People who love dogs often show affection to those they meet on the street. Knowing how to greet a new dog can prevent bites and keep the pet more comfortable. When greeting an animal, it is helpful to understand how dog behavior differs from human behavior. Here are some tips for a successful interaction.
Greet in the Right Order
Avoid any interaction with a dog without first acknowledging its human companion. Bypass this step and you risk the chance of making the human uncomfortable or angry. Dogs sense when their companions feel something is not right, and you could find yourself in an unpleasant interaction.
While many pet owners are happy for you to interact with their pet, it is not always a good time to say hello. If the dog has been sick or is highly stressed, it might see your approach as a threat. If you have a pet with you, the owner could be protecting it from the illness. Always ask before you approach a new dog.
The Fear Factor
Dogs are finely tuned to human emotion and can read your fear. Relax if you can, but if you cannot approach a dog without being fearful, it is best to avoid contact.
In the United States, maintaining eye contact with other humans is a requirement for effective communication with other people. In the dog world, eye contact is often seen as an attempt to establish dominance.
When approaching a dog on the sidewalk, avoid a head-on direction. Turn your body at a right angle to the approaching dog, but use your peripheral vision for observing its body language. If it appears tense or stiff, move back and give it more room to pass by you.
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