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  • Writer's pictureValerie Brewer

Mastering Manners: Approaching Dogs with Grace and Respect

When it comes to interacting with our four-legged companions, understanding and practicing proper manners is essential for a positive and safe experience. Here's a guide on how to approach dogs with the respect and consideration they deserve.

1. Ask Permission:

Before reaching out to pet a dog, always ask the owner for permission. Some dogs may be anxious or uncomfortable around strangers, and their owner knows them best. A simple, "May I pet your dog?" goes a long way.

2. Approach Slowly:

Approach the dog calmly and slowly, avoiding sudden movements. Quick motions can startle dogs, leading to anxiety or fear responses. Allow the dog to see you coming and gauge their comfort level.

3. Use a Neutral Posture:

Avoid direct eye contact, crouching over the dog, or reaching out suddenly. Instead, maintain a neutral posture by standing or crouching at their level. This minimizes the perception of a threat and helps the dog feel more at ease.

4. Let the Dog Come to You:

Allow the dog to initiate contact. Extend your hand gently, palm down, and let them come forward to sniff. This allows the dog to control the interaction and build trust at their own pace.

5. Pay Attention to Body Language:

Observe the dog's body language for signs of comfort or discomfort. Relaxed posture, wagging tails, and perked ears generally indicate a positive response. However, if a dog appears tense, avoids eye contact, or lowers its tail, it might be best to give them space.

6. Mind the No-Go Zones:

Avoid sensitive areas like the ears, paws, or tail unless you're certain the dog is comfortable with it. Some dogs are sensitive in these areas, and touching them there might trigger discomfort.

7. Respect Personal Space:

Just like humans, dogs appreciate personal space. Refrain from overwhelming them with hugs or excessive petting. Pay attention to cues and adjust your interaction accordingly.

8. Be Mindful of Noise and Activity:

Dogs can be sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements. When approaching a dog, try to keep the environment calm and quiet to prevent unnecessary stress.

By incorporating these manners into your interactions with dogs, you not only create a positive experience for yourself but also contribute to the well-being and happiness of our canine friends. Remember, a little consideration goes a long way in building trust and fostering positive relationships with our furry companions.


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