If you’re a pet parent, you’ll be aware of the fact that the way in which you pet a dog can make you his favorite person or the person he will always try to avoid. There are certain red-flag petting strategies that will send most pet dogs run to an opposite direction. At the same time, some other strategies will keep your dog ‘tail-wagging’ in happiness.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to learn to pet your own dog or a dog that you’ve recently met, there are always few expert techniques that you have to follow for proper petting. Read on to know more on how to pet a dog.
Greeting your dog properly
The foremost rule that you should remember about petting is that you should never pet a dog that is not interested in contacting you. This is particularly vital to be enforced among children who often run and approach a dog that they see lying down or that which is cornered in a room.
Instead of touching the dog or reaching out to him, invite him so that he makes the first contact by squatting down so that you reach the dog’s level. If you come across a fearful or reserved dog, turn your body towards the side so that you don’t look threatening or scary to the animal. On the other hand, if you deal with a confident dog, invite him so that he approaches you by bending slightly, patting your legs and backing while persuading with your voice.
When you greet him, don’t hover around him as they can perceive this as a threat. Turn your body sidewards and don’t make eye contact during the first-ever greeting. Dogs usually consider eye contact as threatening. If you’re interacting with a shy dog, try to ignore him or look away from him so that he discovers that it is safe and secured to approach you.
Are you ready to pet?
A friendly dog will approach you with his ears held back and tail held out at a medium length with a sweeping wag that is pretty wide. When the dog sniffs your body, he is actually gathering details about you and that doesn’t always mean that he is trying to invite you. If he suddenly backs away or acts jumpy or leery, don’t take the risk of petting him. On the contrary, if he maintains a wiggly or loose body posture with his mouth and eyes, he is most probably trying to be friendly with you and is looking forward to interaction.
As the dog makes the approach, pet the dog gradually in areas where you know he feels comfortable while touched. Dogs that enjoy your petting will eventually lean towards you and try t seek contact with you even when you stop petting him. On the other hand, if you find the dog moving away or demonstrating signs of discomfort like showing whites of his eyes or licking his lips, give him some time and space.
Best spots to touch for petting your dog
Most dogs love it when they are petted on their chest, the back of their neck and their shoulders. While petting these areas, reach the area from the side instead of moving your hand from the top of the dog’s head. Individual dogs have definite spots where they prefer to be petted, where some of the common areas are under the chin, base of the tail and behind the neck where the collar is tied.
Most of the dogs don’t like to being touched on the top portion of their heads and on the muzzle, legs, ears, tail and paws. You can also go for slow petting, which is equal to light scratching and gentle massage and this can even calm down the dog. Keep your hand on the area where the dog loves and move your fingers or hand in the direction that the fur lies. Petting needs to be therapeutic and calming for both the dog and the person and this way they can share mutual benefits. Whenever you pet a dog in a slow, relaxed and gentle way, you’ll find him leaning on to you.
The Don’ts of Petting
Are you sure you were not petting your dog in a wrong way all these days? Patting is one of the most common ways in which children pet dogs but this is something that pet dogs don’t like. Slapping the side of the dog out of sheer excitement can be frightening or agitating to few canines. Fast, vigorous or tough petting will overstimulate a dog.
If you find a dog rolling over his back, it is often seen as a sign that your dog is inviting you to rub his belly. But this is not always so! Among the greeting situations of canines, fearful or submissive dogs can roll over as an appeasement gesture. Therefore, it is best to avert the idea of petting a dog that is lying on his back by mistaking it to be a greeting situation.
Hugs can often get threatening for a dog as they hinder their ability to move or run away. Children should be taught never to hug a dog as this kind of interaction makes dogs anxious and lead to a sudden injury to the kid. It is also not a good idea to kiss a dog and this should be taught to children in order to avoid a bite. Children have to be taught to handle even the calmest dogs in a non-threatening and gentle manner. Dogs and children should interact only under adult supervision.
Don’t attempt to pet a dog who is behind a barrier or that is chained up or that is inside a car. Whenever a dog is trapped within a definite area, he will be more eager to bite you in order to protect himself.
Therefore, if you’re wondering about how to pet your dog, take into account all the above mentioned tips and strategies. Petting a dog shouldn’t be stressful for either of you. Studies reveal that petting a dog and talking to a dog can even lower your blood pressure. Hence, indulge in petting your dog often.