How-to approach a dog you don't know

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Hi, name is Dr. Uri Burstyn.

I'm a Veterinarian in Vancouver BC

and I'd like to welcome you to my series of Practical Skills for Pet Owners.

I'm here with Jess and Chewbacca

to talk a little bit about how to approach dogs safely.

Particularly dogs you don't know out on the street.

And I think this is something that's really important to know

for parents if who have children who are really into animals and want to approach dogs.

There's a right and a wrong way to do it.

Now, the American Veterinary Association actually has a really nice booklet

aimed at kids,

"How to Approach Dogs?" which I really recommend,

And I'm just going to do an illustration of good canine etiquette.

How to be polite when approaching a dog in dog terms.

So when we see a dog,

probably most of us, probably the first impulse is to say,

Hey buddy how are you?

You are so cute! Let me just tussle you a little bit.

Yes, you are adorable! *pats dog* Yeah!

Which is wonderful,

but maybe not the wisest thing to do

if you're approaching an animal you don't know.

Let's pretend I've never met Chewy before,

and I say well there's a cute dog. I would very much like to pet him.

It's very important for me to introduce myself

to him in a way he understands.

Now, most of us will pet a dog on top of the head,

but this is actually a very intimidating gesture to a dog.

I mean they're used to it because they're around humans their whole lives.

But being pet on the head is actually not the way

a dog would say hello to another dog. It would actually be quite aggressive.

So if I want to approach a dog,

what I actually want to do is I want to come down to their level.

Now don't sit down because some dogs will jump at you,

they might have poor manners or they might be aggressive.

If you are sitting down you can't really protect yourself very well.

What I want to do is let him have a sniff of me,

and I keep my hand curled like this. If I have my fingers out they can be nipped.

My hands like this, then they can't really be nipped.

So have a little sniff.

You see Chewy just kinda looked at me, and

you know the dog's nose is their primary sensory organ.

Hey sweetheart, how are you?

And then what I want to do

is just get under their chin, give them a little tickle under the chin.

That's the next step in introducing yourself to a dog.

It's very non-threatening. Very polite,

and it's quite safe for you.

Again, you're not coming over top of them or doing anything scary like that.

So a little sniff. Little scratch under the chin.

And by this point, you know, if a dog kinda draws back

or looks at you or looks alarmed,

it's probably a good idea to step back and say alright,

this dog doesn't really want to say hi to me at this time.

The really, that little first approach -- a proper introduction, and a little scratch under the chin

really go a long way towards making,

making you very non-threatening to a dog.

Leaves you making friends with a dog you may encounter on the street,

and then you can go ahead and pet them and

be reasonably sure that everyone's having fun.

Isn't that right?

That is how you make friends with a strange dog.

I hope you enjoyed watching.

Please give us a like and share.

Remember to have fun with dogs, but safely.