I just came across this great poster and article by Dr. Sophia Yin relating proper dog greeting to how a human might greet a stranger. This is a very logical and effective way to think of greeting dogs. Best question to ask yourself “Would I run up and hug a total but cute stranger?” And if you say yes, would you be surprised if the stranger smacked you? Well then why would a dog not smack you for doing the same! Makes total palm-to-forehead sense to me!
Dr Yin is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, author, and international expert on Low Stress Handling. Her “pet-friendly” techniques for animal handling and behavior modification are shaping the new standard of care for veterinarians and petcare professionals.
Here is an excerpt of her article: (to read the entire article go to http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/preventing-dog-bites-by-learning-to-greet-dogs-properly?fb_action_ids=10202797390789458&fb_action_types=og.likes)
By Dr Sophia Yin
The consensus among animal behavior professionals is that the major cause of dog bites to humans is related to failure of owners and dog bite victims to recognize when dogs are fearful and know how to approach and greet dogs appropriately. But what exactly is the correct approach and why do so many people fail to do it?
One issue is that we humans have an instant gut reaction to the cuteness of some dogs. It’s the same reaction we had as a child when we saw a cute teddy bear or other stuffed animal. As a result we treat pets as if they are cuddly toys. While many dogs are friendly, cute, and love interacting with humans, they are definitely not toys. In fact, when you think about it, dogs are a bit like humans in that the same types of inappropriate greetings that would cause a human to be afraid or irritated would cause a dog to become fearful and even aggressive too. Here are some examples:
|Appropriate and inappropriate approaches: You’d probably feel threatened if someone randomly walked up to your car and stuck their hand into the window to reach for you. Similarly dogs may feel scared or violated if you reach into their safe space. It’s best to stand out of the dog’s safety/ threat zone and even look away so it’s clear you’re not some bad guy trying to break in.
|Appropriate and inappropriate approaches: People frequently see a cute pooch and want to rush up to pet him. Just as you might feel scared if a stranger or even an acquaintance ran right up to you, a dog may feel uncomfortable too. It’s best to approach slowly—at a leisurely walk while watching the dog for body language signs of fear (Download this poster showing fearful body language in dogs)
This is just an excerpt of her article. To read the entire article go to http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/preventing-dog-bites-by-learning-to-greet-dogs-properly?fb_action_ids=10202797390789458&fb_action_types=og.likes. It is a great read and she has a poster available for download showing these and more ways to avoid and how to properly approach dogs and people!