This may seem like a silly question and one of the simplest things to do but it is quite surprising how many get it wrong, and it can cause big problems.
At Yellow Dog charity obviouslytheir message is very much not to approach a Yellow Dog at all, unless the owner says it is ok but nevertheless it is still important to understand how best to approach and say hello to a dog in all circumstances. It may seem an obvious event but it is important that this fleeting moment is handled correctly, to keep everyone safe and happy. There is a useful phrase called the 3 C’s of Canine Choice which helps us all to easily remember the safest way to interact with dogs.
- Check – Ask the dog handler if it is ok to approach the dog and even if they say yes, do trust your own judgement as to whether you really need to say hello or they look relaxed and want your attention !
- Call – call to the dog and encourage them to decide if they wish to interact with you., even turning slightly away from the dog.
- Count – if the dog seems keen to say hello, stroke them on the shoulder with 3 strokes and then stop so they can move on if they wish.
Some dogs just do not want to be fussed over. Remember not all dogs do want to say hello at all, be stroked or hugged and this is not a personal shrug against you, but they are dogs! They can find strangers frightening or they are just not interested in people and that’s ok! Many of us are just so keen to stroke and fuss dogs but often, if sometimes challenging, it is better to just give a friendly nod to the dog handler and even the dog and just continue walking past. Many dogs can get frustrated whilst their handlers chat when really they want to get on with their walk and sniffing!
So it is so relevant to be clear about understanding and respecting dogs and why this is so important and can make all the difference when out and about interacting and socializing, helping to keep the dogs happy as well as the people around them. Considering all these issues can really be relevant with so many dogs.
So hopefully these little tips will help next time you want to say hello to a dog so that you feel confident and considerate about the best way to spend your time out and about with dogs.