We posted this illustrated poster on the proper way to greet a dog on our facebook page a while back and it got such a big reaction that we thought it would be worthwhile to post it here as well.

Dog safety is so important for both the people (especially children), and the dogs – a dog that bites doesn’t have a great life expectancy.  So many bites are preventable.  Dogs are descended from  predators and can still display a predators hard-wired  reaction to certain body language.

How to Greet a Dog

  1. In the first illustration he man may be coooeing to the dog but leaning over a dog is something the dog can percieve as both threatening and dominating.
  2. In illustration 2 the dog is being patted on the head by a stranger. This also can be perceived as dominant and somewhat threatening  by many dogs. While many dogs will tolerate this behaviour the better action on the human’s part would be to reach up under the dog’s head and stroke the cheek or neck.
  3. Illustration 3 –  Hugging is  a primate behaviour – monkeys, chimps, humans like to hug – wolves not so much – many dogs do learn to accept this behaviour but don’t presume with a strange dog. In wild dogs this type of behaviour would only be seen in a display of dominance intended to force a less dominant dog to show submission.
  4. Eye to eye contact can be perceived as a threat / challenge.
  5. A happy high-toned voice is a good thing but don’t over do the volume.
  6. If the dog in question is already feeling a bit overwhelmed – this is facial reconstructive surgery waiting to happen.
  7. When approaching a strange dog a sideway body posture and glancing looks from the sides of your eyes is much less threatening than a straight on body posture.  Let the dog approach you and watch his body language to tell if and when he is ready for more contact.