Communicating with dogs may seem easy in principle, but it can sometimes be demanding. Dogs do not see things the way humans do, and sometimes may misunderstand even our best intentions. Therefore, be aware that your enthusiasm may result in a not-so-friendly response by your new best friend.
Here are some ways you should NOT express yourself to a dog:
Don’t pat a dog’s head
Many dogs consider this a threatening gesture. If you wonder why, try it on yourself. The reason some dogs tolerate it is not from pleasure – they simply learned to live with it. If you want to show your affection to a dog, scratch it behind the ears.
Don’t stare into a dog’s eyes
Any dog will translate this as a challenge, a way of asserting dominance. If you stare into the eyes of a dog you don’t know, it may actually attack.
Look away to calm the tension
If a dog gets upset after you stare into its eyes, the best method to calm it is to look the other way and find something else to focus on. Just like staring into dogs’ eyes is considered threatening and aggressive, looking away sends the opposite message. It is a sign for a dog that there is no threat and that it can relax. This is a good method for calming your dog when it tries to draw your attention or wants to play while you’re busy with something else.
Dogs don’t like hugs
Dogs do not recognize hugs as a way of showing affection. For any dog, a hug is a sign of dominance. If you hug a dominant dog, it will probably bark, growl or even bite, just to show you who is in charge.
Approach a dog from the side
Never approach a dog face on. Instead approach it from the side, just like dogs approach each other. Walking straight up to dogs may make them uncomfortable and scared. Instead, move toward the dog from the side, and pet it on its back, avoiding its tail.
Get on the dog’s level
Don’t stand over or lean over the dog. In their world it means you’re trying to show higher status. Dominant and aggressive dogs might dislike such behavior and react violently. Submissive dogs will probably try to appease you by cowering or rolling over. Instead of standing over dogs, turn sideways and let the dog approach you.