It is in the nature of us humans to greet the people that we meet in our everyday lives. We might not greet everyone we see, but we sure don’t miss a chance to reply to a friendly face. And while doing so, we try to make sure that we make the right conversation and our gestures and facial expressions are friendly enough to make the other person feel fully comfortable. Now when we get to meet pet animals like a dog or a cat, then we tend to stick to the same principles – because we love them.
For ages, humans and dogs have been sharing this special bond of love, trust and loyalty. So, whenever we see a dog walking by on us on the street, the first thing that comes to our mind is befriending that dog and petting it. The feeling is pure joy. Even though not all of us have pet dogs in our home, there is still this sense of affection that we all have when it comes to these adorable creatures.
However, in order to get a dog’s attention, we are supposed to create an environment in which they can feel safe. Most of the time when we greet a dog, the dog responds in a friendly way. But it is not always advisable to approach a strange dog without taking certain measures. So, here are a few tips you can keep in mind whenever you find yourself greeting a strange dog.
1. Always Ask the Owner Before Approaching a Dog!
One of the most common encounters with dogs is usually while they are walking with their owners. Now, if you feel like approaching that dog, then don’t rush into it and start petting their dog. This can offend the owner as well as scare the dog or make it anxious. It is always advised to get permission from the owner before making any direct approach since you have no way of knowing if the dog is even comfortable in a stranger’s company or not.
Also, the dog can act out of aggression and harm you. So, asking the owner for permission will save you from any trouble and if the owner gives you a green light, then you can approach the dog. The owner can also help you better understand their dog. Most dog owners are more than happy to talk about their dogs with you.
And – if the owner says, “no” to you, then respect their decision.
2. Let the Dog Approach You
It is always best if you let the dog make the first approach. This can help the dog in getting to know you more, and also become comfortable around you. Generally, dogs sniff before making the first contact, so let the dog do what it wants. Make sure that you don’t do anything stupid to scare the dog as they are very concerned about their personal space.
Dogs who are approaching a stranger are generally very alert and conscious of what’s happening around them. Also, they monitor every one of your movements. Make sure that you behave as friendly as you can. The sniffing generally gives them more than enough information about you. But still, they can take some time to feel friendly around you.
Don’t be impatient to pet them or play with them. Just give the dog some time and space and it will eventually get comfortable.
3. Body Language is the Key
Your body language is what defines your relationship with a dog. If your body is stiff, then the dog will find it hard to get comfortable around you, but if you are more relaxed and cool around it, then the dog will also relax and be more apt to play with you.
Also, make sure you let the dog know about your intentions by doing certain hand gestures and keeping a smile on your face. Because they can get suspicious about your hand movements and actually start thinking of you as a threat.
One thing that sets humans apart from animals is the eye contact. For us, eye contact is one of the basic tools of communication. But for an animal like a dog, if a stranger is making eye contact then it is a signal of threat or an attack so they take it as one. It helps to not make direct eye contact with the dog right off the bat.
4. Keeping the Right Behavior
It is true that keeping up the good behavior can help you come out as a friendly person. Good manners can be easily noticed by humans as well as by animals. A dog can clearly read your behavior and know your intentions from far off. So, to make sure that dogs don’t treat you as a threat, always show your best behavior to them.
One thing you can do to look friendly is just to squat down when making contact with the dog. Since you are taller, you can intimidate the dog if you bend over it. Also, try to avoid touching its face while making any contact. While petting a strange dog, just stick to rubbing the back and shoulders.
5. Mind the Space
Just like people, dogs also have a defined personal space and they can become really uncomfortable when someone enters that space. Let the dog decide how close it wants to be around you.
If you are seeing the dog for the first time, don’t go too close too quickly. It is always the best choice to stay put and let the dog decide. After two or three meetings, that space will eventually decrease and the dog will become more relaxed around you.
Whenever you consider approaching a strange dog, remember to follow these simple tips for becoming friends with a dog. Most dogs are very friendly animals and will take zero to no time in getting comfortable around you if you give them the chance.
All you have to do is respect their space and not appear threatening to them. Once a dog gets familiar with your intentions and becomes comfortable around you, it will eventually let you pet it and even play with it.