Can I Pet Your Dog ?

Can I pet your Dog?

This is a question as a Big Dog owner that I here a lot, don't get me wrong it's nice that people want to come and pet your dog, however there are certain times in a puppies life when they go through different development stages and it might not be OK to pet them.....

There is a great post on our Facebook page which explains this in more detail written by an experienced Cane Corso breeder.

*The Golden rule*

Always ASK the owners’ permission & don’t be offended if they say no, it’s only to protect you and the dog !

Meeting a dog and there owner on a walk

You will probably see dogs and there owners out enjoying a walk in the park or woodlands, so you will be aware that not all dogs look the same. 

They also don’t all behave the same, some have different roles / jobs:

Guard dog,

Protection dog,

Police dog

Assistance dog,

Sniffer dog

Rescue dog

Sheep dog

Family dog

and many more…

This means they have there own different instincts, personalities,temperaments and behaviours across breeds so we must not assume because one German Shepherd, Rottie or Doberman was OK to pet that another one will be the same, not every dog will like being approached or touched by a stranger !

Asking an owner if you can pet their dog

The best thing to do when meeting a dog for the first time, is to ask the owner if it’s OK to touch them, do not force yourself upon the dog or try to push the owner into letting you pet them, some examples of which are saying things like:

  • It’s OK I have petted loads of dogs he will be fine.
  • I just want give him a quick pet on the head.
  • It’s fine he won’t bite me.
  • Is he not friendly?.

Note: If the owner says No! just say thanks and walk away.

So how can you tell whether to approach or not ?

Well first off dogs are a lot more intelligent than we think, so the dog will have processed your scent, read your body language, and somehow read your mind before you have even got the words out…..can I pet your dog !

Relaxed Dog

It's at this point you must return the favour by reading the dogs body language, because he or she will be shouting it at you, not literally of course unless you have a magic dog that speaks lol.

  •  

Main Signs to look out for….. (images of dogs and there owners)

Body language….. What is the dog trying to tell you ?

The Eyes : are believed to be the window to the soul in humans, this can also apply to dogs, but just because they can look evil does not always mean they are !

Q-are the eyes winking, happy and relaxed looking ?

A-this can indicate that the dog is relaxed and happy

Q -are they narrow, piercing and staring right at you ?

A- best to walk away the dog is protecting his owner, feeling challenged or aggressive and does not want touched.

Q-are they big, wide and showing the whites of there eyes and avoiding contact with yours ?

A-this could mean the dog is not confident or nervous.

Q-are the eyes showing lots of white in an upward position, wide open almost smiling?

A-the dog is happy but in a playful perhaps mischievous mood

Mouth : can tell us a lot about the dog and how they are feeling but be careful to read the rest of the body language.

Q-is the mouth open relaxed and tongue hanging out ?

A-this dog is OK to pet with the owners’ permission

Q-is the mouth closed and tense looking ?

A-this dog is unsure and should not be petted.

Q-is the mouth open, displaying teeth and licking lips?

A-the dog is extremely nervous or scared and may show signs of aggression if challenged…. best to leave this dog alone either way he is not happy being touched.

Q- is the mouth open, lips pursed, tense, displaying teeth and with a snarl ?

A-This dog is in full fight mode ….walk on, do not approach or engage the dog with your eyes

Ears : can often tell us a lot about what the dog is thinking by there position.

Q- are they relaxed and or floppy ?

A- this dog is relaxed, happy and confident

Q-are they pinned back and raised up slightly possibly one forward ?

A-this dog is alert, not sure, and may be scarred or nervous

Q- are the ears perked, all the way back and pointing out ?

A-this dog is showing signs of aggression and protecting his owner do not approach !

Tail : this is an important part of a dog communication even if the tail has been docked you can still tell how they are feeling.

Q- is the tail relaxed and wiggling side to side ?
A-this dog is exited but happy

Q-is the dogs tail low or tucked in tight ?

A-this dog is scarred or nervous and could react so best to leave alone.

