general don’t like to get approached by somebody by surprise. If the dog doesn’t see you coming then your sudden arrival can scare it and your chances of making friends with the dog decrease. So, if you want to make sure that you don’t surprise the dog with your arrival, then announce yourself before coming. You can make a sound, but try to keep it low as loud sounds can scare the dogs. Also, make sure that the dog knows if somebody else is coming towards it while you stroke or scratch it. This will increase the chances of dog seeing you as a friend and not as a threat.

Listen to the Owner

It is always crucial to listen to the owner while making any advancements towards the dog. The owner can tell you a lot about how the dog likes to be petted or the places which you should never touch. Also, the owner will be able to tell you when to stop. There’s another thing you should keep in mind. If the owner doesn’t allow you to approach his or her dog, then respect that decision and move on. There’s always a reason behind owners not allowing strangers to go near their dogs. Commonly the owners who stop strangers know that their dogs are not comfortable around any strangers. So, try not to get offended.

Be Prepared

The chances of things going south are really low when you are trying to approach a dog, but still being cautious won’t harm anyone. If you feel that the dog is not giving you the response that you were hoping for or the dog is showing aggression, then move away from the dog slowly while looking away. This will decrease your chances of getting a dog bite.
If the dog starts barking, never hit it with anything as it can make the dog even more angry which you really don’t want. In such cases, let the owner handle the dog.

Final Thoughts

Dogs are loving creatures and they have no reason to harm you unless you give them one. So, if you want to approach a dog, then try to remain calm. Don’t force any contact unless the dog lets you. And always listen to the owner as the owner knows what’s best for you and the dog. Just in case, a scenario occurs in which the dog bites you then don’t hit the dog. Just ask the owner or anyone around for help and seek the medical attention.


Author Bio: Willie May is a housewife, good mother, pet lover and a blogger. Auxier is her dog and Mimo is the name of her cat. She loves them very much. She has an aim to help other pet owners by sharing her experiences with her pets and that’s why she opened bestpets.co (her personal blog) in Feb, 2017.