Petting a dog

The correct way to pet and stroke a dog – techniques your pet will adore

We may think that our pets love being made a fuss of and stroked and petted, but this might not be true for all of the time. Does your dog run the opposite way when you reach down to pet him, or does he come straight towards you, with his tail wagging?

No matter if you are intending to pet your own dog at home, or a pooch you’ve just met in the street, here are some tactics that will help the situation.

Begin with a proper greeting

One of the first rules to understand is to never approach a dog to pet them if they shy away from contact. This rule is especially important when it’s a child that approaches to pet a dog. Especially if the dog is intent on getting away, is backed into a corner or who is laying down.

Step 1. Don’t reach out to the dog and touch him. Allow him to make the initial contact.

Step 2. Squat down to his level, turning your body sideways so you don’t appear too threatening

Step 3. If you know the dog is confident and happy, pat your legs and coax him to come to you

Never approach the dog from above as he will see this as a threat to him. Make only a small amount of eye contact as he can also think this is a threat too. Now allow the dog to approach you.

Now you can begin to stroke and pet the dog

If the dog is happy and friendly, he will approach you holding back his ears and wagging his tail. As the dog sniffs you, understand that this is his way of finding out about you. At this point, if the dog acts jumpy or begins to back away, leave him, don’t reach out to him. However, if he makes eye contact with you, opens his mouth and wiggles his body, he is letting you know that he considers you a friend, and is quite happy for you to pet him.

Now is the time to begin to pet the dog slowly, where you know he is happy to be touched. If at any point the dog appears to move away, shows the whites of his eyes or begins to lick his lips, leave him alone.

Where does your dog like to be stroked and petted?

The majority of pets are happy to be stroked at the base of the neck, on the shoulders and chest areas. It’s best to reach your hand in from the side, instead of lowering your hand down over his head. You will probably find your dog’s specific locations where he loves a good tickle. The back of the neck, under his chin and the base of his tail are all likely areas. You will find that he probably won’t like being petted on his tail, paws, legs, ears, muzzle and the top of his head.

Always stroke the dog’s fur in the direction that the hair grows. Petting a dog should be a therapeutic and calm experience for both the dog and the owner.

Things NOT to do when petting a dog

# Patting is generally disliked by most dogs

# Slapping the dog can also be quite frightening

# Fast, vigorous petting is likely to agitate the dog

# When a dog rolls over onto his belly, this isn’t an invite to rub his tummy. It’s actually an act of canine submission.

# Dogs don’t like hugs as they are unable to move away when they choose to. Don’t allow small children to hug a dog tightly.

# Dog’s really don’t like kissing – teach your child to keep his face well away from the dog’s mouth. Always make sure that children and dogs are supervised when together.

When NEVER to pet a dog

For safety reasons, your own and the dogs, don’t attempt to stroke a dog who is behind a fence, or is chained up. In these situations, he is more likely to bite you if you approach him. Don’t attempt to pet a dog when he is barking, this is only asking for trouble. Remember too, always ask if you can pet someone else’s dog, especially if he is on the lead. It’s not only good manners, it will also keep you safe too.