It’s important to teach kids how to greet a dog. They need to understand that dogs are not always predictable and to respect them.
Dogs are animals and we can never know for sure what they are thinking, or how they might act.
The dog could be walking on a leash with its owner or it could be a friend’s dog or family dog in its home environment.
- Approach calmly. Rapid movements toward the dog may frighten or excite him.
- Look downward at the dog’s paws while you greet him. Dogs don’t like to be stared at and they may think you are challenging them. They might growl or bite if you look them in the eyes.
- Be sure the dog sees you before coming too close. A dog surprised by suddenly being touched might bite
- Stand sideways. Standing with your side or shoulder facing the dog is less threatening to the dog and you avoid leaning over him which can cause the dog to be uncomfortable.
- Keep hands in close and in a fist. Allow the dog to sniff on his own initiative. Dogs are more likely to bite fingers if the hand is stretching out to him because he might think it is a threat.
- Move sideways calmly and slowly away from the dog.
- Crouch down sideways to greet small dogs or dogs that are lying down. This is less intimidating to the dog.
- Let the dog come to you.
- Pet the dog on the side of the neck or chest.
- Move your hands calmly and slowly as you pet the dog.
- Respect the dog’s resting place. Dogs might bite to protect their things and space.
- Respect the dog’s feeding place, food and water dishes, treats etc.
- Ask an adult to get something the dog may have stolen (a toy etc.).
- Stand still like a tree if the dog gets too excited or aggressive.
Things NOT to do around a dog:
Do Not run. Dogs chase things that run!
Do Not scream. Dogs don’t understand screaming and crying, it may frighten them, or cause them to bite because they think you are dangerous and a threat.
Do Not hug or kiss a dog. Dogs don’t like hugs and kisses and can feel threatened and might bite.
Do Not sit on a dog’s back.
Do Not put your face in the dog’s face.
Do Not play tug of war or chase games with a dog.
Do Not put your hand in a car, crate, pen or any place the dog is confined.
Do Not approach a dog that is tied up.
Do Not approach a dog while he’s eating, drinking, chewing or lying on his bed or beside an object.
Do Not go into the dog’s yard to get a toy.
Do Not pull your hand away if a dog tries to sniff.
Do Not run away screaming or crying no matter how scary the dog seems.
Do Not back away from a dog that is barking or growling. Movement is the action that triggers the dog.
Do Not interact with any dog unless there is an adult supervising.
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