Would you go up to a stranger in the street and give her a hug or stick your hand in their face? Well I wouldn't but it happens all to often unfortunately with dogs.  Learn how to greet strange dogs safely and politely so you can more easily make new canine friends.

Always ask permission first. If the answer is no, respect that and let the dog be. Trust the owner’s judgment and keep away. Once you’ve asked for the owner’s permission, it’s time to ask for the dog’s. Rather than sticking your hand in the dog’s face or reaching out for pets, wait for the dog to come to you. Hold your hand in a fist so they can approach and sniff if they choose. Let the dog have the final word.

There's a right and wrong way to greet a dog.

How Not to Greet a Dog:
Most people do this stuff and it stresses dogs out so they BITE! Please show dogs some respect.

1) Don't Lean over the dog and stick your hand in his face
2) Don't Lean over the dog and stick your hand on top of his head
3) Don't grab or hug him
4) Don't stare him in the eye (This is an adversarial gesture)
5) Don't Squeal or shout in his face
6) Don't Grab his head and kiss it (This is an invasion of space)

Doing these things to a dog who doesn't know you is like a perfect stranger giving you a great big hug and kiss in an elevator. Wouldn't that creep you out? And wouldn't you have the right to defend yourself?

The Correct Way to Greet a Dog:
* No Eye contact
* Let the dog approach you in his own time
* Keep your SIDE towards the dog (non-threatening posture)
* Pet or stroke him on the SIDE of his face of body. Or on his back

Running up to another dog and ignoring results to go away is not "friendly", it is rude. Just like people, dogs need personal space. If a stranger came up and put his hands on your body, you'd be allowed to step back, yell, and push him away. Dogs have the same right to enforce their boundaries. Some dogs are called "reactive" because they are more sensitive than others. Reactive dogs are good dogs, they just need more distance and compassionate training. You can help them by honoring their need for personal space.

Space Etiquette for Dogs:
To people with "friendly dogs," off leash dogs, & retractable leash dogs
1. Never let your off-leash dog go up to an on-leash dog
2. Lock retractable leashes when you see other dogs
3. Ask before approaching or petting a dog
4. Have compassion for people with shy or reactive dogs

Use Caution With Dogs on the Loose. Let them come to you and keep your body language calm and non-threatening. This is particularly important for children.

All kids should know the Be a Tree technique for whenever they encounter a dog on the loose. Be a Tree refers to standing still with your arms tucked into your sides and your hands folded in front of you while you look down. This is the safest posture for kids around a loose dog because they aren’t doing anything to threaten or spook the dog like making eye contact or triggering the dog’s chase response with movement. Practice this posture with a friendly dog until it comes naturally to your child. Once you and your child know Be a Tree and all the rules for greeting on-leash dogs, you can confidently and safely greet any new dog you encounter.

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