We've all heard about asking before greeting someone else's dog but here are three great steps that you might want to teach your kids - and use yourself. The steps are:
1. Ask the owner
1. Ask the Owner
Never rush towards a dog. Stop about about a metre away and ask the owner if you can pet the dog. If the owner says no, then please accept that and just stay and talk or say thank you and walk on. If the owner says yes then move onto step 2.
2. Ask the Dog
* If he comes forward with a waggy tail and open mouth then he's saying yes you can say hello.
* If he leans forward for a quick sniff and seems comfortable then he's probably saying yes but be sure to be nice and gentle with him.
* If he turns his head away, backs off, hides behind his owner, looks unhappy, ducks his head or growls then this means no - even if his owner says he's okay.
If the dog says yes then move onto step 3.
3. - Petting the dog
Dog's generally don't like hugs or having you pat them on the top of their head. They also might not be comfortable with you bending over them. If you've asked the owner about where the dog likes being petted then follow their advice (unless you feel the dog isn't happy - then back off)
Approaching the dog from the side rather than the front and stroking the side of his neck, rubbing under his chin, scratching his chest and petting his back are all usually good ideas. Do it slowly and gently but no so slowly that its freaky and not so gently that it tickles.
Important note: Pet a little bit and then stop - let the dog tell you if he's happy and wants you to continue (by moving towards you, looking towards you with an open mouth and happy tail) or stop (moving away from you).
We'll talk more about dog body language, human body language and how to touch a dog for a lot more benefit than just petting (for both human and animal) in future installments of Paws for Thought. Keep tuned.
The basis for these useful tips comes from a book by Colleen Pelar called 'Living with Kids and Dogs Without Losing Your Mind.'
Active one year old Jack is looking for a wonderful new home