We’ll be the first to admit: we are that person who simply cannot resist loving on any dog that crosses our path.
And since Austin is such a pet-friendly city, dog lovers are bound to run into new dogs at the store, park, or even our favorite restaurants. But, your excitement can be overwhelming and make some dogs nervous.
Keep the following 5 things in mind next time you’re meeting and greeting a new furry friend:
1. Ask permission. They may be a service dog, in training, or simply nervous, in which it may be best to avoid petting- but you won’t know unless you ask his human first.
2. Stay calm. Dogs are very intuitive and can easily pick up on and mimic our emotions. Showing fear or overexcitement will encourage the dog to do the same, which doesn’t always make for a smooth meeting.
3. Don’t be intimidating. Even if we’re unaware, things like sudden movements, direct eye contact, and standing over the dog can be seen as intimidating.
Instead, let the dog come to you, offer your hand for sniffing, and scratch neutral areas like the chest or chin.
4. Stay away from the face. Showering any and all dogs with hugs and kisses is oh so tempting, but also not so smart. This may cause anxiety, and gives them prime opportunity to nip at your face if they feel unsafe.
5. Watch their body language. Just like humans, dogs have boundaries. If they shift their weight away from you, move so you’re no longer in contact with their body, or revert their ears, that’s your cue to cease petting.
Meeting new dogs should be fun, and these tips help ensure a comfortable environment to do so. Respecting a dog’s personal space is simple and will ultimately lead to better relationships with the dogs and their humans.
What did we miss? Tell us your tried and true tips in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page!