Interacting with a dog is a subject that should be approached calmly, especially if it is the first time. Understanding will make the first contact with the dog easier and more pleasant. Meeting and greeting unfamiliar dogs is not as simple a task as it seems and requires that the person in question knows how to respect how the dog feels.
Greeting an unfamiliar dog: elements to take into consideration
Several elements are involved when greeting a dog, being the body language, mood, the environment and the approach itself, fundamental factors. To properly greet a dog, the person needs to pay attention to what he or she is conveying with movements and gestures, as these can have a direct impact on the animal’s reaction.
Abrupt and sudden movements, poses that may be intimidating to the dog, leaning over him, staring into his eyes, among others, should be avoided as much as possible.
It is important to understand that dogs, just like humans, can feel intimidated, uncomfortable or even in a situation of imminent risk if a stranger, or even an acquaintance, approaches them too confidently, effusively and without giving them time to process what is happening. A dog’s personal space (his safe zone) is a line that must be respected, regardless of the situation.
The interaction between the dog’s owner and the person is also essential, as the owner’s body language can make the dog confident or aggressive to those around him.
The environment and the state of mind of both the dog and the people are factors that cannot be neglected.
How do you properly greet an unfamiliar dog?
To greet the dog properly, it is recommended to approach the owner of the animal first, at a slow, relaxed pace and from the side, before interacting directly with the dog.
It is not recommended to approach the dog from the front or from behind, as well as to look him in the eyes for a long time, since this will immediately put him on alert, making it difficult to interact with him.
It is necessary for the person to first interact with the owner to ask if he/she can approach to greet the dog, maintaining at all times a distance that respects the dog’s personal space.
In case of a positive response, it is best to wait for the dog to make the first movement to avoid discomfort. If the dog does not show signs of fear or aggression (he tenses up, hides his tail, tries to move away), then you can greet him with a caress on his shoulders, chest or neck, but with gentleness.
We cannot assure that this method is accurate and functions according to what is desired, as it is an action that depends on different factors. So we can assure you that the only viable option is to remain relaxed and understanding, avoiding reactions or movements that may frighten the dog.
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