We have been greeting dogs the wrong way forever. Here is how...

We have been greeting dogs the wrong way forever. Here is how it should be done…


Many people think that they are dog experts and they know everything about dogs. But it turns out that we all have been greeting dogs the wrong way for, well forever. I am one of those people too, to think that dogs love to be pet, spoiled or even kissed, but guess what, noooo. Dogs have a personal space of their own, and they don’t like it when strangers approach and start acting like family. You all should know that dog love to be around people, but we should always be gentle and patient enough to let them do the first move.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that dogs don’t like it when people act nice towards them, it is just that they need you to give them a little bit of space at the beginning. These creatures are very sensitive, and they might feel overwhelmed by the idea that some total strangers want to treat them the same way their family does. Be patient, try to let them get familiar for a couple of seconds and instantly the dog will start “begging” you to pet him and kiss him, and hug him.

In the following illustration, you will be able to learn all the do’s and the don’ts when you first get to meet a dog. As I said, dogs want to feel safe before they let anyone approach them. That is the reason why some dogs might bite you because they feel threatened by you, not because they are mean and vicious. I hope you enjoy the following illustration as much as I did, and please remember to keep these advices in mind.

greeting dogs

Credit: Lili Chin



  1. On the “no eye contact and approach sideways or back”, that has produced some rather comic and awkward situations, with some people nearly tripping over their own feet. The difference between a hard stare and casual gaze is similar in most dogs to the same in people. You really don’t need peripheral vision, just not locking eye contact and a hard stare. Just note what you normally do when walking by other people. If you watch dogs, they’ll do the same with others.

    The side approach is awkward and unnatural, never used by dogs, and will make some far more anxious. Instead, I just walk slowly but normally, and over to their side, instead of directly at the dog. If they get tense, just stop moving until the dog relaxes. You always want to maintain a relaxed body language, and you should never follow any instructions that result in awkward movements.

    And if I petted a very scared dog on the side of his body, I’d expect to be bitten. I’ll start below their muzzle, with no holding pressure, and allow them to respond or move away.