How to Approach a New Dog You Don't Know

How to Approach a New Dog You Don't Know

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If youโ€™re a dog lover, it might be natural for you to walk up to any new dog and pet it or give it a treat in the very first meeting. The fact is that these are the exact behaviors that might instill fear in a strange dog. In fact, it might even cause him to become physically aggressive with the new person.Letโ€™s learn a few things about how to approach a new dog!

  • Avoid having a face-to-face introduction with the animalIt is important to understand that just like human beings, dogs have certain boundaries too. They dislike being started at or watched intently by any new person. This is why you will notice that dogs approach new people (and animals) in curves. So the ideal way of approaching a new dog is have your side rather than your front towards him. This will prevent it from feeling uncomfortable and/or threatened.
  • Greet the owner firstIf you want to make friends with a new dog, you should always greet and connect with the owner or handler first. Have a conversation with this person and ignore the animal completely. You will find that the dog will automatically start warming up to you and may even invite you to pet him!
  • Allow him to do a thorough examination without movingDonโ€™t move when the dog does a sniffing trip around you. Give him all the time he need for completing this routine task. Remember, dogs take this examination very seriously and may sniff your hand incessantly before declaring a friendship. After the animal seems satisfied with his inspection, you may slowly take the same hand and pet or scratch the dog gently (dogs like to be touched behind the ear and take it as a gesture of affection). Keep a constant watch on his reaction and never insist if he feels nervous with your behavior or movement.
  • Donโ€™t be scaredIf youโ€™re always scared of approaching or meeting new dog, then this fear will be sensed by the animal almost instantly. And fear can cause a dog to become aggressive. If youโ€™re afraid for some reason, it is best to avoid the meeting altogether. There is a possibility that your gut is saving you from a potentially ugly scene.
  • Pet the animal correctlyA lot of people tend to get excited and pet a new dog without thinking whether or not it is the correct way of showing affection. As a general rule, avoid petting the top of a dogโ€™s head. It is best to pet him under the chin, below the head or on the sides and chest area.
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