As pet lovers we have the best of intentions when showering love upon every dog we meet. However, even the nicest of dogs can sometimes be caught off guard and react with an unexpected negative response. Avoid the bite with these tips.

First, situations to avoid and when to be extra careful.

  • Never approach an aggressive dog, stray dog or one contained in a pen, behind a fence, or in a car.
  • Our natural reaction is to help an injured animal, but fearful, hurt animals don’t understand good intentions and may be defensive; call for professional help.Approaching dog

More likely, you’ll be walking in the neighborhood or enjoying family time at a park or public area where pets are welcome when you greet owners and their dogs.

  • Always ask for the owner’s permission to greet/pet their dog – not all dogs are friendly or like to be touched by strangers.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the dog.
  • Approach in a slightly sideways manner, never head on.
  • Don’t reach for the dog; let the dog finish the approach.
  • Allow the dog to sniff you.
  • Remain calm and quiet – too much energy and loud talking can create anxiety and fear.
  • Offer your fist, not your fingers first.
  • Do not get in the dog’s face or give the dog a hug – do you like strangers hugging and kissing you?
  • Pet the dog on the chest, back or sides rather than the head.

Click on this link to see a video on how to properly approach a dog:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/proper-approach-pet-11394390