Dogs are everywhere these days. It currently looks like someone spilled them all over my floor. So even if you don’t own a dog, you’re likely still coming into contact with them on a regular basis.
And although most dogs owners think of their pups as their children, dogs are not human. So whether or not you’re a dog owner, there are some things about them that everyone should know:
1. Never approach a dog that isn’t yours.
Let the dog come to you. Call it over, or use treats if it doesn’t come to you and you need it.
2. Always ask a dog’s handler before you interact with the dog.
It’s also a good idea to ask a dog’s owner before you let your dogs approach their dogs. If a dog’s handler asks you not to approach their dogs, don’t get all mad at the situation. They are most likely doing it to protect you.
3. Leave Service Dogs alone. They are working.
Unless invited by the handler, do not disturb a working service dog. Not even by just trying to get his attention. Or to give him a rub. Remember he has a job that he takes very seriously and shouldn’t be distracted.
4. Never approach a handler and dog with a yellow ribbon tied to the leash.
A yellow ribbon tied to a leash means please don’t bother the dog. I wish everyone had known this when working with the terrible trio. So many times I had to ask people to please not touch the dogs. Pantera was a terribly nervous dog, and his brother very protective of him, but they are so stinking cute that everyone wanted to touch them.
5. Don’t stare.
Unless you have a close bond with the dog, eye to eye staring is a sign of aggression. Dogs may like to look into their loving owner’s eyes. But not so much with others.
6. Dogs can read your face.
Research shows that dogs are the only animals that can read the emotions on your face similar to humans. They can tell by looking at our faces if we are happy, angry or sad.
7. They also understand body language.
Try to project non-threatening behavior around unfamiliar dogs. Don’t act threatening.
8. Family/Leader of the pack
Dogs are pack animals and view their human/owner as the leader. Watch a dog’s body language before you approach their owner. They will protect their owners if they believe you to be looking to harm them. Our little boys are fiercely protective of Sister, even with people they know well. The number one rule in our household is that you don’t run at Sister, or make her scream. Although, now that she’s a teenager, she doesn’t squeal like she used to.
9. Never run away from a dog unless you want to be chased.
If it’s an unfamiliar dog or a dog that’s threatening to attack you do not run away. Unless you can quickly get out if its reach. Walk slowly backward and try to look non-threatening. Avoid eye contact. Do not stare it down.