How To Properly Greet A Dog You Don’t Know

USA, Washington, Enumclaw

(Picture Credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images)

It’s happened to all dog lovers. You’re out and about, you come across a cute looking dog, and you just want to go and say hello! But do you know the correct and safe way to approach the dog?

If you don’t greet a new dog in the correct way, you might risk inadvertently distressing the dog or causing them to react aggressively towards you.

Here are some essential tips on how to properly greet a dog you don’t know.

Make Sure To Ask Permission

First of all, when you want to greet a dog you don’t know, it’s vital to ask the permission of the dog’s human. Don’t just boldly walk up to a dog and assume that you’re okay to pet them; there are many reasons why that might not be the safest idea.

Some dogs are not friendly to strangers, and some are still in training. You won’t be helping the dog by abruptly approaching while they’re trying to stay calm or learn.

It’s also just common courtesy to ask the dog’s parent if you can pet their dog.

What You Should Do, Physically

Close-Up Of Dog Smelling Human Hand

(Picture Credit: Diana Janeway / EyeEm/Getty Images)

Once you’ve gotten permission to greet a dog you don’t know, the next step is to stay reserved and let the dog approach you. Avoid the temptation to invade the dog’s space.

Remember, if a dog appears reserved and doesn’t seem to want to come and greet you, respect their decision and move on.

When a dog approaches and shows that they’re ready to greet you, there are some simple physical steps you can take to make the interaction as calm and friendly as possible.

Some of the most common tips for greeting a dog you don’t know include:

  • Turn sideways to the dog, rather than head on
  • Kneel down so that you’re on the dog’s level
  • Avoid too much eye contact
  • Let the dog smell your hand — from a distance if need be
  • Don’t approach the dog from overhead or behind

Where You Should Pet, And How

After the dog seems ready to greet you, make sure that you use appropriate actions. Try and stick to petting the dog on their chest, back or sides, and avoid patting a dog you don’t know on the head or giving them a hug.

Additionally, always use slow and steady movements when greeting and petting the dog. This way, you’ll avoid startling the dog.

Finally, exercise caution if you’re attempting to greet a dog who’s running loose. Always let the dog come to you, especially if you can’t see their human.

Do you have any tips for greeting a dog you don’t know? Do you always ask permission from their human first? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!