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How to Greet a Dog

I hate to quash the whole ‘speak in a cute voice and energetically pat the dog on the head’ greeting but yes, please stop doing that! 
I am so cute, but please don’t overwhelm my senses!
If you really love dogs, start greeting dogs in a way that is good for them. Greet them in a way that respects their nature rather than in a manner formed of human conceit. You will find that greeting a dog the right way is even more enjoyable…but you have to train yourself first!
The best way to greet a dog that you have no previous acquaintance with is to greet it as another dog would – were the two dogs to great as dogs naturally do (not having been taught by humans to greet with excitement!). 
A normal dog to dog greeting is not a meeting of overt excitement; instead it is a meeting of nose to scent…they sniff each other!
A dog has +/- 300 million olfactory sensors in their nose…we humans come in much behind with a measly 3 million. When a dog sniffs another dog it receives a plethora of information…it is a feast for their senses, for their mind. 
Allow the dog to come up to you and use their nose to sniff you…while you stand calmly, quietly…no talk, no touch, no look at the dog…feel free to talk to the dog’s human though! You are physically greeting the dog – just not in a human way.
When you first meet us please greet us with respect
Once the dog has had its opportunity to satisfy its natural need to explore with its nose, and the dog is calm, then it is time to touch the dog. I usually suggest the touch should be under their chin in slow quite strokes – and still do not talk to the dog. This is contrary to what most people do – they go to pat the dog on top of the head, and that is not so pleasant for the dog! You do not need to talk, that is another human conceit – the dog is sensitive and knows you are enjoying the interaction. Be like the dog and just enjoy the moment in peace. 
Because my dogs (all ten) said so! But on a more serious note…

Think of the human dynamic, do you like the sensation of someone you do not know(or even someone you do know!) reaching OVER TOP of you, invading your space and patting you on the head…nope! Most of us humans do not like that…nor do our dogs.

Placement of any part of your body on top / over a dog can take on a very dominating overtone. When dogs greet each other like this it can spark a dog-to-dog fight!
Gently, touching, massaging a dog under the chin is not dominating…it shows respect, consideration and is very enjoyable for most dogs. Even a dog that is shy, trepidations and uncertain will often be amenable to such a touch.
When you walk up to a dog and you are excited in voice and touch with unrestrained and inconsiderate energy you are…
       Being disrespectful;
       Flooding the dog with sensory overload – audible, tactile, psychological.
To better understand, just think how you would feel should your senses be as acute as a dog’s and someone came up to you and behaved as you do to the dog…ah huh, now you see.
So, the next time you greet a dog you do not know think about this and greet the dog by allowing him to sniff you…no talk, no touch, no look, and then patiently, quietly, gently stroke the underside of the dogs chin…you will find this ‘feels’ for you and the dog so much better as you have shared a greeting the right way. Enjoy.

About Karen

Dogs are my life, my work, my passion… I am a Dog Whisperer, Dog Behaviorist and Holistic Canine Wellness Adviser with a wealth of real-time, real-life experience living and working with dogs. For two and a half decades I have worked with and shared my life with dogs. My own dog pack is comprised of eleven dogs, various breeds and ages. I provide a full range of services including Obedience Training for puppies and dogs; canine Behavior Modification; canine Psychological Rehabilitation, specializing in assisting dogs that are experiencing extreme states of insecurity, anxiety and aggressive-reactive behavior; Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Advice and Plans for canines and felines…natural wisdom for you and your companion animal.

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