Q-is the tail stiff and up ?

A-the dog is could be ready for confrontation and should not be approached or touched

(images of dogs in different states)

Posture / Position : dogs can tell us a lot by positioning there body in many ways.

Q- is the dog lying down or on there side ?

A- the dog is very relaxed

Q- is the dog in a sitting position slightly behind there owner ?

A-the dog is looking for approval from the owner that it’s OK

Q-is the dog making itself as small as possible and cowering behind it’s owner ?

A-this dog is very unsure and wary and should not be pressured into being petted.

Q-is the dog lunching forward and jumping up and down

A- be careful this can mean a couple of things, the dog is either very exited or warning you off

Vocalization : this is another way of dogs communicating (what we would call speaking) this can be Barking, Growling, Whining and even howling .

This vocal sound (Language) is based on 3 things-

  1. Frequency, the number of times sound is heard
  2. Repeated rate of sound
  3. Pitch of sound, high / low

Q- is the dog Barking excessively, in a low pitch and growling or getting noticeably louder as you approach ?

A- this dog is being territorial or protective.

Q-is the dog Barking in a high pitch repeatedly ?

A-this dog is saying I am OK to play

Q-is the dog barking in a low pitch but intermittently?

A- the dog may be scared or nervous

Q- is the dog Barking fast but in small but often bursts ?

A- this could signal a potential crisis or threat

  • If you believe you have read all the signs the Dog has given you, and you have asked the owners’ permission then proceed to how pet a dog the right way observing the dogs posture and signals at all times.

(images of people petting dogs)

 

How to pet a Dog the right way….

  • Always follow the Golden rule above and engage conversation with the owner first
  • when approaching the dog be calm, no running up to them.
  • No shouting & try to avoid head on greets as this may be perceived as engagement
  • stand side on to the dog to make yourself less threatening to the dog
  • keep your hands relaxed, at your side & don’t be afraid
  • allow the dog time to come to you and pick up your scent
  • speak to the owner again and ignore the dog for the first few minutes
  • avoid direct eye contact with the dog

(image of areas to pet dog)

  • Don’t lean over the dog, instead lower your body posture slightly
  • offer your hand upwards to the dog with Pam facing upward
  • aim for under the head just above chest area or the side high up on the dogs body
  • don’t hesitate or be too soft dogs generally like a positive pet

note : for me (finish off with summarizing the key points to look out for)

  • Looking for signals that the dog is happy to be touched
  • Correct place to pet the dog
  • Things never to do to an unfamiliar dog that may result in disaster for you and the dog
    • Things to look out for that the dog is trying to tell you

 

 

  •  
  • It’s OK I have petted loads of dogs he will be fine
  • I just want give him a quick pet on the head
  • It’s fine he won’t bite me
  • Is he not friendly?

note: If the owner says No! just say thanks and walk away.

:

This means they have there own different instincts, personalities,temperaments and behaviours across breeds so we must not assume because one German Shepherd, Rottie or Doberman was OK to pet that another one will be the same, not every dog will like being approached or touched by a stranger !

So how can you tell whether to approach or not ?

  • Well first off dogs are a lot more intelligent than we think, so the dog will have processed your scent, read your body language, and somehow read your mind before you have even got the words out…..can I pet your dog
  • It’s at this point you must return the favour by reading the dogs body language, because he or she will be shouting it at you, not literally of course unless you have a magic dog that speaks lol.

Main Signs to look out for…..

Body language….. What is the dog trying to tell you ?

The Eyes : are believed to be the window to the soul in humans, this can also apply to dogs, but just because they can look evil does not always mean they are !

Q-are the eyes winking, happy and relaxed looking ?

A-this can indicate that the dog is relaxed and happy

Q -are they narrow, piercing and staring right at you ?

A- best to walk away the dog is protecting his owner, feeling challenged or aggressive and does not want touched.

Q-are they big, wide and showing the whites of there eyes and avoiding contact with yours ?

A-this could mean the dog is not confident or nervous.

