One gets overzealous while meeting a dog for the first time. Why? You ask. Come on, how can one not get all amped up! Dogs are one of the cutest animals on planet earth. Their loyalty, playfulness, doll-like eyes and ever-smiling faces are to die for. However, it has happened that one gets bitten during the greeting process. For it not to happen, you must be sure to not let emotion get the best of you. Be patient and let things happen on their own.
Before we proceed further and talk about the dos and don'ts during meeting a dog, according to experts, here's a thumb rule that one should follow - no talking, no touching and no eye contact.
List of Dos:
-Let the dog approach
It is of utmost importance to be calm and slow when meeting a dog for the first time. If you want to approach a dog, do it in such a way that you do not come off as intimidating. Hold a steady posture and let the dog come to you. Try and avoid looking fearful as this may prompt the dog to be defensive. The right mix of care and confidence will do the trick.
-Let him sniff you
Dogs have a keen sense of smell. According to experts, they use scent to understand and make decisions about their environment. A few sniffs can tell a dog everything about you. By sniffing, they can even ascertain if you have had contact with another dog or not and if you have a dog of your own or not. They can also identify a person’s unique scent. Do not extend your hand to their face while they sniff. Let them do their bit, you will not regret it.
Dogs communicate through body language. In general, if a dog has a curved body and is wagging his tail while circling you, it is a good sign. Bowing down with front legs extended gesture says “Play with me!”. But at the same time be on the lookout for other signs that might tell that he is being combative - threatening mood, showing teeth or a stiff, erect tail. Decipher the body language and you are good to go.
While it is a common sight when people use baby voice to converse with a dog for the first time, the right way to converse with them is in your normal voice. Calm and low. A higher pitch noise can signal weakness and might stress out a dog. A good relationship must be established by exuding confidence and respect.
List of Don'ts
-Pet on the head is a complete no, no
Remember the thumb rule? No touching. Respect their boundaries. For a dog, it can be threatening when a new person, or a complete stranger, is petting them. If you want to pet him, only when he/she allows you to, start with the back or shoulder and then you can make your way up to their head. Only if they are comfortable.
-No looking directly
When meeting a dog for the first time, keep steady breathing and stay relaxed. As you approach the dog, do not bend over him. Standing over a dog posture is a dominant one. Let him come to you, squat but without looking at him or touching. Let him vet you. Staying calm and low says 'i'm not a threat'.
If you look directly, it can be perceived as a warning. Remember, you are a stranger to him.
Try and not to show your teeth while meeting a dog for the first time. In human language, a smile may mean friendly, but in dog language, showing teeth says, 'back off'. Smile but only after he/she has accepted you. If a dog is nervous, it might be interpreted as a growl. Always give time and space to the dog.