How to Greet a Dog Safely

How to Greet a Dog Safely

by / Wednesday, 26 September 2018 / Published in Dog Bites, Tips
Black and white dog with red leash in its mouth

Socializing a dog is an excellent way to help it learn how to react to new situations and meeting new people and other dogs. When dogs know how to handle these sorts of events, the more comfortable they will be and they’ll be less likely to bite or attack anyone. But there is always a learning curve and even if a dog is well-trained and normally friendly, there might be some times when the dog doesn’t want to be petted by other people. When you meet a new dog, here’s what you need to know to avoid being bitten when you say hello to it.

Check Body Language

Like humans, dogs tend to communicate their emotions through body language. A happy, friendly, and relaxed dog will have different body language from a dog that is nervous, scared, or angry. Learn about the different types of dog body language so you can tell what kind of mood a dog is in from a distance before you even approach it.

Ask Permission

If you’re meeting a dog for the first time ever, always ask the dog’s owner before petting it. In many cases, the owner will gladly give you permission to make friends with their pet, but you never know when there might be a reason why it might not be such a good idea. A dog might get anxious when meeting new people, or perhaps the dog is likely to bite for other reasons, such as being sick or injured.

Kneel Down

After you have permission from the dog’s owner to pet it, try to kneel down to its level to do so. You might have good intentions in leaning over to pet a dog, but some dogs might get intimidated and interpret it as a threat. Also, try not to face the dog straight on. Instead, turn your body a little bit so that your side is facing the dog. While it’s polite to talk to other people by facing them directly, that’s another thing that dogs might see as being threatening.

Give it a Hand

Before actually touching the dog, let the dog sniff your hand first. If the dog seems interested in being friends with you, start by petting the dog’s chest or the side of its body since those are less likely to be seen as a threat. If, for any reason, the dog suddenly withdraws and seems unfriendly, it’s best to leave the dog alone.

Even if you approach a dog as carefully as possible and still get bitten, don’t feel like it’s your fault. Contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your situation. In the state of Michigan, dog owners are almost always considered liable for injuries their dogs cause, even if the dog doesn’t have a history of being aggressive.

At Goodwin & Scieszka, we know that there are many dangers that we may encounter everyday, especially children. We are Metro Detroit personal injury lawyers who have helped our clients win child dog bite injury cases to playground injury claims for many years. Contact us today if you have been injured.