Q-are the eyes showing lots of white in an upward position, wide open almost smiling?

A-the dog is happy but in a playful perhaps mischievous mood

Mouth : can tell us a lot about the dog and how they are feeling but be careful to read the rest of the body language.

Q-is the mouth open relaxed and tongue hanging out ?

A-this dog is OK to pet with the owners’ permission

Q-is the mouth closed and tense looking ?

A-this dog is unsure and should not be petted.

Q-is the mouth open, displaying teeth and licking lips?

A-the dog is extremely nervous or scared and may show signs of aggression if challenged…. best to leave this dog alone either way he is not happy being touched.

Q- is the mouth open, lips pursed, tense, displaying teeth and with a snarl ?

A-This dog is in full fight mode ….walk on, do not approach or engage the dog with your eyes

Ears : can often tell us a lot about what the dog is thinking by there position.

Q- are they relaxed and or floppy ?

A- this dog is relaxed, happy and confident

Q-are they pinned back and raised up slightly possibly one forward ?

A-this dog is alert, not sure, and may be scarred or nervous

Q- are the ears perked, all the way back and pointing out ?

A-this dog is showing signs of aggression and protecting his owner do not approach !

Tail : this is an important part of a dog communication even if the tail has been docked you can still tell how they are feeling.

Q- is the tail relaxed and wiggling side to side ?
A-this dog is exited but happy

Q-is the dogs tail low or tucked in tight ?

A-this dog is scarred or nervous and could react so best to leave alone.

Q-is the tail stiff and up ?

A-the dog is could be ready for confrontation and should not be approached or touched

(images of dogs in different states)

Posture / Position : dogs can tell us a lot by positioning there body in many ways.

Q- is the dog lying down or on there side ?

A- the dog is very relaxed

Q- is the dog in a sitting position slightly behind there owner ?

A-the dog is looking for approval from the owner that it’s OK

Q-is the dog making itself as small as possible and cowering behind it’s owner ?

A-this dog is very unsure and wary and should not be pressured into being petted.

Q-is the dog lunching forward and jumping up and down

A- be careful this can mean a couple of things, the dog is either very exited or warning you off

Vocalisation : this is another way of dogs communicating (what we would call speaking) this can be Barking, Growling, Whining and even howling .

This vocal sound (Language) is based on 3 things-

  1. Frequency, the number of times sound is heard
  2. Repeated rate of sound
  3. Pitch of sound, high / low

Q- is the dog Barking excessively, in a low pitch and growling or getting noticeably louder as you approach ?

A- this dog is being territorial or protective.

Q-is the dog Barking in a high pitch repeatedly ?

A-this dog is saying I am OK to play

Q-is the dog barking in a low pitch but intermittently?

A- the dog may be scared or nervous

Q- is the dog Barking fast but in small but often bursts ?

A- this could signal a potential crisis or threat

  • If you believe you have read all the signs the Dog has given you, and you have asked the owners’ permission then proceed to how pet a dog the right way observing the dogs posture and signals at all times.

 

How to pet a Dog the right way….

  • Always follow the Golden rule above and engage conversation with the owner first
  • when approaching the dog be calm, no running up to them.
  • No shouting & try to avoid head on greets as this may be perceived as engagement
  • stand side on to the dog to make yourself less threatening to the dog
  • keep your hands relaxed, at your side & don’t be afraid
  • allow the dog time to come to you and pick up your scent
  • speak to the owner again and ignore the dog for the first few minutes
  • avoid direct eye contact with the dog
  • Don’t lean over the dog, instead lower your body posture slightly
  • offer your hand upwards to the dog with Pam facing upward
  • aim for under the head just above chest area or the side high up on the dogs body
  • don’t hesitate or be too soft dogs generally like a positive pet

  • Looking for signals that the dog is happy to be touched
  • Correct place to pet the dog
  • Things never to do to an unfamiliar dog that may result in disaster for you and the dog
    • Things to look out for that the dog is trying to tell you