6 Things You Should Not do, When You Meet a Dog

As is the case in every household with a dog, my dog too is treated like a family member. And as is the case with every dog owner, my greatest dog problem at times is not the dog, but the new people who meet my dog. Maybe, I’m being a bit too harsh; it’s not their fault, really. I mean, yes, you do need some experience when it comes to handling dogs. I understand, but I forget all of these reassurances when I see how people go crazy and flip out when they meet my dog, and in the process flip my poor pet out, who, in turn, again flips the people out. While, no one can be blamed in this whole “flip out” cycle; a little bit of help, will manage to bring a whole lot of good. Befriending a dog for the first time is no rocket science or a valiant act of bravery. Basically, the process is pretty much like the one you’d follow when you meet a human for the first time.

Do NOT invade space: We, being humans, keep whining for space. Be it space in relationships, in careers or whatever, space is all we want. How can you not expect a dog to want the same! I know he’s furry and adorable. But NO, none of that means you get to squeeze the life out the poor being. When a stranger invades a dog’s space, he starts to feel threatened and gets snappy. Keep a safe distance and avoid eye contact. The best position to take is- standing with your side or back faced towards the dog. Once he deems you as “safe”, he’ll come to you on his own. Don’t rush and scare him away.

Do NOT Lean Over: Now, after his own observations, the dog has deduced that you’re no threat. So he starts moving towards you. This is no invitation for you to act like some long lost buddy. Don’t run towards the dog and don’t lean over him. Stay calm and collected. And continue avoiding eye contact. However, make sure to note the dog’s body language as he approaches you. If his tail is wagging and body is wiggling, it’s good news. On the other hand, if he’s panting heavily or he’s tightly wound, it means, he’s still not up for socializing. Either way, let the dog sniff you to his heart’s content. As for you, keep up with that “it’s-no-big-deal” attitude for the time being.

Do NOT stick your hands in front of his face: He’s just begun to open up to you, so keep your hands to yourself. Or it’ll only be a matter of time before he smacks it. The two most important regions you keep hands-free are- the dog’s face and head. They don’t like their heads being touched. Think about it, you’ve just started talking to a person, would you like it, if he started touching your face or head? Similarly, do not hug, kiss or carry the dog. He will voluntarily let you know, what areas are “pet-able” and what areas are not.

Do NOT pet too much: This step is most helpful to figure if the dog likes you and sees you as a friend. You can start petting the dog, once he lets you know where you can pet him. But don’t get carried away. Pet for a few times, and then stop. Wait and see how the dog responds. If he moves away from you, it means, you’re done here. Your services are no longer needed; thank you very much. However, if he moves closer to you after you’ve stopped, it means you can carry on petting.

Do NOT squeal or shout: The moment of finally being accepted by the dog is completely joyous, I understand. But please, don’t jump about squeaking and screaming in exultation. You’ve come this far, you don’t want to send the dog and your efforts, running to the hills. Save the victory dance for later. For now, just enjoy with your new friend.

Do NOT offer treats, not unless it’s approved by the owner. “But he’s a dog! They all like treats!” you’ll say. But remember, you don’t live with the pet. You have no idea what he should be fed and when. At best, ask the owner’s permission and suggestion.

To ease up the process, here is a quick tip- before you begin any communication with the dog, ask the owner for permission. He’ll tell you, if the dog is friendly, sociable and touchable. This will help you decide, whether you actually want to befriend the dog or not.

Rachel Miller is the writer of this article. She works for Adorable Pets. It has recently launched an online pet accessories website, which sells various kind of products for the pet to make them look cute and stylish.
By Guest Author

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