Many people who love dogs approach us while we walk him, wanting to greet him, pet him and play with him. However, not all dogs willingly accept this spontaneous contact with strangers, since they can interpret it as an invasion of their space.
In the event that the dog is on the loose or is not accompanied at that time by a person, it is better to ignore him, unless we are sure that he is coming to meet us in a friendly way.
Always ask before touching an unfamiliar dog
This is especially important in the case of children, who are often attracted to dogs and run up to them to pet them. You always have to ask the owner of the dog likes to be touched by strangers or not and ask his permission to do so, since the owner may find that encounter annoying at that time.
So we can get closer to an unknown dog
We must approach calmly, without running and without sudden movements, almost with carelessness, so that the dog can see us coming, speaking in a tone of calm and affection, without visually confronting him and without trying to hug him, since dogs do not usually like this gesture by people they do not know, and may interpret it as aggression or a blocking gesture, from which they will try to escape.
Some dogs feel threatened if we approach from the front or behind them, approaching from the side will be the best option.
Allow the unfamiliar dog to smell us before petting him
The smell is the other ‘sight’ of the dog, therefore, leaving our hand at the height of its nose and allowing it to smell it is a great first contact. If the dog accepts us, it will come closer and take the opportunity to smell our clothes or shoes (especially if we also have a dog), in that moment of trust we can lightly caress its neck, without forcing it to accept the caresses.
How to approach an unfamiliar puppy
This is an easier task, since, in most cases, it will be the puppy himself who comes playfully towards us to receive caresses and pampering. Especially at a young age (three or four months, as soon as they can go out for a walk), puppies love to ‘greet’ everyone on the street: this contact with strangers also favors their socialization. Even so, if we observe that its owner is reluctant to that contact or the puppy is shy or skittish, it is appropriate to ask him before starting to ‘cuddle’ him.