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How to approach a dog may not have been something you have spent a great deal of time thinking about. However, when it comes to dogs, first impressions are important. Some dogs, even well socialized dogs, aren’t fond of strangers approaching them. To ensure your safety, and the safety of the pup you are approaching, here are some tips helpful to remember when greeting a new dog.

1. Ask, then Approach

Before you approach an unfamiliar dog, it is always best to ask the dog’s owner if it is ok to pet or interact with their dog. Once the dog’s owner has given you permission, allow the dog to take the lead. Allow them to come to you when they have warmed up some to you. It can often help if you get on the dog’s level by squatting or kneeling down. It’s very important to remember not to tower over the dog, as this can be seen as an aggressive act by the dog, even if you don’t mean for it to be. Always listen to the dog’s owner if they suggest it’s best not to approach or pet their dog, they know their dog and are likely trying to protect you and the dog. 

2. Leave the Hugs for Humans

Hugging is a natural way for humans to show love to people affection, which may make you wonder, if it it is ok to hug a dog? While some dogs may be ok with it, we suggest more petting, less hugging. Hugging dogs that aren’t familiar with you can make them feel trapped and anxious and could make them become aggressive. Resist the urge to hug, no matter how tempting the precious pup may be.

3. Slow and Steady

The best way to get to know a new dog is slow and steady. Avoid making any sudden movements or loud noises as these can frighten dogs. Some dogs are curious and will sniff around you, even rubbing against your hand or legs inviting petting. While other prefer you to be an arm’s length away and start by only smelling your hand to begin with. It’s important to remember, that like people, all dogs are different, and it is important to treat each new dog individually.

4. Don’t Force It

We know you love dogs and want to pet and love each one you see, believe us... we get it! However sometimes, like humans, dogs just aren’t in the mood to be fussed with. If you attempt to pet a dog and they seem to be disinterested or bothered by the interaction, don’t force it. If a dog turns away or moves away from the petting, they are giving you signals they’d rather be left alone and it’s important to watch for those signs, especially in new dogs.

In meeting and greeting new dogs, it’s important to remember that it is not much different than meeting new people. We are all different and like to be approached in different ways. Stay attuned to what signs the dog is giving you and allow them to lead the way and we foresee lots of new pup friendships in your future. 

Consider Investing in Dog Insurance  

Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Our dog insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family member deserves.  Get your free quote today. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.