Tips to stay safe!
• Always check with an adult before
meeting any new dogs or people!
• It can be dangerous to approach a
stray dog (one that has no owner).
• If you are worried about a stray
dog contact the RSPCA or your
ASK . . .
the owner before
you pat a dog
• Stop about 2m away from the dog
• Ask the owner “May I please pat
your dog?” OR “Is your dog
comfortable meeting new people?”
• Listen to the answer…
• If NO there is a good reason. Let it
• If Yes…
MEET . . .
• Gently extend a closed fist toward the dog
a dog by letting it sniff the back • Avoid staring and let them see you are
of your hand relaxed
• Does he come forward with loose, waggy
movements? That’s definitely a yes.
• Does he lean forward for a quick sniff and
seem comfortable? Also a yes.
• Does he turn his face away from your
child’s hand? Back away? Bark? Move
behind the owner? Look anxious and
unsettled? Growl? These are all nos.
• Even if the owner says OK, you need to
check how the dog feels!
PAT . . . • Once OK with the dog and owner, you can
gently pat the dog
a dog gently on the side of the • Avoid patting them on the head
neck or on their chest
• Most dogs don't like to be patted on top of
their heads, but nearly all people pet dogs
this way—it’s a hardwired human behavior.
• There is a blind spot on top of a dog’s head.
If he sees your hand moving toward that
area, the natural inclination is for him to tilt
his head up and watch where the hand is
going. Now your hand is reaching right over
the dog’s teeth—not a very good place for
that hand to be.
• So…the best place to pat a dog is on the
side of the neck, on their chest, or under the
chin - until you know them better…
Meet dogs safely
ASK . . . MEET . . . PAT . . .
the owner before a dog by letting it sniff a dog gently on the
you pat a dog the back of your hand chest
For more ‘dog speak’ and tips